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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Canton's Number 1 Scholar: Chapter 5 - A Couplet That Shook The Hall

 
Copyright © 2011 - Jeff Loh. All rights reserved

The Inspector General then asked,

“If you have studied, do you know how to match couplets?”

Ah Chui replied,

“I know a thing or two about them.”

The Inspector General continued,

“Well then This Official shall now pose ye a head couplet… match it well and your crime shall be pardoned else ye shall be brought before the yamen1 for further interrogation!”

Ah Chui proudly answered,

“How can I refuse His Excellency’s command? Please go ahead.”

What a smarty pants this little brat was! The bystanders thought. Obviously this kid is going to get shit on himself. Anyway the Inspector General began,

“Three August Buddhas2, one sitting on a dragon fish3, one sitting on an elephant and one sitting on a lotus blossom.”

Even as the words were spoken, the Inspector General was concerned that Ah Chui may not understand what was recited and almost had ordered a nearby secretary to write out the words for Ah Chui to see. However Ah Chui was not abashful4 at all and he quickly answered without hesitation,

“One poor scholar soon-no-longer-shall-he-be when he hitches5 the dragon, hitches the phoenix and hitches the vermillion Osmanthus Hall6

Everyone was startled into momentary silence when the words were uttered. Then a great roar of hurrah rose. Not only the rules of couplet composition matched in perfect unison, the meaning of Ah Chui’s reply was lofty and ambitious. The Inspector General, Wu Sum clapped his hands furiously in applause and asked,

“Wonderful, wonderful! Who’s your teacher?”

“This little one had lost his father, our family is poor and my mother eked out a living by sewing. We have no money for formal education; just relying upon the kindness of the abbot of the West Zen Temple; teaching me whenever he is available.”

The Inspector General commented,

“Ah so, such a tender age and so diligent in your studies... Today this Official shall bestow a special award on you. Fifty taels of silver for any fright you may have suffered. From now on you must even study harder. As for any expense needed for your studies, go to the accounts department and just ask for it.”

Lun Mun Chui was elated, thanking his Lordship profusely. At the same time the Inspector General heaped praises upon praises to “Universal Illumination” for being such a great teacher. Needless to say, much donation was signed for incense and oils7. With that, the Inspector General returned to his yamen. Need no more elaboration on how the old abbot and Ah Chui respectfully saw the Inspector General off but turning to Ah Chui carrying his fifty taels of silver. Smiling away as he hopped skipped and jumped out of the temple.

Already there was a group of monks gathered blocking his path. These monks bore hated for Ah Chui and were gleeful when they saw Ah Chui was tied up by the guardsmen and dragged to his Lordship. This time Ah Chui will surely become a termite on the beach - even if he survives, shit will be on his face8. But To their horror when they saw Ah Chui was released on the orders of the Inspector General and a couplet match began. They were very curious at the events being unfurled and wanted to go nearer to see what was happening. However, being afraid of the guardsmen, all they could do was to stand at a distance and stare. Finally when the Inspector General praised Ah Chui and awarded him fifty taels of silver, contradiction filled their hearts as envy and admiration mingled and raged against each other. They simply had to stop Ah Chui from walking out of the temple gates and get to the bottom of things. Pulling him aside, they interrogated,

“Warty Lun, just then, why did his Lordship, the Inspector General award you fifty taels of silver?”

Ah Chui sneeringly replied,

“That’s because I matched his couplet. Bad ain’t it? You salivating baldies9!”

The monks asked what kind of couplet it was. Ah Chui replied,

“Three August Buddhas, one sitting on a dragon fish, one sitting on an elephant and one sitting on a lotus blossom.”

The monks continued their questioning,

“How did you match it?”

Ah Chui thought to himself,

“Ought-to-die10-baldies, always bully me at every chance you get. A trick I shall now play on you all!”

“My couplet has a lot to do with you all. If I say it out, every on of you will shit in your pants!”

The monks were greatly startled and asked quickly what it has to do with them. Ah Chui replied,

“Listen carefully! My reply to his Lordship was, ‘Some shaven baldies, steal pigs, steal dogs, steal mustard greens.11

Fear crept into them as they heard the words; so frightened as if their souls had dissipated into thin air. With a great urgency, they continued interrogating,

“Hey Warty Lun, did you really match the couplet like that?”

Thursday, May 10, 2011, 31 May 2011

NOTES

1. Yamen is the courthouse where people appear before a magistrate. This is where the similarity ends. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamen

2. Sakyamuni , Manjusri (文殊, Wenshu) and Kuanyin. Others opined that the three Buddhas are manifestations of past present and future.

3. Or a dragon turtle. Purported to be one of the nine sons of the Dragon King.














4. In Chinese custom, one should hesitate for awhile so as not to show one’s haughtiness or pride when showing one’s skills and talents.

5. The original Chinese word means “to climb up the social ladder with help from the powerful etc”. To use the words, “ascend” or “mount” or “to ride” or to “attain” will be considered as treasonous words - aspiring to become the emperor himself since the dragon and phoenix are imperial symbols.

6. An Osmanthus Hall can mean a grand hall, the lunar palace and the homes of the scholarly elite. In this context, the 3rd meaning applies. The line means is that with one’s great scholarship, there will be rich and powerful people help to lift him from obscurity.

7. For convenience, no one carries large sums of money (remember in those days, they carry ingots of silver!). The donor signs for the amount and the monks will go at a later date to collect the money.

8. A Cantonese saying, “Termites on the beach, even if they survived, their entire bodies will be so badly battered [by the waves]”. Termites cannot survive out of their temperature controlled environment. Therefore in the harsh climatic conditions of the beach, the termites will surely die. Even if they survived, they will be in real bad conditions.

9. The original text used was “bald slaves”.

10. Dead is a taboo word for the Cantonese and hence they love to use it as an expletive or an adjective for cussing etc. For example, “死仔!” does not to mean a dead boy but a boy who should have died; almost equivalent to the English slang for “you’re a dead duck now!”

11. Brassica juncea, a Chinese vegetable.

Original Text

五一句對聯驚四座

巡撫曰:

“你極努力讀書, 會對對否?”

亞敘曰:

“畧懂一二.”

巡撫曰:

“本官今日出一句俾你對, 如果對得通, 則恕你無罪, 如果對不通, 必定拿回衙門重辦!”

亞敘傲然應曰:

“大人有命, 敢不依從, 請大人出之.”

門在旁各人, 見亞敘居然咁牙擦1, 心話你兒細路, 攞2嚟賤矣, 巡撫便出一句上聯曰:

“三尊佛, 坐鰲坐象坐蓮花.”

話完, 重慌亞敍唔識, 正想命一個長隨寫起, 以便俾亞敘睇, 不料亞敘不假思索, 立即隨口應曰:

“一介寒儒, 攀龍攀鳳攀丹桂”

語出, 四座皆驚, 大嘆好野, 話不特對得快捷工整, 而且小小年紀, 居然有此豪壯語氣, 咪話唔架勢堂矣. 巡撫大人吳琛, 亦當堂為之拍爛手掌, 大讚好野好野, 即問亞敘老師, 究竟何人? 亞敍曰:

“小子因為自小失怙, 家道貧窮, 母親以女紅度日, 無錢正式供讀, 只靠西禪寺老和尚普照, 閒時教我而已.”

巡撫大人曰:

“原來如此, 睇唔出你小小年紀, 竟然如此苦心攻讀, 本官今日特別嘉獎五十兩銀俾你, 以助膏火, 此後該加緊努力, 如有所需, 可去衙門同賬房支取應用也.”

倫文敍歡天喜地, 千多謝萬多謝, 巡撫又嘉樊普照老和尚一番, 謂其授徒有方, 唔再講, 簽其香油亦淋的筆矣. 巡撫大人遂命駕回衙, 普照老和尚及倫文敍恭送而出不提. 且說亞敘拈住五十両銀, 笑口吟吟, 行出西禪寺門口, 早有一班和尚截住, 呢班和尚, 向來都憎亞敘的, 初是見亞敘被眾衛士綁去見巡撫, 遂以為亞敘今次定必白蟮上沙灘, 唔死一身潺, 心涼之至. 但其後忽又見巡撫命觧其縛, 居然同對起對來, 不禁大以為奇, 欲上前觀看究竟, 但又恐怕被巡撫的衛士阻止, 唯有離遠而觀. 最後竟見巡撫大讚亞敘, 又賞以五十両銀, 眾和尚一時妒羨交併, 亞敘出到寺門口, 乃攔住亞敘問曰:

“癩倫, 頃間巡撫大人, 為乜事打賞五十両銀俾你乎?”

阿倫傲然應曰:

“皆因為我對通佢一句對, 你班禿奴, 唔恨(痕)得咁多矣!”

眾和尚問, 究竟乜野對? 阿敘曰:

“三尊寶佛, 坐鰲坐象坐蓮花”

眾和尚又問:

“然則你如何對之?”

阿敘心想, 你班死禿, 平日時常欺負我, 好! 撚吓你至得! 乃曰:

“我呢句對, 與你地大有關係, 講出便嚇壞你地矣!”

眾和尚愕然, 急問點樣関係法, 阿敍曰:

“聽住! 我對曰:’ 幾個禿奴, 偷猪偷狗偷芥菜.’”

語出, 嚇得眾和尚魂飛魄散, 急曰:

“喂! 癩倫, 你真係噉對法?”

Cantonese Notes

1. Brushing one’s teeth – to brag. The word “to brush” can also mean to polish as in polishing off one’s plate. Therefore “to be able polish” - 擦得” means to be able to eat heartily with great gusto and relish.

2. Cantonese for “to take or to grab”, 給, 拿 etc.

3. 潺 means weak, frail in Cantonese.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What If I Have 3 Days Left In My Life?

   
This is from sipatai whose piece I had corrected. It was such a beautiful piece that I have to appropriate for all my friends to see. This is an example of creative writing not quite yet to a poem level. The original link is


http://www.italki.com/notebook/entry/83079.htm#ST

The Prophet, Muhammad, may blessings and Peace be upon him (sallallah alayhi wassalam) sayeth:

"When the morning comes unto thee, expect not the evening. And when the night cometh, expect not the morning!"

If I have but only 3 days in my life... Yes, only 3 days... The first day is yesterday that had forsaken me. The second day is tomorrow that is the time yet to come. The last day is today that I have. The only day that I have with me is today that is right beside me. I will do my best for today as there is no such thing as tomorrow. Yesterday is like but dust from burnt paper. It means nothing.

Grieve not for things we lost yesterday. Better to appreciate whatever we have for today. Sadness gnawing at our faces, like worms eating at an apple. Sadness age us day by day while smiles in our faces are more beautiful than any flower blooming in the morning dew.

Let light be in thy faces and smiles to light our lives.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Canton Number 1 Scholar - Chapter 4 - Mistaken For An Assassin

 
Copyright © 2011 - Jeff Loh. All rights reserved

Canton’s Number One Scholar

Chapter 4 – A Kid Mistaken For An Assassin

A few of the monks shouted,

“Hey Warty Lun, His Lord Inspector General is coming for prayers. Why are you still here? Be wary of being caught by soldiers. When this happens don’t blame us for not warning you!”

Ah Chui retorted,

“What’s this called Inspector General? Is it edible? He’s a human, I’m a human so why the need to avoid him? ”

The monks on seeing his recalcitrant ways did not have the energy to spar with him and went on with their own work. Whoa! Suddenly bang bang came the beating of ten gongs or so. With that the Inspector General arrived. Along with his toadies, counselors and advisors, the sedan chair surfed to the very doors of the temple. “Universal Illumination” and all the rest of the monks and priests all came out respectfully to welcome his Lordship with a few moments of observed silence1. All the imps fled hurriedly except for Ah Chui who had no time to do so. Barely did he hide himself under the altar just as the Inspector General came waltzing into the Mahavira Hall. The old abbot and a few on duty priests bade obeisance to his Lordship. His Lordship Wu earnestly clasped some joss sticks and offered incense to Buddha. Soon smoke began to waft and gongs went a beating in unison. His Lordship Wu knelt on the bulrush mat and like an onion head began bobbing up and down in prayers. Nothing more than just a prayer for harmonious rain2, peace in the country, general welfare for the people and such. During his bobbing of up and down, from the corner of his eye he suddenly espied a dark shadow squirming under the altar…

His lordship gave out a cry of “Ai yah” and a shudder came over him. He quickly got up and ran. Those in attendance and the guards were puzzled for a second and when they recovered they quickly surrounded the Inspector General in protection asking what the matter was. The Inspector General pointed at the foot of the altar and stammered,

“Quick, quick, quickly get… get the assassin…”

Everyone was shocked when they heard there was an assassin under the altar and exclaimed,

“Outrageous! Absolutely disgraceful!”

The guardsman quickly drew out their swords and congregated around the table and shouted,

“Don’t move, you brazen robber!”

With that one sword flipped up the covering of the altar and there it was -- there was someone lying in there. One brave guardsman tunneled himself under the altar and with his hand and made a grab for the person and pulled him out. People were aghast when what they saw was a little boy of eight or nine years of age. Whatever the case may be, tie him up first! One ferocious looking guardsman began tying up Ah Chui like a crab and shouted,

“You little thief with such a gall made of sand, daring to assassinate his Inspector General Lordship. I think you have lived too long!”

Poor Ah Chui, injustice with nowhere to complain and under the shoveling of the guard, he was brought before the Inspector General to await further orders. In the meantime, the General Inspector went ballistic and chided till the face of “Universal Illumination” looked like shit. Knowing how he had been wrong, he dared not utter a single word in his defence. All he could do was to offer profuse apologies. When the guardsman came up with Ah Chui, the General Inspector asked where the assassin was. The guardsmen pointed at Ah Chui and replied,

“This is the one!”

When the General Inspector took a look at Chui, there it was puny and small like dice, a big-headed strange looking creature. At once his Lordship was stunned and like his station, all he could do was to shout,

“You little thing, what’s your name? Where do you live? How dare you plan to assassinateme?”

Ah Chui showed no fear and told his name and explained,

“I was playing at the temple when his Lordship came for prayers. This nothingness was not able to avoid his Lordship and therefore was forced to hide under the altar. I dare not lie and I beg his Lordship for forgiveness.”

The Inspector General saw how young Ah Chui was and knew he was no assassin. At the same time after listening to his polite reply, much of his anger had dissipated into thin air and he asked,

“You little imp, have you an education before?”

Ah Chui replied,

“Although my family is poor, I studied hard.”

Notes:

1. A few moments of absolute silence is observed whenever a dignitary comes a calling.

2. Gentle rain for the crops is utmost importance in an agricultural society of China.

3. There are many ways of crab tying to prevent the crab from crawling and preventing a nip from the claws. However I could not find a photo of the way I see using a bulrush straw to tie up the pincers and legs and with a handle to carry at the same time.


 
 

















Original Text

四執着竇窿1疑刺客

有幾個和尚便喝之曰:

“癩倫, 巡撫大人來拜神, 你重2唔走乎? 顧住被的兵捉住你, 到個陣咪話唔通知也.”

亞敘曰:

“乜野3叫做巡撫, 食唔食得的? 佢又係人, 我有係人, 駛4乜避佢乎?”

和尚見佢唔聽話, 亦冇佢咁好氣, 自己做自己的事, 俄5, 忽然聞砰砰聲十下頭鑼鼓响, 巡撫大人在一班師爺長隨簇擁之下, 已乘轎來到西禪寺, 寺中普照老和尚及各僧, 一齊敬謹迎接, 一時肅靜迥避, 與亞敍同來之細路, 早已走夾唔抖6, 亞敘走避不及, 惟有匿在神枱底下, 亞敍甫在神枱下藏身, 而巡撫吳大人已步入大雄寳殿, 當由老和尚普照及一班職事僧人, 為之贊禮, 吳大人十分虔誠, 親手向三寶佛爺座前上香, 一時香烟繚繞, 鐘鼓齊鳴, 吳大人就跪在蒲團之上, 叩如搗蒜, 口中如祈願, 無非風調雨順, 國泰民安之類, 不期正在叩頭之際, 眼光無意一觸神枱底, 突見有一黑影一團, 蠕蠕而動, 咤呀一聲, 當堂發茅一樣, 起身便跑, 在傍各僚屬長隨衛士之流, 一時莫明其妙, 連忙團團圍住巡撫大人, 問是何事, 巡撫大人指指神枱底, 口震震曰:

“快快快! 拿拿刺客….”

眾人一聞枱底有刺客, 大吃一驚, 曰:

“這還了得”

眾衛士立即拔刀在手, 一擁至神枱底前, 大喝:

“強徒勿動!”

一刀挑開顧綉枱圍布, 向內一望, 果然有人匿伏在此, 一個衛士奮勇鑽入枱底, 一隻手就將此人執了出來, 眾人一睇, 我挑! 原來係一兒年約八九歲的細路仔, 但冇理佢, 紥起佢先, 個班衛士, 如狼似虎, 便將亞敍扮蟹, 大駡曰:

“你個小賊, 亦算沙胆, 居然敢行刺巡撫大人, 嫌命長都唔定矣!”

亞敘有寃無路訴, 就在眾衛士拉拉扯扯之下, 押到會客廳巡撫大人面前發落, 此時巡撫大人正在大燒枱砲, 駡得普照滿面屁, 普照明知冤枉, 但哪敢分辯, 只有連聲認錯, 旣然押到倫文敘來, 巡撫便問刺客何在? 眾衛士指指倫文敍曰:

“此人便是矣!”

巡撫睇睇倫文敍,蝦, 原來係個一粒色咁大的細路, 頭大如斗, 形容古怪, 當堂為之愕然, 照例喝問曰:

“你這小子, 何姓何名, 何方人氏, 胆敢企圖行刺本官?”

亞敍從容不廹, 便將自己姓名禀上, 并謂頃間在西禪寺玩耍因大人來參神, 小子廻避不及, 迫得匿在神枱底, 實不敢妄作胡為, 請求大人原量. 巡撫見亞敍小小年紀, 早知不是歹人, 又見佢應對得體, 不禁將頃間怒氣, 消去大半, 又問曰:

“你這小子, 讀過書未?”

亞敘曰:

“小子雖然家窮, 却努力讀書之至.”

Cantonese Notes

1. A rascal; something insignificant.

2. Same as 總, still, yet.

3. See Chapter 1 Cantonese Notes #6.

4. The actual meaning is to “to drive” but here its function is like 使 to cause.

5. Just a sound effect like “Wah!”

6. 走夾唔抖–flee/run away so fast that there is no time to rest i.e. Hurriedly. The more common word used is 唞 (to rest)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Number One Scholar Chapter 3 - Excreting Block-Shaped Fecal Matter In the Hall of Mahavira

  
Copyright © 2011 - Jeff Loh. All rights reserved

Chapter 3 – Excreting Block-Shaped Fecal Matter In the Hall of Mahavira1.

Whether playing hide and seek, throwing stones or whatever pranks Ah Chui could think of, the most deplorable act to the monks was urinatingand defecating inside the temple. The way he did it was especially peculiar. By habit he would shit ferociously like some foul mouth spewing its contents right into the Treasure Collecting Bowl of the Great Hall of Mahavira. The more he did it, the greater the chance of being caught in the act by temple monks. Wah this was sacrilegious! The purity of Buddhist halls was soiled to no end with such foulness and stench! Lun Mun Chui however couldn’t care less and continued with his practice. When he was done, he sped off so fast like a demon that the monks could not catch hold of him.

Once, Ah Chui, on seeing no one was around headed straight into the Mahavira Hall and began his routine under a table, excreting his yellow and white matter in a ferocious manner when two monks caught whiff of the scent and alerted the rest of the monks who quickly surrounded Ah Chui. This way he was grabbed like a frog being weighed on scales2. The monks shouted,

“You rascal! Today is your doomsday. Just feed him with his own creation!”

One singer with a hundred harmonizing all shouting at once, Ah Chui was frightened out of his wits; his soul flew out yonder beyone the heavens; screaming bloody murder. Just right at this danger point, the old abbot, “Universal Illumination” of the temple, appeared and came closer to see what the commotion was about. He saw a little kid screaming away and he quickly inquired what the matter was. The bunch of monks explained that Ah Chui was always shitting in the Mahavira Hall. No matter what, he must be punished. The old Abbot peered at the little boy and a wave of compassion came over him. Quickly he ordered the monks to stand back and said,

“Back off all of you! I shall handle this matter!”

Then he turned to Ah Chui and asked for his name and where he lived. The old monk then asked,

“Did you really shit in the Mahavira Hall?”

Without a trace of fear, Ah Chui answered,

“Yes!”

And pointed his finger at the floor saying,

“This is my pile of shit!”

The old monk was pleased with the honest answer, followed Ah Chui’s finger and looked at the pile of shit. The moment the abbot saw the pile, he was stunned for a moment. This is because that pile of shit did not look like an ordinary pile like everyone else’s. Shit from people is normally either tubular or flat in shape, sometimes perhaps triangular but Ah Chui’s was a pile of rectangular shaped shit. The abbot was amazed and thought to himself,

“Hmmm… does this kid too have rectangular shaped intestines? This is like a breath of fresh air out of ten polluted ones. He must amount to grand nature in the future.”

Therefore he asked Ah Chui if he had ever studied. Ah Chui explained that his family was poor, relying on his mother eking out a living as a seamstress. No ability to send him to school. When the old monk heard his words, pity for Ah Chui welled in him. He told Ah Chui that from this day onwards, everyday he would give lessons personally to Ah Chui at the temple. Ah Chui for his part studied hard and became the apple of the abbot’s eye. The old monk loved the boy dearly and ordered the monks not to give any trouble to Ah Chui. Of course the monks had harbored grudges against Ah Chui before, but now that he had become the abbot’s pet, jealousy and hated within them grew greater and they despised Ah Chui to the core. Having the protection of the abbot, Ah Chui couldn’t care less about them. As usual he would somersaultwith other kids at play as if nothing had happened.

One day the Inspector General of Canton Wu Sum came to the West Zen Temple to offer incense. A large group of security detail came first to make preparations for the visit. Abbot “Universal Illumination” ordered all levels of the monkhood and regular visitors to the temple to prepare for the welcome. At this time, Ah Chui and his band of banshees3 were playing in the temple. Because Ah Chui was born with scale-like skin, he was nicknamed, “Warty Lun”.

Next Chapter: Mistaken For An Assassin!

Notes:

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

1. The main hall of a Buddhist temple where the historical Buddha is enshrined. Mahavira means Great Hero. Great denotes the immeasurable virtues of Buddha while hero means that Buddha is able to vanquish all demons and evil.

2. Cantonese love to eat frogs. They are called euphemistically as the “chicken of the rice paddy fields.” They are sold by weight.

3. See Cantonese note 2

三 大雄寶殿疴四方屎

或捉迷藏或掟石, 無所不為, 令人最討厭者, 則在寺中撒尿撒屎, 佢個鋪疴尿疴屎法, 寧舍疴得’ 啜核’1 每逢疴尿, 照例必在大雄寶殿個聚寶盆上猛疴, 疴得多, 就被寺中的和尚撞到, 嘩, 得了嘅, 佛門清淨, 俾你兒嘩鬼2疴得臭崩崩3, 污辣撻4! 但倫文敘却好小理, 依然一樣疴法, 疴完, 則飛跑而遁, 跑得又快, 個班和尚雖欲捉之, 不可得也. 有次, 亞敘乘人不覺, 又蹲响大雄寶殿一張杳案之下, 猛褪其黄白物, 不料早被两個和尚吼到, 當塲一叫, 四壁齊來, 立時將亞敘捉住, 秤蛤咁秤, 皆曰:

“今回你兒嘩鬼, 重唔死! 冇理佢, 照餵番俾佢食可矣!”

一唱百和, 嚇得亞敘魂飛天外, 鬼殺咁嘈, 正在危急之際, 忽遇西禪寺主持普照老和尚出到來, 見咁多人捉住一兒細路5, 喊打喊殺, 連忙上前問乜事? 個班和尚乃將亞敘時常在大雄寶殿疴屎之經過, 一五一十告之, 并謂此人非加以懲戒不可! 和尚睇睇亞敘, 小小年紀, 不禁動起慈悲之心, 即刻喝退眾和尚, 曰:

“你地行開, 等我處置可也.”

乃問亞敍姓乜名乜, 住在邊忽? 亞敘從容告之, 老和尚曰:

“你究竟有無在大雄寶殿疴屎?”

阿敍不諱, 曰:

“有!”

用手指住地下曰:

“個篤便是我疴者矣!”

老和尚喜其誠實, 欺6, 跟眼睇睇篤屎, 距料一睇之下, 當堂令老和尚為之愕然, 原來亞叙之屎, 與別不同, 別人之屎, 或圓或扁不定, 甚至三角形亦有, 但亞叙之屎, 疴出來却四四方方的, 不禁大以為奇, 心念這兒細路, 莫非的腸亦係四方者? 此乃十濁一清之格, 將來必為大貴人無疑, 於是和尚悅色問亞敘讀過書未? 亞叙乃話, 家中貧窮, 只靠寡母針番度日, 無力供書教學也. 老和尚聞言大憐之, 從此之後, 便日日叫亞敘來西禪寺, 由老和尚教之讀書. 亞敘亦用心學習, 老和尚乃對之鍾愛異常, 吩咐各僧以後不得難為亞敘. 點知其他和尚, 早已憎厭亞敍, 今見老和尚愛亞敘, 不禁妬恨交併, 對亞敘更加憎至入骨入肉, 亞敍則恃有老和尚做護符, 亦好小理, 依然同埋一班細路, 反斗如故焉, 一日, 有廣東巡撫吳琛, 來西禪寺進香, 一班隨衛士, 事先早來西禪寺佈置, 寺中普照老和尚, 亦率領各職級和尚知客之流, 準備迎接巡撫大人, 其時倫文敘適同一班嘩鬼在寺中玩耍, 亞敍因為生得週身亁癩, 汚糟辣撻, 花名叫癩倫.

Cantonese Notes

1. I never heard of this slang term before. From what I found out was the term could mean differently in different circumstances. One explained that the closest English equivalent is “that it is so funny that one is tickled pink”. Another explained that it is uncontrolled laughter and be embarrassed by the situation or their own laughter. Literally the first character mean, “to suck” as in sucking liquid with a straw or to suck up like in a kiss. The second one means “core” as in the fruit core, the core of the matter, nucleus etc. Perhaps the situation is so funny that one’s core is being sucked out by it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Someone on ITALKI.com told me that it is slang for a rascal with foul mouth. Now it makes sense to me because the movie Rio, the Cantonese dubbed version has it as “啜核鸚鵡” which is a bad ass parrot.


2. The character I think used here is for the sound for “wee” for the common Cantonese expression, “wee 嘩鬼震”–wailing of ghosts that makes one shudder on hearing it. The closest situation is the Irish fear of the sound of the banshee. There is no standard character and therefore commonly written as喂. However this character is pronounced as “wei” as in the word for Cantonese hello on phone conversation.

3. It is very common in Cantonese to add words to make a verb become more lively or colorful. Usually these are sound words or onomatopoeia. Some English examples are chitty chitty bang bang, screechy scratchy.

4. Cantonese phrase meaning dirty. This is not the standard way of writing in Cantonese. It merely uses sounds from other characters. It is commonly written as污糟邋遢.


6. The character means bully but is used here for the sound like the English word, “Hey!”

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Stroll Through Tijuana


video

This video was taken during a trip as I took two friends for a visit to a friendly dentist in Tijuana.  This also serves as a sort of a mini travel guide to those who would like to know how one crosses the border from San Diego in the USA to Tijuana of Mexico.  Of course things are easy if you know how.  For this second time around, it was a fun 3 mile one hour walk on a warm sunny spring day that almost became a time travel. 

From a Facebook comment I wrote, 為友為義為恩深入異地有何難.風和日麗無限笑樂隨心飃, sprang forth the following inspiration...

為友為義為恩報, For friendship or for righteousness or even for gratitude repaid,
深入異地有何難? How hard it is to enter a foreign land?
風和日麗無限春, A sunny spring day filled with boundless beauty and warmth,
慢步笑樂隨心飄. Strolling leisurely with smiles and joy emanating from the heart.

時去時過時隔多, Time goes, time went, time became distant,
盡忘舊境非難事. Forgetting places of old is no difficult task.
天寒地凍亦不懼, Even if the sky turns cold; the earth becomes frigid; afraid I would not be,
杳然片中重歡看. In quietude joy returns once more upon viewing this video.

Of course reentry to the US is a different story.  Depending on your luck, even on a same Saturday around the same time, the queue may take an hour or more to pass through immigration or just a mere 10 minute breeze through that happened to us this second time around.

The last Chinese song of the video is called "Love Eternal".  For those interested in the first Chinese song, here are the lyrics, the translation and commentaries.

 逍遙遊                            Wandering In Unfettered Leisure

走啊走啊走                     Walk1 oh walk, oh walk,
好漢跟我一起走             Come walk with me ye good man.
走遍了青山人未老         Roam all the green hills, old age still never comes,
少年壯志不言酬             Youthful lofty goals need no repayment.
莫啊莫歸首                     Oh never turn your head back,
管他黄鶴去何樓             Care not which tower the yellow crane2 flew from.
黄粱他一夢風雲再變     No matter how the winds in the Dream of the Yellow Sorghum3 may change,
灑向人間是怨懮             It is but sprinkles of sorrows and worries upon the mortal world.
划一葉扁舟                     Row a skiff4,
任我去遨遊                     And I can go anywhere.
逍逍啊遙遙                     Such is unfettered leisure,
天地與我競自由             Heaven and Earth vie with me for freedom.
共飲一杯洒                     Let us drink to that!
人間本來情難求             Difficult it is to beseech favours from the mortal world,
相思啊難了                     Hard it is for me to think,
豪情再現                         That the way of heroes will appear once more.
亂雲飛渡仍閑遊             Clouds may be turbulent but they are at their own pace.
划一葉扁舟                     Row a skiff,
誰願與我共逍遊             Who shall join me in this leisure wandering.

天若有情                         If Heaven has any passion,
天亦老                             Heaven is already ancient.
不如與天競自由             Why not vie with Heaven for freedom?

天若有情                         If Heaven has any passion,
天亦老                             Heaven is already old.
不如與天競自由             Why not vie with Heaven for freedom?

啦…                                 Tra-la-la…

NOTES:

This is the title song of “The Eastern Journey” a TV made serial.  The classical story is the first of the four epic journeys indicated by its direction. The story deals with the Eight Immortals where their home is in the Eastern Blessed Isles. The Southern Journey is the story of how “Brilliant Light” saves his mother from Purgatory. The Western Journey is of course the story of the famous Monkey King. The Northern Journey deals with the apotheosis of the Dark Emperor of the North. For more info see

http://baike.baidu.com/view/609460.htm

1. Cantonese kept the Classical Chinese meaning, “to run” while in Mandarin it became “to walk.”

2. One for the four famous towers in China. One legend says that the tower was built as a commemoration to an immortal seen flying away on a yellow crane while others said he departed from this tower. The poem advises that where the immortal went is unimportant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Crane_Tower

3. See http://jeffinous.blogspot.com/2011/02/dream-of-southern-bough-chinese-antz.html

4. A flat bottomed boat with a few planks put together. A common sight in Guilin