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|
|猴怪||kao kuai||monkey trick||clever trick|
|無名小卒||bo bing sio tsoot||unnamed low-ranking soldier||not known to anyone|
|大小仙||tua su-e sian||big and small person||brothers-in-law (wives are sisters)|
|哭爹哭母||k’ao pe k’ao bu||crying father crying mother||incessant complaints|
|無天無地||bo tin bo tu-e||no sky no ground||making too many requests|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 29, no. 9 (October 18-31, 2016): 12.