Digital murals of Cantonese proverbs and profanity… translated
Graphic artist Ahto (阿塗) has just released his second digital mural documenting modern Cantonese in Hong Kong: this time, it features Cantonese profanity. Originally featured in City Magazine, Ahto has released an animated version online!
Kind commenters on the Cantonese subreddit have translated some of the terms depicted above. Here’s a selection of their explanations.
Moon with Dutch flag = Holland moon = 好撚悶 hóu lán muhn “so fucking boring”
Guy looking at the star = 眺那星 tīu láh sīng “looking at the star” = 那媽 díu la mā “fuck that mother”
Big lemon coke = 大檸樂 daaih líng lohk = 大撚鑊 daaih lán wohk “big-fucking-problem”
Holland Bank Cheque = 好撚笨柒 (sounds like holland bank cheque) = fucking stupid
Fan blowing the Emperor’s crotch = 孤鳩寒 = very stingy / very cheap
Burning the accounting journals = 燒你數簿 which is a pun of 屌你老母 = fuck your mother
Scout boy jumping on the trampoline = Scout 彈 = 是鳩但 = what-fucking-ever
Frying crabs = 炒蟹 which is a pun of 臭閪 = fucking bitch
Small trumpet = 小喇叭 which is a pun of 屌哪媽 = fuck it / fuck you
Lie for shrimp chips = 呃蝦條 = bait girls to get laid (commonly used to describe players baiting young girls for their virginity) (not profanity at all)
And ICYMI, Ahto’s first epic digital mural was featured on Passion Times, and translated by the Cantonese Resources blog (with an audio pronunciation guide!):
飛象過河 [fēi jeuhng gwo hòh]
(An elephant flies across the river)
1. To break a rule
2. To reach across the table for food (a reference to the rules of Chinese chess)
Needless to say, we highly recommend following Ahto on Facebook, the Cantonese Resources blog, and the Cantonese subreddit.
H/t Andrew Chen.
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