|Life in Hong Kong
|While the China/Hong Kong section in The World according to Charlie deals more with politics, this Life in Hong Kong section will deal more with the facts and foibles of daily life in this Special Administrative Region, as we're now labeled. The graphic for this section is the bauhinia flower, the post-handover symbol of HK which graces our coins and flag.
A guide to some British-isms that sound especially strange to American ears:
- hire (verb) -- to rent
Example: "The team hired the municipal football field for their practices."
- diary (noun) -- an appointment book, a schedule book
Example: "He missed the meeting because he had lost his diary with the meeting dates in it."
- hot up (verb) -- to heat up, to warm up, to intensify
Example: "Already the competition in football's international division is beginning to hot up."
- diversion (noun) -- a detour, alternative path
Example: "The diversion led the driver through many unfamiliar streets and he eventually became lost."
- boots (noun) -- sports shoes, tennis shoes
Example: "The player didn't even bother to take off his football boots after the disappointing game."
- wellingtons (noun) -- rubber boots, galoshes
Example: "He found out his old wellingtons were worn out and leaked badly."
- tailback (noun) -- a traffic jam, a line of cars
Example: "The two-car wreck caused a four kilometer tailback."
- dear (adjective) -- expensive, costly
Example: "Don't buy that one. It's too dear."
- fetch (verb) -- to get, retrieve
Example: "He went to the airport to fetch his mother who is arriving this afternoon."
- custom (noun) -- business, commerce
Example: "The store owners found their custom had definitely diminished due to the riots."
- trainers (noun) -- tennis shoes, sports shoes
Example: "The thief was described as wearing blue jeans, a yellow T-shirt, and trainers."
- hoarding (noun) -- a sign, esp. an advertizing poster
Example: "The large hoardings along the road are really ugly."
- estate (noun) -- a group of high-rise public housing buildings; a housing project
Example: "We live in one of the older estates in Kowloon."
- shroff (noun) -- a parking lot cashier
Example: "Please pay the shroff before claiming your car." (Sign in car parking lot.)
- gob (verb and noun) -- to spit, expectorate, especially in a loud and obvious way, with a lot of hacking; the liquid residue left by the action
Example: I got gobbed from the upper deck of the double-decker bus.
- subway (noun) -- a pedestian underpass
Example: I rode the MTR (subway train in USA) to Mongkok, and then walked through the subway (pedestrian underpass) to the theatre on the other side of the street.
- full stop (noun) -- a period (punctuation mark)
Example: The grammar lesson taught the students how to use a comma and a full stop in a sentence.
- ill (adjective) -- injured (as opposed to "sick" in American usage)
Example: A 20-month old baby was buried today. Her mother is still in hospital, seriously ill from the Northern Ireland bomb explosion which killed her daughter.
- sit (verb) -- to take, participate in a school examination
Example: Although 130,000 HK Form 5 students will sit the exam, there are places for only 24,000 students in Form 6.
- grift (noun, verb) -- Methods use to swindle or con people
Example: When it came to grift, he had no peers.
- rates (noun) -- taxes
Example: I got my rates bill in the mail today.
- kit (noun) -- a set of clothes, an outfit to be worn
Example: Put on your swimming kit. We're going to the beach!
- dipped (adjective) -- lowered, not raised
Example: Use dipped headlights (Sign at highway tunnel entrance)
- paddle (verb) -- to splash in or play in water, as in a fountain
Example: No paddling allowed.
- podium (noun) -- a concrete courtyard, raised, with two or three levels of parking or shops under it, situated in the middle of several high-rise housing blocks which surround it
Example: The residents found the body of the man who had fallen from the 23rd floor on the podium.
- crisps (noun) -- potato chips
Example: He had a Coke and crisps while watching TV.
- career (verb) -- to travel in a wild, uncontrolled fashion; to careen
Example: The car careered wildly down the hillside.