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Extensive guide to roleplaying Chinese

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Montreal

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Montreal's Guide to Chinese roleplay
 

Acknowledgements

- As any topic as endless as this, my guide is by no means even close to everything one needs to roleplay a Chinese person believably, so do your research, there can never be enough. Read and watch movies, roleplay. It will all come in time. Like with anything, at first it seems difficult and you'll reach yourself grasping at stereotypes, it will feel bland, but as you go deeper there is much to be found in this goldmine of roleplay.
- There is much to be learned from other dialect speaking regions from China and other Asian countries, but considering I have spent most of my time roleplaying Cantonese that is one of my biases in the creation of this guide.
- I have learned all of this through trial and error and I still make mistakes, but understanding what I write here will save you a lot of those same problems I had to grow out of over the years.

- This topic concerns only Chinese people, however, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian countries remain a gargantuan population of Chinatowns all over the world and shouldn’t be overlooked when picking an ethnicity for your character.

- There is much more to be said about this topic and this is by no means the finished product, I will update this over time as I find more to write about.

 

1. Language
 

1.1 The Problem
 

The most common misconception when it comes to roleplaying Chinese comes from language. When people start roleplaying Chinese, they will go google Chinese names and stumble onto something like Jingyi Chen and go with it. The problem with this is, language affects name choosing, so straight off the bat you’re already making the mistake of not thinking about what the regions are for your character. First, where your character immigrated from (origin region) and secondly where he grew up (because for example, there are more Cantonese in some Canadian cities than in some U.S cities like San Francisco). So, for an example if the faction you’re joining is mostly from southern parts of China like Hong Kong (they might’ve been born in the U.S but their fathers and grandfathers were most likely immigrants), they will most likely be Cantonese or Taishanese. So, you've already picked a Mandarin name for your character and you will be facing a slight shift in cultural difference. This, then, means that picking a region/dialect for your character is just as important as the ethnicity of your character (almost is) and should be one of your starting points.

PS: Not to say Mandarin characters shouldn’t be roleplayed, there has been an influx in recent years of Mandarin-speaking immigrants from Taiwan and Mainland China who also have seen prominence in Bay Area. But this is a conscious decision which you’re gonna have to make and a lot of your roleplay depends on making this shift.
There are many dialects spoken in China, all varying slightly from each other, they are not completely different languages, but written and translated to pinyin (Chinese in English characters) look different, here is a map for regions and their languages in China.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a9/Map_of_sinitic_languages_full-en.svg/1280px-Map_of_sinitic_languages_full-en.svg.png


The map shows there are over ten times more Mandarin speakers than Cantonese (this is the Guangzhou dialect of Yue on the map), so why would I roleplay a Cantonese speaking Chinese?

 

1.2 Regional Immigration to the U.S


There were several waves of Chinese immigration to America. And each wave featured a different type of people from a different region speaking a different set of dialects. The first big wave came in the 1800s with the Gold Rush and the building of the railroads. Most of these immigrants were blue-collar laborers from Guangdong Province so they spoke Cantonese or its close cousin, Taishanese. This until The Chinese Exclusion Act, which was a United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers into the United States. The act was initially intended to last for 10 years, but was renewed in 1892 and made permanent in 1902. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first law implemented to prevent a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States. It was repealed by the Magnuson Act on December 17, 1943. But, after that, the immigration quotas were set so low that there could only be allowed 105 Chinese immigrants into the U.S per year. when President Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, opening immigration doors to non-Europeans for the first time in American history. At the time, Red China was closed off to the world. As a result, most Chinese immigrants in this generation were from Hong Kong and Taiwan and spoke a mix of Cantonese, Mandarin and Taiwanese (Hokkien). This second wave featured immigrants that tended to be more educated than the previous generation -- students, university graduates, professors, engineers, teachers etc.
The last wave of immigrants shifted again, with the opening up of Mainland China in the 1980s, immigration shifted noticeably towards mainland immigrants. There was also a noticeable spurt of immigration from Hong Kong leading up to the Handover in 1997 but many of those went to fellow commonwealth member Canada (Toronto and Vancouver).

This wave of immigrants ran the entire socio-economic gamut from low-paid undocumented workers who could only find work in Chinese restaurants to sons and daughters of the nouveau riche. Whereas prior Chinese immigrants mostly originated from Southern provinces (Guangdong and Fujian), recent immigrants have come from all over China.

1.3 Taishan (Sei Yap)

We can’t consider Hong Kong and Cantonese people in San Francisco without talking about Taishanese people or the Sei Yap Cantonese. Sei Yap represents the second largest Han group in Hong Kong after the group of people originating from the Guangzhou-Sam Yap region. The Sze Yap Cantonese comes from a region in Guangdong in China called Sze Yap, now called Ng Yap, which consists of the cities of Taishan, Kaiping, Xinhui, Enping, Heshan and Jiangmen. The Sze Yap Cantonese group have contributed much to what makes Hong Kong a success. In the 1960s, Hong Kong people of Sze Yap origin represented about 30% of Hong Kong's total population and today this population still increases as more immigrants from the Taishanese speaking areas of Guangdong in mainland China continue to immigrate to Hong Kong. Taishanese demographics are among the most prevalent in San Francisco among Chinese people today.

 

1.4 Conclusion

 

This means that the older generation families are mostly Cantonese- and Taishanese speaking while there are new waves of immigrants that speak mostly Mandarin. However, this varies in neighborhoods as well, so, in the U.S you could have people speak mostly one dialect in an older generation neighborhood (Taishanese, Cantonese) and another in a neighborhood that’s maybe more tourist-oriented and consisting of newer generation immigrants (Mandarin). Everything regarding Chinese dialects and the history affects your character, the way he thinks, talks and the slang he uses, even if he’s an American born who doesn’t speak Chinese (living in Chinatown, this is not as common). More on this when I talk about slang and proverbs.
 

2. Names

 

2.1 The Hong Kong (Cantonese) name

Hong Kong Cantonese names consist of an English name, a Chinese given name and a Chinese surname. Because Hong Kong people do not give their Chinese given names to strangers easily and are mostly used by close relatives or family members. That’s why they use English names.

So for example, someone whose name is Johnny Wan, if he was born in Hong Kong, his full name may be something like Johnny Wan Mo-wah. Johnny being his English name, Wan being his Chinese surname and Mo-wah his Chinese given name. Why Mo-wah is the last is because Cantonese names are written opposite of how names in English are. So if the Chinese film director would be called Kar-wai Wong in the English way, he would be Wong Kar-wai in Hong Kong. Despite this, English names go before the Chinese surname. So, the full thing will follow in say Hong Kong in this order: English name, Chinese surname, Chinese given name. In English in this order: English name, Chinese name, Chinese surname. On LS-RP, you would use only two names, though: so it’s best to just put your English name and Chinese surname or your Chinese name and Chinese surname, leaving your Chinese given name out of the equation. This depending solely on if your character was foreign-born or American born, being born in anywhere in China outside of Hong Kong would most likely mean he has no English name. However, people get English names if they go to live in Hong Kong as well, it’s sort of just like a “name yourself” thing. Due to Hong Kong naming people in English and there being a cultural difference between Hong Kong and U.S there are a lot of names that might be weird in English context. So, there are a lot of Sunny Chow’s and Fanny Wong’s. You might see people with really weird names like Shakespeare Ho or Cornelius Ng. Which names are used among groups is really dependant on the group, some people use only nicknames for their friends, some groups refer to each other by given names because they are really close, some people only refer to each other with full names or surnames.

 


2.2 Mainland and Taiwanese names

Mainland and Taiwanese people usually have names like Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Hu Jintao and Guo Yizhen. They follow the same principle in writing as other Chinese, surname is first and the given name is last. Mandarin speaking people living abroad may also use English names much like Cantonese. They may use more Christian names like Anna Chen or John Bai. Because the number of surnames in Mandarin regions is actually sometimes shockingly small, in recent years people have begun creating new surnames based often on the surnames of both their parents, then taking two-syllable given names. And during the Cultural Revolution, it was not uncommon to give some of one's children the surname of their mother.

 

Finally, to add to the confusion, many Chinese who emigrate will reverse the order of their name, making it sometimes difficult (especially in the case of two-character names) to know which is the surname and which the given name. The Brookings Institute political scientist Cheng Li (or is it Li Cheng?) is a case in point, especially because both Cheng and Li can be surnames.


 

3. Nicknames

 

Nicknames are a huge part of Chinese culture. They nickname everything from celebrities to their friends and they are completely savage, witty, weird and hilarious. Much like their proverb and slang is. Chinese humor is just one of the best parts about their cultural identity. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a nickname for your character, or you might even want to leave it to your friends when you roleplay (this might backfire depending on who you roleplay with). The hardest part about all of this is translating them over. Due to Chinese words literally being proverbs, they speak and think about things very differently and that is hard to translate. Some meanings cannot be translated in two words so you will be given a lot of free hands when trying to capture the slang and nicknames and bringing it over to your roleplay.


Some examples of Chinese humor in celebrity nicknames:

Nicki Minaj - Spicy Chicken

Kim Kardashian - Aunt Kim

Jennifer Lawrence - Eldest Cousin

Matt Bomer - Peacock
Miley Cyrus - Tongue Bitch

The Weeknd - Brother Potted Plant

 

So this gives us an idea what the gist of it is. The important thing is to remember choosing a nickname is dependant on different variables. The cultural background of where they are from originally, their physical details (maybe they have a weird tattoo, a pig’s nose, a scar on their left cheek, maybe they’re fat etc), their name, everything that defines them. And Chinese will nickname their best friend that, they don’t give a *** as long as it’s funny and witty. Someone whose name is say Jimmy Lam Ka-fai with a limp may be nicknamed ‘Pirate Jimmy’ or ‘Pirate Lam’ or even ‘Pirate Ka-fai’ depending on his group and if they use English names or surnames or given names mostly among each other. Someone whose first eye-catching physical attribute may be their obesity may be just called ‘Pufferfish’ or ‘Ricebucket’ attributing only their fatness and nothing else. It’s all about creativity when it comes to this one. Nicknames are also about hierarchy. So if someone is the big brother (dai lo) in the gang, they can be called Big K for example. Or Elder Ma. If someone is an old hermit they be referred to as Uncle Guo. Or Aunt Jie. And people will use these pronouns without the name just as often if they aren’t familiar with the person. So if the new guy gets invited to a party where there are a lot of dai los, he will just call them dai lo or elder brother. And the kid will be called sai lo. More on all this in the slang/proverbs guide.

 

4. Roleplaying very Americanized characters
 

The newer generations have accustomed themselves to life in the United States more and have an easier time growing up. But that doesn’t mean the culture is trodden, it means exactly the opposite. Chinatowns all over the world celebrate that culture and hold to it tightly both in everyday life and yearly events like the Chinese New Year and other celebrations. The older generation of Chinese hold tight to traditions, family, roots and keep in touch with their relatives across the sea. And try to row on these traditions over to their children. However, there are people who have grown up in more Americanized households and don’t hold these values to such a higher standard, especially among the youth. These youth will abide the standards of their American peers with a mix of culture they draw from their environment. Chinatown encapsulates that environment perfectly, it’s a mix of the roots from whence it came, but at the same time it represents what life is for these people like in America. Opportunity.

 

5. Crime groups, gangs, triads and tongs

 

5.1 Tongs and associated gangs
 

When Chinese first immigrated to the U.S with the dream of a free land, America, they brought along their traditions. Part of these traditions were and still is to this day, gambling. And due to most of these first immigrants being laborers who worked on railroads, there weren’t a lot of women, instead, there were bachelors. This meant that Chinatown was literally a goldmine for prostitution and gambling. And who became to be the landmarks of these activities? Tongs. Tongs weren’t always meant to be couriers of malicious and illicit activities, quite the contrary. They were created to help Chinese laborers and communities in continuing their harmonious life, traditions, and culture in the American society. The key was benevolence. However, in China, gambling was part of the societal norm. It was a social activity, almost like eating. In the U.S, it was illegal.
In late 19th century tongs controlled all of the gambling and prostitution joints across Chinatowns.

https://cdn.citylab.com/media/img/citylab/legacy/2013/08/29/prots.JPG

https://cdn.citylab.com/media/img/citylab/legacy/2013/08/29/gam.JPG


Here are two pictures illustrating what a Chinatown intersection looked like in the late 19th century. C.P stands for Chinese prostitution den, the entire street consists of gambling parlors, opium dens, and prostitution joints.

 

The years of the Tongs went on until the end of the Tong Wars. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and its subsequent fires destroyed the Chinatown ghettos, gambling halls, and brothels, killed about 3,000 people. This along with legislation destroyed a lot of the old Tongs that formed in the previous century. However, some remained at large and took their activities across several Chinatowns. Some remained warring in San Francisco, but at a much much smaller scale than previously.

Tongs, however, remained benevolent in their activities, aimed mostly in helping out their community throughout the years. There still remained illicit activity, as Chinatown was still a goldmine of opportunity for illegal markets. This cultivated in the 80’s when Chinese youth gangs began to make allies with tongs and enforce markets for tong members with reach in the community. The history repeated itself in that gangs couldn’t share territory and fell into a clash much like in the Tong Wars of the 19th century. This ended after what is now known as the 1977 Golden Dragon m***acre. Police cracked down on gang members and created the Asian Gang Unit in San Francisco. Tongs are active to this day, very few ***ociated with some illegal activity, but a lot of them are fully benevolent ***ociations that oversee the growth of community life.

 

5.2 Triads

 

A triad is a term referencing to one of the many branches of Chinese transnational organized crime syndicates.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_criminal_organizations

This Wikipedia link lists most currently known triad organizations that are active either in China or internationally.

There are a lot of misconceptions about triads, I might not be able to flip all of them here, so throw me a PM if you have any still after reading this.

 

Not all Chinese criminal organizations are triads. By using the term triad, we refer to the secret societies mostly originating in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. These groups that follow a code of conduct and initiation rites that date back centuries.

Wikipedia says:

“According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "triad" is a translation of the Chinese term San Ho Hui, or Triple Union Society, referring to the union of Heaven, Earth, and Man.

Another theory ***umes that the term "Triad" was coined by British authorities in colonial Hong Kong, as a reference to the triads' use of triangular imagery. Despite the generic use of the term "Triads" being ***ociated with all Chinese criminal organizations, this is a mistake. Triad groups are geographically, ethnically, culturally and structurally unique. "Triads" refers to traditional organized crime groups originating from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Criminal organizations operating in or originating from mainland China are named as "mainland Chinese criminal groups" or "black societies". Moreover, after years of harsh repression, only some parts of Triad groups are involved with illegal activities, using their connections to make profit instead of dirty money. Also, Triads in Hong Kong are getting less involved with regular crime and becoming more ***ociated with White Collar crimes, and traditional initiation ceremonies rarely take place anymore to avoid authorities' attention.”
 

The sole act of being a triad is illegal in China, so a lot of these members have sought to take their criminal activities elsewhere and become parts of international webs. However, contrary to a common belief, there is no one monolithic triad or organization that controls all members of a triad group. Hierarchy exists, but the activities are more ad hoc, they resemble more of a web of interlinked people who know more or less what their job is. That is part of the reason why it’s hard to crack down on their activities by the police.

 

6. Slang and proverbs

6.1 Create your own slang and lingo
Slang lingo/proverbs are a huge part of Chinese identity. They think and speak words that are metaphors contrary to how English works. When taken over into America, there is a lot of cultural clashes and in roleplaying Chinese, there is much to be taken over from Chinese and put into the context of our roleplay. For that, I’ve transcribed some words from a book that’s been helpful over the years. However, there is much more and this is just more as an example than being used as a bible (even though this has been done by members of my previous factions as well).

 

The key is to invent your own slang, think of the background where your character is. Look into how people in San Francisco talk, what street slang they use and make it your own. Combine Chinese proverbs with street slang and see what you come up with. Name streets and even the city by your own lingo, this is an endless road and as we have roleplayed our slang has always been adapting. This is true for Chinese criminal groups as well. I remember this article I read that I always keep reminding myself when I talk about slang and it’s about when the first unit by the police was created in the 80s to tap and pursue Asian gangs. As soon as they heard what they were saying they realized they didn’t understand a single word, even if it was in English. That’s because language is literally code, this is especially true for Chinese. So mix up your lingo and create new meanings constantly for your characters. Use whatever you can, whatever is funny, whatever is cool.

 

 

6.2 How to use the list


This is from a book by Christopher Hutton called A Dictionary of Cantonese slang and a mix of other sources. Some of which can be found with some research.

 

These should be used by people who have a background of Hong Kong or Cantonese roots.

 

Excerpt of preface by the author

"I have been recognized as a police triad expert since 1972, and my evidence has been accepted by law courts in Hong Kong and overseas countries.

From 1984 I began working on triad matters for the OCTB, and I have carried out much research myself on the history of triads and triad language. “

 

The key to using these is figuring out how you can turn some of these into your character's normal slang and learn to use them regularly. You don't have to use all of them or learn the Cantonese writing, but you can make your own slang per se. Some of them can be used in plain English if it doesn’t sound too foreign or weird.

 

Examples:

Trent Cheung says: (Cantonese) We were out of there faster than a blink.

Trent Cheung says: (Cantonese) Even the old (Hidden) ran. (Everybody was running)

Michael Leung says: (Cantonese) What happened to old Mui?

* Trent Cheung laughs.

Trent Cheung says: (Cantonese) Old fart Mui got kicked by the tortoise. (Caught by the police)

 

or

 

James Wang says: (Cantonese) I don't know what's going on, one day I'm lucky as a dragon, next I'm broke. (one day I have luck, next day I don’t)

Timmy Chu says: Ahh...

* Timmy Chu taps his index against the middle of his right hand.

Timmy Chu says: (Cantonese) Chop off fingers. (Stop gambling)

 

There are more traditional proverbs that are more common in not only for criminal use but for civilians, these can be found easily on google.

Examples of these:

James Wang says: (Cantonese) This place is packed.

Timmy Chu says: (Cantonese) People mountain, people sea…

 

or

Trent Cheung says: (Cantonese) Jack stabbed him in the gut without a blink. The dude is ***ing cold.

Michael Leung says: (Cantonese) And he seemed so likable.

Trent Cheung says: (Cantonese) Buddha mouth, snake heart.

 

I will transcribe more over time.

6.3 The List
 

Cantonese - Literal translation - Meaning

aak faahn sihk cheating rice to eat to be idle at work

aak gwai sihk dauh fuh cheating the ghost to eat bean curd used to express scepticisim or disbelief "you're kidding me"

aap jai duckling a junior waiter or waitress

aap leih duck's tongue a sharp knife

am faa hidden flowers a special fund for illegal purposes, a reward for carrying out a mission, the price on someone's head

an an geuk to wiggle one's feet to rise up in the world, to have no worries

ap saam ap sei to chat three and four to gossip

baa laht gai geuk spicy chicken leg a method of cheating the clients of prostitutes involving a prostitute who is tough or violent and who steals or extorts valuables for money

baahk beih go white nose guy a failure, a failed womanizer

baahk chit gai steamed chicken chopped into pieces a hairless person, a person without much body-hair (a woman with no pubic hair)

baahk ding incense (triad jardon) a censer, i.e a vessel in which incense is burnt

baahk fan white powder heroin

baahk fan seui white powder water liquid heroin

baahk gaap ngaahn pigeon eyed snobbish, superior, arrogant

baahk hok a stork someone who stands behind a mahjong or card-player looking over their shoulder

baahk jaa a jellyfish a traffic police officer

baahk ji sin white paper fan a senior triad official "advisor" - the code ***ociated with this rank is 415

baahk maah hak chaht white horse black *** an obscene expression used to say that someone is very ignorant

baahk maah wohng ji prince on a white horse someone wh osaves a particular situation

baahk mihn fan white noodle-flour heroin

baahk mung mung pure white, very white heroin

baahk sau white hands to have a clean record

baahk siu je Miss White heroin

baahk syut syur, waaht lyut lyut white and smooth as snow very clean, white and smooth

baahn cheun to pretend stupid to pretend ignorance

baahn saai haaih to act the big crab to act as if one is powerful, to act pretentiously

baahn sei gau to pretend to be a dead dog to pretend as if one doesnt know something

baahn sei haaih to pretend to be a dead crab to offer p***ive resistance; to play dead

baai deui to arrange a heap to defecate

baai jeuk to deploy a bird to take and smoke a cigarette

baai lauh to deploy a willow to urinate

baan seui to gather water to borrow money

baat baai san gauh woh heung eight bows before the altar a part in triad ceremony in which recruits bow eight times at altar

baat gwaa taoist mirror a gossip

baau peih waahn ging foreskin prospects to be in a bad position, to have bad prospects

baau had enough to eat sexually satisfied

baau daaih wohk large wok explosion to let out a secret

baau dang to burst a lamp very great

baau jeung to explode flour paste to ejaculate

bahn sau bahn geuk stupid hand, stupid leg clumsy, awkward

bahn tahu bahn nouh stupid head, stupid brain stupid looking, stupid

bai geuk aahp lame duck a government official who lost the ability to make important decisions

ban sahn dou mouh geui jan lies even when praying dishonest, extremely mendacious

bat geui can't raise sexually impotent

behng gwai sick ghost, sick cat a sickly person

bei gwai tek to be kicked by a tortoise to be checked by a policeman

bei mouh gwaa shik to give someone hairy melon to eat to frame someone, to set someone up so that they will commit a crime they didnt commit

bei sam gei to give heart and thought to pay great attention to task

gwaat chou lung to scrape rough dragon to make a lot of money in illegal business

gwaat juk to scrape bamboo play mahjong

gwai tortoise police

gwai daa gwai ghost fighting ghost quarreling or fighting among members

gwan dai red pole rank within the triad society

gwo gong luhng dragon cross river someone superior or powerful who comes from the outside and has impact on local affairs

gwo hoh sap geuk to cross river and get wet legs to take commission or percentage (getting wet and water is often ***ociated with getting paid or getting money in Cantonese slang)

gwo seui p*** water give someone money

haa bing haaih jeung shrip soldier, crab soldier unimportant footsoldier/person

haa luk shrimp body amusing, bizarre or strange accident or case

haah hoi to go down to the sea begin ones career as a prostitute

haahm haa chaan salt prawn meal a mixed race person

haahm sap salty wet a person interested in dirty fetishes in sex

haahm seui salt water foreign (derogatory)

haahm seui daaih ngohk salt water, big crocodile a foreign charlatan, crook who will try to cheat money (stay away from him)

haahm yu salted fish a corpse, dead bdoy

haahm taahm seui salt and fresh water engage in business which is marginally legal, half lega, half illegal

haahm yu faan saang salted fish become fresh escape death/danger unexpectedly

haahng wahn yat tiuh luhng lucky as a dragon having good fortune

haaih that crab an insulting way to refor to a woman

haan seui to save water to save money

haap chou to sip vinegar to be jealous

haap gon chou to sip dry vinegar jealous for no reason

hak douh jung yahn black way people triad society members, criminals

hei yuk jade of the drama the highlight

heui maah to go horse to go to work

heung jyu incense master senior rank in traditional structure of triad, numerical code ***ociated with the rank is 438

heung do sound name to reveal one's identity to get attention/make impression

hoh baau purse female genitalia

hohk yuhn school member young offenders in detention center

hoi daaih to open big to take a ***

hoi fo to start fire to argue, to quarrel

see the mountain and speak get to the point

hoi sin gaa seafood price a product which price is constantly changing

hou geng good neck good temper

hou jouh mh jouh what should be done is not done when a job is left unfinished

hou waah mh hou teng good words bad for ear the truth is hard to hear

hungh si red lion high grade heroin

huhng maau panda a person with dark rings around the eye because of lack of sleep

jaa deih leuih to hold land mine a drug dealer

jaahp jyuh close gate stop talking about something unlucky or undesirable

jaam maah dou chop horse knife long knife

jaam sau to chop off one's fingers to give up gambling

jam mouh leuhng tauh leih no needle is sharp at both ends nothing is perfect, one cannot have it both ways

jam haahm seui to dive salt/sea water to go/spend time overseas

jap sei gai to pick up a dead chicken to take something someone else has thrown away

jau louh - to run the road - to chase the dragon; to tkae drugs; to try other methods of using drugs

jehk sai - eat ***

jeui luhng - to chase dagon - to smoke heroin

jeui maau - drunken cat - a drunkard

jeuk huhng haaih - to ware red shoes - to have sex with a brother's wife/girlfriend

jeuk maaih yat tiuh fu - to wear the same trousers - to share a common problem or be in the same boat

jeuk jai cheui laa baa - little bird blowing a trumpet - a waste of breath

ji daan - bullets - money

ji dung daa bak - to point east and hit north - a distraction, a trap

jihn gwat tauh - cheap bones - a person of bad character, a low-life

jin chou - to cut gr*** - to get a haircut, to cut hair

jing saang gwaa - to steam raw melon - immature

jing jeung - a conspiracy between members of a gambling ring to rob an unsuspecting outsider

jip haak - to receive customers - to work as a prostitute

jip maaih - to fold up (sb) - to kill, to deal someone in a threatening or violent way

ji yuh daan - to squeeze the fish ball - to grasp a woman's breast, to take a prostitution's services offered at "fish ball stall"

johng baan do gwo sihk faahn - bump one's head more than eat - to keep screwing up/making mistakes

jouh geih - to celebrate someone's death anniversary - to kill sb

jouh gwai dou mh lehng - even as a ghost, a bad trickster - to be a complete failure in life

jouh hei - to do a good show - to put on an act, to pretend

jouh yi sang - to play doctor - said of sb who ingests someone else drugs

juhng jeng gwo mouh meih seh - more cunning than a snake with no tail - said of sb who never gets caught

juhng meih seig wo? - still not dead? - said to sb like "get lost!"

juk seh yahp si fat - to grab a snake and put it up ones own *** - make trouble for oneself

juk tung geuk - to grab sore leg - to exploit the weaknesses of others

juk gun - bamboo house - gambling house

jung gun - the organisers of a gambling den

jung chuhng - to cultivate worms - to cause trouble

jyu - pearl - drugs, especially "white dragon pearl heroin"

jyu si maah jik - spider's thread and hore's footprints - clues, traces, evidence left behind

jyu ap - pig talk - talking nonsense

jyu bing - pig name - an idiot

jyu dau - pig dish - an idiot

jyu paa - pork cutlet- an ugly or fat woman

jyu tauh - pig's head - badly beaten person, a person with face beaten into a pulp

jyu tauh laa baa jeui - pig's head, trumpet mouth - a person beaten into a pulp

jyu sih po - various matters man/woman - a gossip maker person

kahm laih kahm heui - climb here, climb there - used to describe someone who is running wild

keih ngaahng - to stand hard - to stand firm

laahm dang luhng - blue lantern

laam haaih - to tie shoes - to perform a menial or difficult task for someone

laam tauh laam geng - hug head, hug neck - to be very close and intimate

lahm tin gwong laaih liuh - wet oneself before dawn - a last minute failure over something that was destined for success

lat sing maah lau - loose string monkey - an out of control youth

lauh hau seui - to drool after sb - to long for sb

leih saai jaau - to leave the shelter - to go out of control, off the rails

leng baau geng - so pretty as to break a mirror - very attractive

leuhn daaih maih - a gang rape

leuhng deih gun - land surveyor - an unemployed person

leuhng sam dong gau fai - to treat a good heart as a dog's lung - to be ungrateful for a favour

leuhng mei - two flavours - two sexual services offered by a prostitute

leuhng tauh mh dou ngohng - unable to reach either shore - to be in a situation where one has to pick from two bad selections

leuhng tauh seh - two headed snake - someone who works for both sides

lihn faa - lotus flower - a tea bowl

lihng hei louh jou - separate stove - a new organisation set up to compete with existing one

lo heui tihn hoi - to take and dump in the sea - used to describe something useless, ex: "that should be dumped in the sea"

lo yeuhk - to collect medicine - to get ahold of drugs

loh baahk tauh - turnip - a japanese

lohk min - to lower face - to take away someone's face

lohng daam - wolf gut - fierce, brave

lohng sam gau fai - wolf heart dog lung, cold-blooded, ruthless

louh fu mh faat wai dong ngoh behng mau - mistake p***ive tiger for sick cat - underestimate enemy

louh wuh lei - old fox - a cunning criminal

louh bin gai - road side chicken - a prostitute who stands on the corner

luhng hau - dragon mouth - a pocket

lyun gung ha maih - bending bows and dry shrimps - to not be straight up

maa gat - double seven - the 14k triad society

maa yip - twin leaf - handcuffs

maah lau jing - monkey spirit - a naughty spirited youth

maah tung - horse bucket - toilet

man dou fan - even mosquitos are sleep - too late

man faahn - mosquito meal - blood

man fan - mosquitoes asleep - blood

mang saam meih - to pull the garment hem - to ask borrow money

mh haih maahng luhng mh gwo gong - non fierce dragon would not cross the river - someone who is coming will not come to make friends

mh ngaam ngaa - not right on the tooth - not get along well, incompatible

mh sai sam - no need investigate - definitely, without doubt

mh tang mh seui - neither soup nor water - not good enough, not of required standard

mh yahp laugh - not in the flow - not up to date

mihn cheng hau seuhn baahk - pale face, white lips - terrified

mihn daaih - face big - important, influental

mihn mung - foolish face - to lose face, to look foolish (ex: he make me foolish face!)

mihn mung sam jeng - face foolish, heart clever - someone who pretends to be stupid, but is actually smart and cunning

moh laahn jehk - to grind broken mat - to sit in one place for too long

mohk hauh hak sau - black hand behind the scenes - a person who controls everything from behind the scenes

mouh gwa - hairy melon - a frame-up, a set up

mouh ji yeuhk - dancing pill - MDMA/ecstasy

mouh fuh - no lucky charm - unlucky, hopeless situation

mouh gaai - no explanation - for no apparent reason

no big head, no big hat - do not overreach themselves, do not take more than you can handle

mouh ngaah louh fu - toothless tiger - a person or group who put on a big show, but are nothing in reality

mouh ni ji go jai chueng - no such song to sing - things are done differently, it cannot be done

nauh yih jai - to twist someone's ear - to bully someone

ngaauh chou - bite the gr*** - to smoke cannabis

ngaauh dau - bite the bowl - to smoke pipe

ngaauh fui - bite ashe - to take heroin

ngaauh wahn - to bite the clouds - to get high off opioids

ngauh fong - cowshed - a gambling den

ngohk yuh taahm - crocodile pool - a dangerous place, a situation where there are many dangers, "shark infested waters"

pit lat - to discard - to get rid of someone or something

pouh tauh - surface - turn up, appear

saa taai gihk - to practice tai chi - to delay the issue

saai hau seui - to waste saliva - wasted breath/words

saam geuk dang - three legged stool - an unreliable person

sam do do - more than one heart - to hesitate, to not be able to decide

sam syun sour heart - miserable, sad, upset

san hahn - body itchy - to can't help but make trouble, to be addicted to something

san hyut - new blood - a new recruit


 

Thanks for reading and being interested in Chinese roleplay.

Edited by Montreal
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BABY STRETCH

gives me a good idea of what to RP if I ever get around it thanks

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FroxZ

This is a blessing.

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Stamenko

The heckkkkk

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Steadman_Roach
Posted (edited)

Very good guide, Montreal. Very informative!

Edited by Steadman_Roach

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Ermetano

Great effort put in and great guide in general.
Good job.

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