More about NOT to be


Summer has come to Pui O beach and with it a slew of … I think they call them ‘pseudo-models’? and their entourages of dozens of photographers and light-reflector-holders, all men, for some reason.

Referring to yesterday’s post about to be or not to be, I can’t tell you how many of my students want so, so badly to use to be (係, hai) before an adjective. And why wouldn’t they? Unless they’re from another Asian country, it’s deeply entrenched in their mother tongue to say ‘the girl IS beautiful’. But that’s not Chinese. In Chinese: 女仔好靚(leoi tsai hou leeng (female boy well beautiful). The thing about Chinese, wishful thinking absolutely doesn’t work.

New BL Cover

So it’s not 佢"係"靚仔" (keui “hai” leeng tsai, he IS handsome-boy) but 佢好靚仔 (keui HOU leeng tsai, he WELL handsome-boy). It’s, as they say, just the way it is…

Learn more about this without really trying by downloading the Bureau’s two Cantonese instruction videos Cantonese – The Movie and Going Native. You can find them on this very site under the heading SHOP