Monday, March 22, 2010


We just did 6 hours of walking around Hong-Kong today. My feet are hurting but it was fun. My partner's mother took us on a "getting lost", wandering, meandering tour of places within the vicinity of her old stomping grounds (she was born and raised in Hong-Kong but now lives in Canada). I tried to find a few rare books I am interested in purchasing, but no luck. Definitely got a better view into the world that is Hong-Kong.What is delightful about being here is that it's very English-friendly; everything is bilingual between Cantonese and English.

I will write you a more detailed account with some photos of my experiences later. But for now, let me leave you with a very amusing lesson on Chinese-English.

The following is quoted from "The Ultimate South China Travel Guide of Canton", presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

"Canton, or Guangzhou as it's known today, was once known as London of The East.... This guide is designated exclusively for use from 1685-1839, i.e. from the opening of Canton as a trade port until the outbreak of the First Opium War. After the 1842 signing of the Treaty of Nanking, restrictions imposed on foreign visitors changed significantly, making it inappropriate to use this travel guide beyond the above said period."

"Don't know a single word of Chinese or Cantonese? No problem!... You must get yourself used to CPE (Chinese Pidgin English), because the locals communicate fluently in this distorted form of English composed of sounds that resemble English, but of syntax that breaks away from English grammar. This dialect is mainly used in trade. The word "pidgin" is thought to have derived from Chinese pronunciation of the English word "business"."

Common Greetings & Conversation

(in English first, then CPE)

Do you speak English?
You savvy Englishee?

How do you do Sir?
How dee do, Sir?

Very well, thank-you Sir. 
Velly wellee, thankee you, Sir.  

What is your name? 
What you name?

How old are you? 
How muchee olo?

What time is it now?
Justee now what time? 

Where do you lodge?
What placee you stop?

Where are you going?
What placee you go?

Are you sure? 
You savvy true?

I don't know.
I no know.

I can't understand. 
I no understand.

I am very sorry. 
My velly sorry.

Many thanks to you. 
Too muchee thankee.

Is breakfast ready? 
Breakfast t ee hap makee ready? 

There is no taste in it. 
No got tas (t) ee.

Give it to the dog.
Give dog chow-chow.

Tell the cook to make it properly.
Talkee cook man makee proper.

Give me a cup of tea.
Give me one cup tea.

Call the barber.
Callum barber.

Get ten coolies for me.
Long me catchee ten piecee coolie.

I am going out. 
My go out justee now.

What is this made of? 
What thing makee?

What kind of goods are they? 
What quality goodsee?

They are goods of the first quality.
Firs(t)ee quality goodsee.

What is the price of this? 
What pricee?

Can you reduce the price a little?
Can you chargee more lessee?

I fear I cannot reduce much. 
I fear no can chargee too muchee lessee.

Does that include the duty?
Duty hap got inside? 

I want this.
My wantchee thisee.

What colour do you want? 
You wantchee what colour? 

I don't want them.
My no wantchee.

Give me a receipt.
You give my one piecee receipt.

(the following is for emergency)

Help me!
Makee help my!

I am drunk.
Got tipsy.

I am sick.
My hap sick.

Go and call the doctor.
Go callum doctor.

He has  been murdered.
Some man killum him.

Get out of the way.
Go (a)way.

1 comment:

  1. Hong Kong? Boy, you really did go the extra 10,00 miles to get the best price-per-pound for the ungrateful little hairballs.