Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Kaki Lang

Today I met a 'kaki lang'. He was Mami's university-mate, studying in the same course. We met him again a few months ago, he is working in the same building.

But this morning, while having breakfast with him, I found out he's a Hainanese as well!

And the first thing, a Hainanese will asks another Hainanese (at least in Malaysia) is ....

"Do you speak Hainanese?"

Unfortunately, neither of us do. LOL!

I never got to learn the Hainanese dialect when I was a kid. My dad speaks Cantonese with my mom, who's a Hakka, and to me and my brother. At family gatherings, the elders used to 'taruk' me for not knowing the dialect, like my other cousins. So I was never the favourite grandchild. I tried learning by listening to my dad's conversation with his siblings. But as years went by, with no one to practice with, the skills just vanished. However, I managed to 'keep' a few 'useful' phrases.

Mong Kang - "Stupid"
L@m P@h - hehehe...u guessed it.
Who There - "Where are you going?"
Chiak Bui - loosely translated 'Eat rice' or "having a meal".
Bo Bat - "Don't know".
Bat Dit Dit - "Know a bit".
Siang Yak - "Taking a bath"

As Hainanese speakers are getting less and less, we didn't really want to lose the Hainanese dialect, and lose our 'root'. A language is the root of an ethnic group or race. So I am getting my dad to teach Yiyi the dialect, and hopefully she could bring it down to her generation. :)

Kaki Lang - Hokkien meaning "own people" or "of the same ethnic or race"