Most of my live Cantonese sessions are done in the venerable Honolulu Coffee and Cake Shop, one of the last proper cha chanteng in Central. The last venue (see film above), whose name I can’t →
In the column below I bemoan the fact that my first Inner Guangdong town, (where I coined the phrase ‘hovelage’ – excellent traditional Chinese architecture made to last but a little careworn) has become a →
Ever since my friend suggested I should teach Mandarin (NEVER!!! Down with simplified characters and cultural imperialism!) new Cantonese students have been pouring in. There was something about making a decision, having a goal in →
Last Friday I was so happy, because I had a trip to Shenzhen all lined up. Probably only a day trip, but still! Shenzhen is Shenzhen. Sichuan food, having some shirts made and foot massage. →
Are you a woman? Caucasian or Caucasian with benefits? Do you live in Hong Kong? Then you may have referred to yourself at some point as “Gwailou”. Guess what, you’re not. Only men can be →
The mainland is all well and good, in fact better than well and certainly better than good, but there other countries around here. Japan for example. Not that this tiny island that’s much closer to →
Look at this photo. Dawn, right? Just starting to get light? Wrong. It’s my camera that’s so great, it can take photos even when it’s too dark for the human eye to see anything, and →
Last month I went to Hunan province and after a few minutes there was overcome with shark flu (or some other fierce animal) – awful. Just awful. Anyway, so today, instead of advising you on →
Do you live in Hong Kong? Have you lived here for a number of years? (Any number higher than, say, one?) Then you must already be starting to get sick of people leaving. Now it’s →
Woo-hooo! WE did that! the happy cooks A, K and D are beaming, so pleased with themselves after studying Sichuan cooking for only two hours. (Chuanxing village spicy potato cake) Now you can also learn →
I can’t control myself – I must show it: Mister Public Security Uncle photographed by a professional photographer! It was the night before Halloween and I was strolling around Central with my vice-Security officer, Bak →
Here’s a gaff in my favourite village in all of China, Chuanxing 川興 (Chuen Heng) near famous satellite centre Xichang 西昌 (Sai Cheung) where the moon is rounder and brighter than in the rest of →
The other day I made a list of the ten most important reasons, off the top of my head, to learn Cantonese. Yesterday I found another one. I am a Luddite whose phone, a Nokia →
This is the kind of joke I like. Clean, but not without teeth! Talking about vexed – the word for angry in Cantonese is 嬲 (lao). The character shows one woman between two men, so →
It’s Sunday morning and I just finished doing the dishes from yesterday’s Sichuan food blowout extravaganza wonder party. Chilli oil tastes wonderful but is a bugger to get off plates and worktops. But it’s worth →
Here is my fine hound Lasi, rocking the look with a handmade collar from Ciao Puppy. When I named her Lasi, it was meant as a knowing pun. In Cantonese, La Si (拉士) comes from →
Rain, rain and I’m stuck in my office writing a book. I like books, I like writing, but I don’t like being stuck! In times like these, my thoughts inevitably turn to travelling, especially thundering →
I’m fortunate enough to live in a place with water buffalo all around. This morning when I took my dogs for a walk, I reflected on how the rain makes the water buffalo 水牛 (seoi →
The Transport Department has just made my life a little bit worse. As if ten or more minutes of every ferry trip, twice a day, being taken up by screaming public announcements in three languages →
Last week I received some shocking news: My banjo teacher is leaving. What??? Now that everything was going so well? Not only do we do the old-fashioned and also modern thing of bartering skills; I →
The Uncle is currently in Australia, shooting a new film about the rubbish incinerator Hong Kong’s government is planning to build right outside my kitchen window. As usual, he does the bidding of his dear leader du jour , C.Y. Leung. Don’t quite know what the story is yet, but I’m getting there.
Meanwhile please watch this! And watch that space on YouTube:
This is the kind of joke I like. Clean, but not without teeth! Talking about vexed – the word for angry in Cantonese is 嬲 (lao). The character shows one woman between two men, so kind of explains itself.
I have to admit, I sometimes get vexed, or rather exasperated and a little frustrated 灰心(fui sam, ash heart) every day, every single day, when I address people in their own language but they answer me in a different language, normally English.
For people just starting out in the Canto world, this Hong Kong phenomenon can be so disheartening that they simply give up altogether. But there’s a way around it!
My students have a standing order of finding three new words per week. I recommend this to everyone. Every time you’re in a shop, in a market or in a taxi, ask the clerk or driver how to say a word in Cantonese. Point to the object or say the word in English, like this: "BROCCOLI, 中文點講呀？" (BROCCOLI, jung man dim gong ah? BROCCOLI, Chinese Language How To Say?) They will then answer you in their own language.
This is also a good daily habit to establish for yourself if you’re a little shy about talking to strangers. Three words a day, after a week it has become a habit and you’ll be able to strike up a Canto conversation with anyone.
Make this the summer you learn Cantonese! If you don’t have time to take lessons, download my video course in beginners’ Cantonese, Cantonese The Movie. You find it on this site under SHOP.
Now you can own both Cantonese – The Movie and Going Native in this special bundle. Take your Cantonese from complete beginner to an intermediate level without even trying! Let Happy Jellyfish Language Bureau take you on an adventure through all things Canto with some interesting places and characters thrown in along the way.
You have watched Cantonese – The Movie and feel more confident about your Canto. Now it's time to crank up the action! Going Native takes you from beginner to intermediate level – again without really trying!
Warning: Contains full frontal nudity.
Would you like to travel around China but are worried about your Mandarin being not up to scratch (or non-existent)?
Now you can get all the Mandarin words and expressions needed for getting around the Middle Kingdom in this handy video which covers train and bus travel, hotel stay, eating and drinking and other situations you might find yourself in when you, like us, are going to for example Hong Kong to Kazakhstan, by train…
“DID YOU KNOW THAT Cantonese has no word for YES or NO?
But… but how can this be? you're probably thinking. Without yes and no, how can you answer Yes/No questions? It's easy! Just download Cantonese – The Movie and all will be explained.
Everyone who has working tastebuds will surely agree that Sichuan food is the best of all food, not only in China but in the world. Sadly, many restaurants call themselves Sichuan without being the real thing. So why not avoid disappointment by learning to cook it for yourself? It's easy!
Cecilie eats her way across Americas Chinese restaurants speaking only Cantonese. If the staff don’t speak Cantonese then she leaves….unless she is really hungry.
Cecilie visits China and looks at the fun side of life. More information soon.
Find out about the delicacies of Yam Cha.