December 18, 2007

Fight over the Bill

It is a very common custom for Chinese people to fight over the bill at the end of a meal. Some people do it sincerely and others fake it. At the advanced level, you just cannot tell the difference.

Here is how you would do it. Listen to these lines towards the end of the song "Yum Dom Cha" (Drink some tea) from the Chinese-American rap artist ABC Jin.

The last line "dang2 ngo5 bei2 laa1" is the key phrase.



Transcript (Tranliteration) / Jyutping / Translation

(Hey),你(You)(Not)(To be)[Particle]!
wai3 nei5 m4 hai6 aa3
Hey, no way
(you are not)!

(You) (Not) (To be) (Find)(Argument)(To quarrel)[Particle]
nei5 m4 hai6 wan2 gaau1 aai3 aa3
You are not going to start an argument, are you?

(You) (Also)(Want)(Find) (Argument) (To quarrel)
jam2 caa4 nei5 dou1 jiu3 wan2 gaau1 aai3
You want to argue with me even over a meal?

wai3 dang2 ngo5 bei2 laa1
Hei, let me pay!

Useful Vocabulary
(jaam2 caa4) - Dim sum meal. Literally means "drink tea".
嗌 (wan2 gaau1 aai1) -Find things to argue.
(bei2) - Give


Marcelo said...

Hi Edwin,
Do you know where I can find the lyrics of this song?

Edwin said...

Hi Marcelo,
Try here:

It does not have the translation though.

unzum said...

Thanks for this entry, I really like rap/R&B and I think this song is great! I listened to the YouTube video a couple of times and now I've got the song stuck in my head.

By the way, the chorus goes:
飲啖茶 食個包
Drink a mouthful of tea
Eat a piece of bun (dim sum)

That's the literal translation right?

Anyway, thanks for this recommendation, I think I've found an artist I like!

Edwin said...

Hi Unzum,
Yes, you are correct. This line actually came from Stephen Chow many years ago in a TV series.

The original usage is for peacemaker to neutralize a disrupt, in which he would say, "let's drink some tea and eat a bun. Then we can talk about the issue peacefully".

Mike B said...

I've listened to the recording carefully, and the singer seems to be saying 'léih' rather than 'néih' for 你, which would make sense since the /n/~/l/ merger is nearly complete in HK. I know some language purists insist on maintaining this distinction, but you can't stop language change.