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|
|直腸直肚||tit teng tit to||straight intestine and abdomen||describes someone who is straightforward and honest|
|變面變孔||pian bin pian kang||change face change mood||someone who gets angry when not in good mood|
|騙請害餓||p’ian tsian hai yao||false invitation causes hunger||insincere invitation with not enough food causes hunger|
|天落紅雨||tin lo ang ho||red rain falls from the sky||an impossible event|
|插嘴插舌||tsa tsui tsa tsi||interfering mouth and tongue||interfering with other people’s conversation|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 4 (July 21-August 3, 2015): 12.