Hokkien, on the tongues of Tsinoys, has grown and evolved, taking on a life of its own. Sometimes words simply fail us. With some creativity, Tsinoys have strung together words to form colorful phrases that simply hit the bull’s eye. Here are some expressions unique to Hokkien as favored by Tsinoys.
|Idioms, expressions||Hokkien pronunciation||Literal translation||Meaning|
|熱毒天||dua tak ti n||hot day||summer day|
|馬馬虎虎||ma ma ho ho||horse and tiger||careless, so-so|
|無見笑||bo (bue) kian siao||don’t see a smile||not ashamed|
|大蛇||tua tsua||big snake||one who charges an exorbitant fee|
|不管三七二十一||bo kuan sa n tsit di tsap it||doesn’t mind 3 x 7 = 21||will do it no matter what happens|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 29, no. 5 (August 9-22, 2016): 13.