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May 4, 2010

இ CHINESE WAY of GREETINGS! 吃飽沒?

When Chinese people meet each other on the streets or talk over the phone the first three sweet letter words would most likely be "吃飽沒?" [chī bǎo méi?] meaning 'have you eaten?' denoting "how are you?" For the very first time I can safely say all the different Chinese dialects would converge on this greetings using the three magical words, thus upholding the culture handed down from our ancestors. Thanks to Autumn Belle for highlighting this is a colloquial which is used mainly in Malaysia and Singapore. Ai Shiang just added in Vietnam as well, yes it may cover South East Asia too. Just learned a new idiom 民以食為天 [mín yǐ shí wéi tiān] literally means people accord food as sky. Food is the God of the people as food comes first, ethical niceties second.  

Let's take a trip back to late 80's in DownUnder to relate an incident of a friend who without much knowledge of the dinky di Aussie greetings when he first set foot there was greeted with "How's the going mate?". He replied "I'm going by bus!" and added "Soli you no call my name 'Mike'". Heard the eskimos' greetings is "How's your feet?". How true? Share my first experience while withdrawing money at an Aussie bank, the teller asked me "How do you like it?". I was huh! Dumbfolded for a moment, thinking she must be *siao* crazy, of course I like my money very much. Oops little did I know she was referring to the denomination of the money. Cultural shock! *Blush..paiseh paiseh*



The above is a movie clip from a Singaporean movie "Money Not Enough 2" where the mom suffers from Alzheimer's or in layman's term STML *short term memory loss* and keep repeating "Have you eaten?" 吃飽沒? [chak par boey?] in Hokkien with unlimited and unstoppable times to her eldest son Ah Hooi. Its a comedy film but there are also some sad moments where she was rotated by her three sons into taking care of her. Just a gentle reminder Mother's day is just around the corner. Here's wishing all mothers a Happy Mother's Day ~;)

So what do you eat? That goes without saying, RICE of course. Its the staple food for Asians and very commonly served in every meal without fail unless some may opt for change in appetite to go for bread or noodles once in a while. There is this two words with dual meaning 飯桶 [fàntǒng]. On the bright side a [fàntǒng] *rice bucket* is someone who must eat rice for each and every meal or for scolding someone [fàntǒng] *rice bucket* which is a fathead or good-for-nothing. To avoid any confusion 米 [mǐ] is uncooked rice and 飯 [fàn] is cooked rice ready to be eaten.  

Images courtesy of Mei Teng

Of late we often hear over the air our local DJ's trying to educate unreasonable and selfish drivers not to double park and this idiom would say it all. The saying goes "一種米養百種人" [yī zhǒng mǐ yǎng bǎi zhǒng rén] literally means 'one type rice feed hundred type people'. There is no differentiation of what type of rice to feed what kind of people be it the good, the bad and the ugly. There are bound to be stubborn people and it is inevitable we face adamant people who care only about their own convenience which is far beyond our control to change their attitude. So far my record is 'clean' and would like to keep it spotless. BTW do you double park hehe?


EM Banana saluting

65 Bunchesஇ:

Caroline Ng May Ling said...

roflmao!!!!

Caroline Ng May Ling said...

Money Not Enough 2 is a damn nice funny and touching movie to watch! :) I even bought the DVD of it. :)) that part really can make me LOL so hard!

Caroline Ng May Ling said...

btw, i dnt greet people i met with such question one lerr. lol. so weird.

reanaclaire said...

when my kids watched that part, they sure laughed very loud! i told them it is very common for elderly ppl to be like that.. (hinting first)

smallkucing said...

true..we chinese use to say eat ady or not whenever we meet or talk over the phone :p

Am guilty of that too :p

ang moh pulak seems to greet with "How's the weather".

Jingle said...

it is common joke,
old tradition is hard to change,
thanks for the presentations on rice...
Happy Tuesday!

Kelvin said...

Laugh everytime i watched that scene XD

Gratitude said...

I feel that the traditional greeting is a wonderful way to show concern, much more than just "how are you?" which often leads to one same reply. After all sustanence is the most important duty we owe to our body, right? ;)
+Ant+

Autumn Belle said...

I wonder whether this phrase is used outside M'sia and Singapore. One story of how this phrase originated came from my primary school teacher. She said in the old days, e.g. WW1, WW2 & Japanese occupation in Malaya, many people go hungry for days and asking 'Have you eaten' is a caring way to greet someone, i.e. same meaning of 'how are you'. A yes answer would give the assurance that all is well. It is regarded a blessing when you have a full stomach. I guess the younger generation will hear less of this phrase. The more common will be 'Ni How Ma' or How are you?

manglish said...

i think the expression will soon be outdated, food are abundance these days, i wonder what's next, in msia lar hahahahhaah

Ai Shiang said...

I've watched that video before. the mother sure drove me nuts as she kept asking her son, if he has eaten. :o)

I think people in south east asia greet people by asking if they've eaten. I just watched a vietnamese cooking show last night. They ask the same thing, 吃飽沒 when they see you.

stomach is more important huh? :♦)

bluedreamer27 said...

the movie clip is so funny... and than ks for sharing and adding another knowledge to us...

bluedreamer27 said...

by the way banana, we are about to start this week for the blog idol.. good luck

Bananazക said...

Caroline ക you are 1st fuyoh fast and furious in less than 6 mins after I posted. Like foong said 'coincidence?' haha. You belong to the Gen-Y or Z probably would not be using the "old stuff" anymore, but you have not heard of your old folks or relatives saying them? Wassup wassup!!! ~;) tQ.

Bananazക said...

reanaclaire ക right, sure to laugh one haha. tQ

Bananazക said...

smallkucing ക yeah yeah ang moh would talk about the weather. ~;) tQ.

Bananazക said...

Jingle ക wonder you still hear them in the States? Have a nice Tuesday too. tQ

Bananazക said...

Kelvin ക don't laugh too much we will get old one day haha..~;). tQ

Bananazക said...

Gratitude ക Spot-on! Yes one of the most basic needs is nourishment for the body. tQ

Bananazക said...

Autumn Belle ക Great thankz for sharing have added in your comments in the post. tQ

Bananazക said...

manglish ക True when food is everywhere people take things for granted. The new generation have not gone through the tough times of eating solely tapioca only haha. tQ

Bananazക said...

Ai Shiang ക thankz agree guess the older folks all over may say them. Have added your comments. tQ

Bananazക said...

bluedreamer27 ക guess you don't need to understand the spoken words action will show you the whole story. Btw do you all say 'have you eaten' in your country?

Yo looking forward for the Blog Idol to roll. What are we supposed to do? I mean besides praying hard what else? haha..tQ

CH Voon said...

i dont think his sentences is correct. 一種米養百種人

it is only apply to asian people.

but in europe, it should be like this

"one type of potatoes 養百種 white people"

Tekkaus said...

Hahaha :D Yes, we like to eat rice. And it is funny that you take excerpt from Money Not Enough 2! :p

HappySurfer said...

I think older people are inclined to use this as a way of showing concern as well as a conversation starter just like people in the west comment about the weather to start off.

I thought I left a comment earlier. Oh well.. So, have you eaten?

Wenny Yap said...

I cried when I watch "Money Not Enough 2" ... so sad coz it hit too close to home.

Anyway, I abhor people who double-park but still I had to do it sometimes when urgency arise. The difference with me is that I make sure I'm near so that others don't have to honk or wait.

fufu said...

i gotta eat rice everyday =p am i a 饭桶??

QuaChee said...

id like to go with Ni Hao as greetings. realised thats more china style than malaysia - now that uve mentioned on the chi bao le mei you.

double park - use to hate them double parkers. but im joining the gang now lah. though not far far one lah. just like if i take 5 mins to run up to office :D

[SK] said...

hmmm, i think i didn't practise asking "吃飽沒", but would directly ask "好嗎" instead.. maybe eating is just something so sinful for fat people like me, hehehe~~ :p

[SK] said...

hehe, luckily i'm not as dumb as you.. i can figure out "how do you like it" if i'm in the bank.. is there any other way else to ask how would you like your denominations?? hmmm~~ :p

[SK] said...

money not enough?? errr, i only watch the first one, and i didn't watch the second one.. is that nice?? but i guess it's still something nonsense right??

[SK] said...

hehe, luckily i'm not a fans of rice, that's why i'm not a 飯桶.. i prefer noodles more, haha :D

foongpc said...

I love that movie cos it's so funny! And that scene yes, so damn funny! Could not stop laughing!

foongpc said...

I never ask ppl "吃飽沒". At most I would say "ni hao ma?" : )

foongpc said...

I am not a fàntǒng. I can go without rice for days! No problem for me at all. Haha!

foongpc said...

I never double park cos I hate to inconvenience others. So far I am a pretty good panda at the wheels : )

Bananazക said...

CH Voon ക very creative with your idiom on "one type of potatoes 養百種 white people". haha what will Obama eat then? tQ

Bananazക said...

Tekkaus ക "吃飽沒?" lets go to your fave chicken rice at Jonker St haha. tQ

Bananazക said...

HappySurfer ക me not yet 'chak' let's go..oh you left a comment earlier maybe blogger.com too hungry 'chak' your comment.haha tQ

Bananazക said...

Wenny Yap ക "$ not enough 2" is simple movie but very down to earth showing real life cases of what is actually happening.
If double park when there is no more parking lot available and within your range can see and hear still ok. I have seen quite a lot of people double park and yet there are ample lots vacant that's too much. tQ

Bananazക said...

fufu ക that's not called 饭桶 but big big big 饭桶 haha. You cook everyday if not you would be eating rice outside in restaurant would it be expensive coz can't find kopitiam like in Msia selling economy *chap fan* rice style? tQ

Bananazക said...

Quachee ക Ni hao! 吃飽沒? is spoken locally considered colloquial. there are more formal way of saying which as a Bananaz would not comprehend and not comfortable to use them. They say something like 'have you used your meal?' in a more polite way as compared to 'have you eaten?'. I love it I'm learning day after day. tQ

Bananazക said...

[SK] Nei hao? *Canto* I also hiao *gatal* haha.

Never in Msian bank a teller ask you how do you like it?. They just give $ and we take $ then cabut. Yeah for that moment blur blur should have said "show me the money fast fast don't talk 3 talk 4" haha.

'$ not enough 2' is kinda funny but down to earth showing the real life happening how the sons & daughters and daughter-in-laws treat their mom.

Only mainly older folks can't 'live' a day without rice. Heard lots of complaints from them when they don't get to eat rice for a day in Europe or States during tours betul betul fantong. :P tQ

Bananazക said...

foongpc ക you are not a fàntǒng but 'lup sup tong'(canto), whack everything you see on the table. haha.

Like the movie too, nice to reflect on the true life which is happening in front of our eyes.

Well done panda! pretty clean record, keep it up! tQ

Mei Teng said...

Haha...I like your dumbfounded response when the aussie teller asked how do you like it? Loads of dollar notes and in bigger denomination please! ;)

Thanks for featuring my photos.

Mei Teng said...

Money No Enough 2 was a good watch. I didn't catch the first one.

Bananazക said...

Mei Teng ക sometimes mind can go blank for a moment. Like my former boss who did a presentation in Spore when one audience asked how would the company go about with MAS. In his mind he was thinking what a dumb question what has MAS got to do with the financial aspect. Lucky he was fast enough MAS is Monetary Authority of Singapore and not our national carrier. Close shave! tQ.

Bananazക said...

Mei Teng ക '$ Not Enough 1' was more about how the 3 sons build their career. Can remember this part well. During the one of the funeral the mourners did not cry or sad at all but when news came about that Princess Diana was killed in a road accident all them cried aloud like babies. ~;) tQ.

Pete said...

Chiak pa boey? I don't double park but would park further away if I can. Don't mind walking because it is good exercise. Gotta burn some calories! LOL!

Bananazക said...

Chiak par liao kamsia. How's the going? You going by walk? So you've got extra energy after eating the durian enough to burn while walking far haha. tQ

Merryn said...

Bananaz, dah makan? :) I don't drive so I don't park, no double parking lor like dat :D

What was for dinner? For breakfast, I love best is banana and white bread. Eat it like hot dog. Serious you know, not joking. I've love it that way for a very long time dy :) The sweetness of the banana combine with the saltiness of the bread is simply awesome :D

Bananazക said...

Merryn ക oh dah makaned tQ. oh really bananaz with roti will try one day. thankz.

Andrea said...

Hahaha, i thought when i am about to post that you have really lots of commenters here, more than 50, and then realized more of them are yours reapeatedly thanking and replying to each one individually. You also got me there. But your experiences wiht Australia had clones here. It was my first abroad and i have a few blunders also. Then there was a joke about an Indonesian studying GS here, because many of them do.
An Oz visiting scientist asked the Indonesian, "Did you come today (to die)in Los Baños"? The Indonesian replied "No, no, no, no, i come here to study!!!!"

By the way you should see my ornamental banana in my older post maybe 3rd from last. hahaha

Bananazക said...

Andrea ക thankz for dropping by used to reply in one comment that for a change try different style. I didnt come back to die..hahaha Visited your blog and saw the Musa ornata post, you've got nice pix and love your most recent ginger flower so awesome. tQ.

MODERN ROBINSON CRUSOE said...

Let's take a trip back to late 80's in DownUnder to relate an incident of a friend who without much knowledge of the dinky di Aussie greetings when he first set foot there was greeted with "How's the going mate?". He replied "I'm going by bus!" and added "Soli you no call my name 'Mike'". Heard the eskimos' greetings is "How's your feet?". How true? Share my first experience while withdrawing money at an Aussie bank, the teller asked me "How do you like it?". I was huh! Dumbfolded for a moment, thinking she must be *siao* crazy, of course I like my money very much. Oops little did I know she was referring to the denomination of the money. Cultural shock! *Blush..paiseh paiseh*


~ tHIS IS FUNNY...lol...

tq

Bananazക said...

MODERN ROBINSON CRUSOE ക thankz have a good day *die* haha.tQ

suituapui said...

Hate it when you're having breakfast, enjoying your noodles...and somebody sees you and asks, "Eat noodles kah?" or when you're in the cineplex...and before the show starts, somebody you know comes in and he asks, "See movie kah?" Grrrrrr........ LOL!!!

Bananazക said...

suituapui ക Yeah yeah yeah! Exactly have thought about it too. Why does this happen just everywhere?. In the toilet they asked just like what you said "you come see movie? Feel like answering "No lah came here for kopi!" but sorry lah these words just can't leave my lips not nice. *shake head*. tQ

Pak Idrus said...

Well, Sudah Makan?. That is what most of my Chinese friends of my generation say whenever we meet. I think it is better than saying How are you. Have a nice day.

wenn said...

I do double park but I'm at the wheel waiting..

RoseBelle said...

LOL!! We do greet each other with "have you eaten yet?" This confuses non-Chinese. I used to work with black, Spanish, and white people and they thought it was strange that we always cared for our stomach. I explained to many of my colleagues that it's how Chinese greets one an other. They still didn't get it. Oh well, it's our custom.

Funny incident at the Aussie bank. That's how tellers ask you in the U.S. too. One time, a teller asked me the same question and I thought she was asking "how are you?" and so I answered, "fine thank you. And yourself?" She smiled and asked a different question, "do you want it in 10's or 20s". She probably though I didn't understand her.

Bananazക said...

Pak Idrus ക newer generation tend to have different approach nowadays. We cari makan so obviously should concern whether one has eaten or not after a hard day's work. Thankz for dropping by. Have a great weekend. tQ.

Bananazക said...

wenn ക that's different that's waiting not double park :). Have seen a two way traffic road with both sides double parked leaving merely one way, oh havoc horns were honking and its total chaos. tQ

Bananazക said...

RoseBelle ക Chinese saying "eat is bigger than sky" haha. First visit into States at a fast food chain lady asked me "to go, to stay?". I said "no no 1 coke with fries please"..Back home in Malaysia we say "take away, eat in" haha. tQ

 
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