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Email conversations between two ‘Lao-Hokkien’ July 2, 2006

Posted by kentneo in Memories.

Text by Victor Yue & S W Koh, 5 Sept 2006 

Hi Koh,
Ha, interesting accent. Actually, according to this
storyteller from Xiamen (unfortunately he had to return
ahead of schedule), he was telling us that there are three
major accent of the Hokkien (minnan uay) – the Quan Zhou,
Zhang Zhou and Xiamen. I suppose Xiamen Hokkien is like the
official Hokkien (like Hoch Deutsch in Germany and the Tokyo
Japanese). (^^)

So, the Ti, Too, Ter are the same word for pigs. (^^) Don’t
ask me which is which. I have forgotten. Tua Po Hokkien is
even worse. We got mixed up with Teochew and Hokkien, and
hence beh, buay could also be muay. Try fish. (^^)

So, actually, it is fun to talk to the sua teng Hokkien (the
pure ones) and try to establish where their ancestors came
from .. and maybe, we could know the Hokkien accent being

On Sai Kong, I heard from my mum that there was once a
family living in Turn-Tiam-Hung (Craig Rd) but I cannot
remember. Probably too young. The Sai Kong is about her age
or younger. I know of a few Sai Kong through the temple
events I went to take photos. They know the nosey cameraman
is around capturing them in action. (^^)

I am not too sure if Ao Ber Kong (or Ao Uay Kong) is the
Kitchen God, that is, Zhao Kun Kong. In the old days, there
are less statues and at best, it could be just the words in
glass frames. Ronni has a very nice collection of glass
painted Deities. (^^)

Are you familiar with the Shunfu area? Some time ago,
someone from Malaysia who say my post on the Chinese
cemetery (in yesterday.sg) asked me if I could help find her
grandfather’s grave. So far, no luck. Checking through the
National Archives was a tough job for the eyes. (^^)



S W Koh replies to Victor Yue:

The rural hokkien in Singapore is basically Chuanchew (Quanzhou)
Annkuay (Anxi) and Nam-uar (Nan-an), because the occupants are
mainly immigrants from these 2 counties. The urban hokkien is a mix
of accents, from Chiangchew, Amoy, Teochew, Chuanchew etc…Ber
(Chuanchew), Buay (Chiangchew), Muay (Chiangchew Zhao-an), Beh (Amoy
and part of Chuanchew) can be heard in a same urban community, but
the rural will usually just say Ber. Try asking “sold already?”
and “have not sold out yet” in your form of Hokkien. 😛 Buay Ber?
Buay Buay? Buay Beh?, A Ber Buay; A Buay Buay, A Beh Buay…

Turn Tiam Hung is not far from Club Street. Wonder if that is the
family of Sai Kongs?

Ao Ber Kong is differently not Zao Koon Kong. There is not sign or
statue. Just stick the incense at the window side. No offerings
during normal days.

Shunfu area was named “Hai Lam Swa” in the past, which means the
Hainanese graveyards. I suppose the person from malaysia asking you
to help is a Hainanese? Those graves were exhumed ages ago. Doubt
there is any clues left behind. If the person is a hokkien, then
should be adam road area. Those graves along adam road are all
Hokkien graves. That area used to be called “Tan Gu Long”, and part
of it is owned by the Ong association if I am not wrong. Into bukit
brown is the peranakan grave and some rich people grave. I wanted to
do research on these graves, but because health has not been good,
that is why I never started on it at all. If anyone of you has the
energy, please go and do some research there. Those are also
precious heritage, with loads of historical values! It wun be long
before they will be exhumed too.



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