Written public cursing in Hong Kong

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Spotted by Howard Goldblatt in Shatin:

This is not very understandable to someone who only knows Mandarin / Zhongwen.  Bob Bauer kindly transcribed the text, provided Romanizations, and tentative English translations:

kwong3 coi2 lin4
Kwong Coi Lin

nei5 zek3 gau2 je5 hou2 mat1 cau3
Your dog stuff (= cunt?) is quite smelly

wat1 lou5 beng6 soeng1 caan4 sei3 maan6 gau2
(you) falsely accuse old sick injured disabled forty-nine thousand (?)

hai6 hat1 mai5 dau1 laa4 faan6
It’s with an alms bowl used to beg for rice that you (get?) food

nei5 mou4 dak1 saang1
You can’t give birth

saang1 zi2 gung1 ngaam4
You bore a son your womb is cancerous

tin1 jau5 ngaan5
Heaven has eyes

nei5 ham6 gaa1 fuk1 kwong3 coi2 lin4
Your whole family (?) Kwong Coi Lin!

Apparently the person to whom this note is addressed, Kwong Coi Lin 鄭彩蓮, is the female superintendent of a prison in Macao.

And here's another notice spotted by Howard near the same place as the one above:

This one is much easier to comprehend, but still requires some explanation:

dak1 gwok3 din6 leon4 ji2
German electric wheelchair

laap6 saap3 je5
(It’s) rubbish/garbage stuff

gwaa3 joeng4 tau4 maai6 gau2 juk6
(Literal translation of Cantonese idiom: Hang up a goat’s head or sheep’s head but sell dog meat)
[So Siu-hing Simon, A Glossary of Common Cantonese Colloquial Expressions, 2002:101: “To cry wine and sell vinegar. To sail under false colours”; Lo Tam Fee-yin, Cantonese Colloquial Expressions, 2007:31: “Do legal things superficially but do the opposite secretly”; Guan Jiecai, A Dictionary of Cantonese Colloquialisms in English, 2010:170: “Foist something on somebody. Label vinegar as vintage. Cry up wine and sell vinegar”.]
They pretend to sell you one thing but actually sell you something else.

Ou3 tok3 bok3 hak1
Otto Bock is black (that is, bad, unlucky),
(Correct Chinese transcription of Otto Bock, the name of the German company that manufactures and sells wheelchairs: 奧托博克 ou3 tok3 bok3 hak1)

ngaak1 dak1 zau6 ngaak1
If you can cheat people then you cheat them.

This is one way to vent one's spleen.

[Many thanks to Bob Bauer for the transcriptions and translations]


  1. Michael Dunn said,

    May 4, 2017 @ 12:17 am

    I'm sorry I read to the end. For a delightful few moments I thought "German electric wheelchair" was a Cantonese obscenity.

  2. tangent said,

    May 4, 2017 @ 1:02 am

    Hm. Is it fair to Kwong Coi Lin to make an Internet meme of all this?

  3. Kobo Daishi said,

    May 4, 2017 @ 4:39 am

    Wrong character for dog in the second line.

    妳冚家覆… This is wishing her entire family 覆.

    The CC-CEDICT only gives 覆 definitions of
    /variant of 復|复/to reply to a letter/

    /to cover/to overflow/to overturn/to capsize/

    But in the Hanyu Da Cidian, 覆 also means 灭亡;覆灭。

    From the CC-CEDICT
    [mie4 wang2]
    /to be destroyed/to become extinct/to perish/to die out/to destroy/to exterminate/

    So it most likely means wishing one's entire family perishes.

    Similar to 冚家剷, 冚家鏟, or 冚家富貴. I don't get the last one or maybe here they're wishing the opposite. Will check at the Sheik Cantonese forums when I've time. "Shoveled (over)" implies being buried so also extinguished.

    掛羊頭賣狗肉 isn't only Cantonese. It's in the Guoyu Cidian.


    I'll check with the Sheik Cantonese forums for what some of the other parts mean. They've quite a few very knowledgeable Cantonese native speakers over there.


  4. Fluxor said,

    May 4, 2017 @ 9:53 am

    Re: 係乞米兜嗱飯
    Translation: Taking rice from a beggar's bowl (roughly, 係=from, 乞=beg, 米=rice, 兜=vessel, 嗱=take, 飯=rice). So basically, said target is being accused of robbing the poor.

    The next two lines after that are curses.

    Re: 生子宮癌. Bob must have parsed it 生子 (bore a son) and 宮癌 (womb is cancerous). It should be parsed 生 (to grow) 子宮癌 (uterine cancer).

  5. Kobo Daishi said,

    May 5, 2017 @ 7:35 am

    This is a translation I got from C. Chiu, a regular contributer at the Sheik Cantonese forums.

    Kwong Choi Lin!

    Your dog cunt is quite smelly.

    By crooked means, you got $49,000 from the aged, sick, injury and disability allowances.

    You acted like robbing rice from a beggar’s bowl.

    You can’t give birth.

    You get uterine cancer.

    Heaven has eyes

    Death to your whole family, Kwong Choi Lin!

    German electric wheelchair.

    Rubbish stuff.

    Labelling wine but selling vinegar.

    Otto Bock is black. [a pun with 黑 and 克]

    Cheating people whenever possible.

    The thread I started may be found at the following link:


    I think C. Chiu is a moderator at the Sheik Cantonese forums. He was raised in a Teochew speaking family, was a former translator for the courts when Hong Kong was under British rule, since retired and collects books on Cantonese. He's very knowledgeable about Cantonese, knows the grammar and grammatical terms and stuff.


  6. B.Ma said,

    May 5, 2017 @ 4:51 pm

    Yes, C.Chiu has it.

  7. Rachel Liao said,

    May 10, 2017 @ 6:46 am

    The article "how not to learn Chinese" is written by Victor Mair under language teaching and learning, writing system dated April 16, 2017.
    At the beginning of the article, the author writes "if one wants to become literate in Chinese, until 21century, there was basically only one way:"rote copying of the characters to engrave them in the neuromuscular pathways of the learners. Then Mr. Mair accounts for it with an example. A foreign student from Russia, studies Chinese in Shenzhen. Copying the characters over and over again is asked by his teacher. Furthermore, Mr. Mair extends the fact that, actually, both parents and teachers in Shenzhen encourage children in the same manner -copying characters over and over again. Finally, Mr. Mair ends with a question: do we require students in physical and mathematics to do all their calculation with a slide rule, much less by hand on paper? It leaves me a suspect and calls for people thinking about -how can we look on this phenomenon, do we agree with the way of learning Chinese?
    From the brief summary, in terms of its structure, we are able to see that the article is well organized with accurate topic sentences, clear transitional sentences and striking concluding sentences. All of these make the article more fluent, logical and con convincing.
    When comes to its language, both its vocabularies and sentences are precise and vigorous, like engrave, aphantasia, whim, etc. And the author is also fond of writing sentence:over and over again. It appears there times on the paper. In doing so, Mr. Mair emphasizes his main ideas that serve for purport.
    Last but not least, focusing our mind on the content of this article, in my understanding, Mr. Mair tends to object to copying Chinese characters in Chinese learning with the increasing development of science and technology. In some way, it is reasonable. As we know, in this technological age, it seems writing is not necessary for most of people. Instead, people are inclined to type characters with Pinyin. However, the fact is that a large number of Chinese people cannot write down some Chinese characters. Thus, copying is essential to Chinese writing.
    To my way of thinking, just as the saying goes :the palest ink is better than the best memory. It means copying the characters is conductive to memorizing them. In reality, I am fond of writing them down for several times when I learn the new words in English. Because it enable me to keep them in mind better.
    Apart from this point, I also firmly believe a saying :"practice makes perfect ".That is to say, words can be used flexibly after exercising them over and over again. Therefore, in a sense, copying is not a terrible matter.
    Anyway, that is just my personal opinion on the basis of my experience, which is not common. In a whole, the article is intelligent and coherent whether the contents or structure.

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