Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chinese phrases

Conversing frequently in chinese with Dan, Stef and Fred inevitably improves my own. I've picked up quite a number of phrases from them, some of which I've never heard of nor used in my life:

i) 拖拉機 - This literally means some machine or vehicle that pulls a trailor. But they use it to mean a hand of cards where the numbers run in a series, e.g. Ace with King and Queen. They enjoy playing a card game called 八十分 which is a little like Bridge (so they tell me). I usually just watch them play because I really suck at it, especially the memorising bit.

ii) 估計 - Literally means estimate but they use it more to mean "I suppose".

iii) 55555... - Read the numbers in chinese, i.e. 伍伍伍伍伍。。。 They are actually the sounds of a person weeping. It appears in their e-mails to me a lot.

iv) 趨勢 - Trend. Dan uses this to erm... explain Stef's weight a lot. :P

v) 擒 - To press, as in pressing buttons. We normally use 按 in Singapore, but I suppose 擒 sounds more classy and polished.

vi) 牛 - Bullish or strong. Used interchangeably with 強. It seems like everytime I tell a new China friend I am in the actuarial line, they will use this word on me.

vii) 鉄感 - This one's a little difficult to explain. Literally means metallic feeling. It is used to describe that feeling of brotherhood. I once told Fred the French beans dish he made was very tasty and 鉄感 was his reply.

viii) 一刻 - Quarter of an hour. I had thought this meant 5 minutes until I double-checked with them.

ix) 做人要低調 - A reminder to be humble. Actually, we use it more as a dig at the other person/team. For example, when we've (as in Dan and I) just won a tennis match against them (as in Stef and Fred), we'll do some impromptu celebration, then we'll follow that up with a very audible reminder to each other to 做人要低調.

x) 爽 - Shiok!

xi) 奔四 - thirty something pushing forty. It actually came from the chinese name of the Pentium 4. Fred, the only one still in his twenties, used that term on the three of us, despite the fact that we're still very much in our EARLY thirties. You can also have 奔三 to mean a person in his/her twenties pushing thirty.

xii) 拍連續劇 - doing "big business". Yes, "that" big business. There was once when we were waiting for everyone to be ready before starting a DVD movie. Dan was still missing, so I asked Stef where he was. She pointed to the loo and said 在拍連續劇 with a snigger.

Actually, there are a whole lot more. But I tend to remember the easier ones only. The cheem cheem ones, I've returned to them liao.

Akan Datang: What are the odds?

23 days to go.


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