Thursday, 8 October 2009

Perils of direct translation

I am sure many of you have read last Friday’s post regarding an unfortunate banana. And there appears to be a debate on the true definition of a “banana”. We all have our very own interpretation. Some are of the opinion that knowing a Chinese dialect means one is no longer a banana. Ability to read or write is irrelevant.

I tend to disagree. In my zewtpinion, inability to read or write the Chinese language makes one a banana. If you know a particular dialect, it only reduces the degree of your banana-ness. Hence, I am a banana too; just that my banana-ness is within control. You may disagree.

But anyway…

June is a true blue banana. She grew up in an English speaking family and attended international school. But unlike some bananas out there, she knows that she should learn up the language and constantly makes effort in reducing her banana-ness.

During her college days, June often mixed around with a bunch of Cantonese speaking friends. This gave her the opportunity to buck up her Cantonese.

One fine day, June and her friends went to a coffee shop for lunch. Out a sudden, June asked her friends…

“How do you say breast in Cantonese?”
“Lin-ku lah, hahahahaha!”
(It’s called lin-ku) A friend replied.

June then stood up, walked to the chicken rice store and said…

“Aunty, ngo oi kai lin ku fan”

I am afraid you must know Cantonese to appreciate this…


1 year ago…
Are you still chasing?

39 comments:

Ju-Lian said...

i can't stop laughing... ROTFLMAO!!!!

seokthong said...

I can't stop laughing too! This is too "ngong"!!!

missironic said...

Hahahaha! Adoi! So wrong~~~~ though my canto not tat good but still... sounds so wrong! Hahahaha...

MKL said...

-_- So mean... I no speako canto lo..

J u n e said...

lolxx...thankfully im not that banana!

day-dreamer said...

OMG!!! -_-"

Poor June...

I wonder what's the chicken rice aunty's reactions...

pharmalogik said...

auntie responded: ni oi yat lap yet hai liong lap?

haha

Jerine said...

After reading it, I felt more banana than I already am. I really don't understand the lin ku joke. I thought breast is "hong". No?

dy said...

wtf! is this a true story? LOL!

littlepolaris said...

ahahahaha
Zewt, next time come ipoh find me. I bring u go eat nga choi lin ku fan. HaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

jacss said...

oh my god...this is so creative zewt :D
i'm sure d chicken rice ah beng must have laugh his ass off, "linkufarn"...kakaka

Purple~MushRooM said...

LOL! Is this a true story, or are u really that good at imagination?

Jennifer said...

I really pity this June. I bet those who heard her either laugh so hard or feel disgusted. Lesson learnt: if one wants a translation, ask for the whole sentence and not just the word. I guess June already learnt her lesson, right?

iamthewitch said...

Hahaha zewt! You just made my day! *LOL*

Anonymous said...

...actually , we always refer that part as 'chest meat' ( hung yoke ) but NOT 'breast-meat'/linku/milky part !!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

haha i heard abt the malay version 1..

girl ask wats breasts in malay

then goes off n ask for chicken breast

sorry, but i just cant remember wat was the word she used..something ti tik?

"maemee" said...

muahahahahahaha... this is sooooooo funny!!! what did the aunty say???

narrowband said...

bunch of good friends June has!!

Anonymous said...

zewt, the typical malaysian chinese moron.if someone wants to be a "banana" and feels proud about it ,that's they right,why do you care you pretentious chickenhead? at least the
"bananas" are less hypocrite compare to the so called proud chinese.

mun said...

So in your opinion, how many Chinese characters must one read and write before you will declassify the person as a banana? Anyway who is the person who first came up with this banana name calling? In my opinion, it is not accurate at all, being chinese illiterate and English literate does not make one "white". Far from it.

Swee Ping said...

Wahahahahahahahhahaha!!! SO FUNNY!! Haha, I used to be a half-banana cos at home, parents,aunt, grandma practice mandarin&cantonese with us. So now much better. Then self learnt reading and recognizing chinese characters through music.

CK said...

hahahahhaha and i love the pic best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

rotten banana = lanjau !

jam said...

So bad I am not that good in Cantonese. Anyone cares to translate?

Lifong said...

Hey, I thought..well, according to my dictionary,

Lin-ku = nipples
Po = breasts
Hoong = chest, also referred to breasts depends on situation.

So if her friend answered the three, June can say "Aunty, ngo oi kai lin-ku Hoong Popo fan" lol

Pauline Yap said...

I don't dare to laugh at June, because somedays, I think I might end-up in the same scenario, but anyway, it was a good try and a good humour, perhaps?;)

~dolly~ said...

haha! this is good~~

then u know the cantonese in Malaysia and Hong Kong is different.
In malaysia, Pisang = "gong jiu", so one day, the particular friend went to Hong Kong travel, he wanted to buy some banana, when he told the stall owner he wants "gong jiu", that owner replied him "i dont know how to differenciate gender of banana"
=_____________="

Anonymous said...

-dolly-

yours not funny...

The Envoy said...

I lol'd. But I'd still eat that chicken.

Yvonne Foong said...

Urgh crude. Actually, I always try to speak accurate Cantonese when I do. I mean, the Cantonese directly translated from Mandarin. Prefer to be decent and proper. If a word cannot be translated into mandarin then I won't utter it.

eiling lim said...

June should be more specific what type of breasts she wants! haha

zewt said...

Ju-Lian - hello there... it's always good to laugh.

seokthong - hehe...

missironic - share with a fren... see the reaction hehe.

MKL - explained... :)

J u n e - thankfully indeed.

day-dreamer - didnt ask my friend...

zewt said...

pharmalogik - hahahahaha... liong lap!

Jerine - actually hong is chest, that's the usual way of asking for breast meat. lin-ku-fan is like asking for chicken tits rice.

dy - as true as it gets...

littlepolaris - hahahahaha... you said wrongly already lah.

jacss - luckily she didnt say kuku...

purple mushroom - it's true leh.

zewt said...

Jennifer - hahaha... i think she will have to live with this for the rest of her life.

iamthewitch - my pleasure.

anon @ 9/10 3.31pm - i know that.

constantly craving joe - tetek lah hahahaha....

maemee - no idea... didnt ask ... only laugh haha!

narrowband - i am sure we are all good friends too haha!

zewt said...

anon @ 9/10 8.42pm - it is indeed their right. and if i choose to think they are wrong, hey... guess what... it is also my right.

mun - indeed... and that is indeed a good thing to know. however, there are those who strive hard to be white... despite being born yellow.

Swee Ping - through music... ahh... i have also learned a few.

CK - hahaha...

anon @ 10/10 12.20pm - hmmm.. smelly.

jam - hmmm... shall do so in your blog...

zewt said...

Lifong - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH... you are the ultimate!!!

Pauline Yap - well, humour is always good. i am sure june learned well now.

~dolly~ - yeah, pretty common... malaysian should answer back... yeah, you mean you dunno?

anon @ 10/10 10.10pm - ok lah...

The Envoy - me too.

Yvonne Foong - despite coming from the same family, direct translation from mandarin to canto has its perils too.

eiling lim - hahaha... i dont think he has a choice.

pinknpurplelizard said...

This post of your kinda made me think of something... U will get to read it soon. :P

Huei said...

HAHAHAH OMFG! was she embarassed sial???

zewt said...

pinknpurplelizard - zewt awaits.

huei - super!