Sunday, June 03, 2007

Me? A "mountain person"?

PAI KIA n. gangster
SUA TENG KA n. out-of-towner

Hokkien-speaking people don't do subtleties. We don't beat around the bush. If we could be anymore frank, we would. Really.

That is probably why people usually regard Hokkien as a coarse, uncultured, unsexy dialect. I am not going to disagree. In fact, I am proud that my favourite dialect is more German than French, more Malaysian than Singaporean, more ooohs than aaahs, more testosterone than soya milk.

I was told that Singaporean parents do not like their kids to pick up Hokkien. It's a street langauge, they say. It's too pai kia.

(Mr Subtle... I wonder if he speaks Hokkien)

But that is exactly how I like my Hokkien. Street, and pai kia. (no reference to Snoop's picture whatsoever)

And I also like Singapore, and French people. And I occasionally drink soya milk, if there aren't any other better drinks of course.


This leads me nicely to another subject. A commentor asked for the definition of SUA TENG KA.

KA literally means leg in Hokkien. Hokkien-speaking people do not use head count, we use leg count. One ka therefore means one person. But if we say, "we do not have ka", that means there aren't enough people (to start a fight, to play mahjong, to convene a meeting, etc.).

KA can be a colouful addition, usually as a suffix, to certain Hokkien adjectives or nouns. Examples:

LA SAP KA (dirty leg) adj. a cheat, dishonest player
SIO PAK KA (fighting leg) adj. thug, anyone who derives pleasure from physical fights
SUA TENG KA (mountain person) adj. an out-of-towner. Someone who is unfamiliar and a little sakai with proceedings.

Here, these are some SUA TENG KAs that you might recognise:

Hans Solo. N'xau from GMBC. And Michael Jackson. And not forgetting...



Blogger Nicocoa said...

It's a swanky Japanese restaurant, not too expensive but very classy.

Btw, I'm working in cyberjaya now so am always in town. Where have you disappeared to last few weeks btw?

June 04, 2007 1:00 AM  
Blogger lesley joan said...

Hey, it's me ba chui kui. I think you miss out the most 'sua-teng-ka' people of all- China girls who squat in skirts and dig their noses for gold in public.

June 04, 2007 12:40 PM  
Anonymous the Chngster said...

Wahseh, welcome back lah.
KL-ah, the people there very sua kua one bor, isn't it, isn't it???

June 05, 2007 4:27 AM  
Blogger KooKoo said...

Cant stand the last pic. Holding back thinking of my bed now but gez, that pic nearly killed me. Lmaol. ;)

June 10, 2007 12:35 AM  

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