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|
|芋圓頭||o een t’ao||taro round head||a bald head|
|毋死心||mm si sim||heart won’t die||not giving up|
|無豆哇||bo tao wa||no choice||no choice|
|三人要得四人無分||san lang beh ti si lang bo hun||three persons want it, four persons have none||up for grabs|
|看毋甲目||kuan mm kah bak||unsatisfactory look||not acceptable|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 29, no. 12 (November 15-December 5, 2016): 13. (image source: http://clipart-library.com)