June 1, 2014

‘fuck your mother’

‘Fuck your mother’ was an insult very popular among the Chinese. Not to be taken literally that one has taken carnal interest in your mother, but it is meant to be as offensive as an insult could be, because in the Chinese culture, mothers are held in the highest regards and are sacred. So, the insult ‘fuck your mother’ can be said to be the worst that it can ever be, and shouldn’t be used at all unless ‘necessary’.

Anyway, with the advent of technology and breeding of disrespect amongst the young people, the term ‘fuck your mother’ has evolved into a colloquially fun to use phrase. Young people use it to express themselves more often than they actually respect their own mothers. They use it to express disbelief… “Kanninia leh! How could that even happen??” (that was ‘fuck your mother’ in Hokkien). They use it to express anger… “Tiu nia ma chow hai aa! I can’t even access that damn website!” (as if the server has a mother, that was ‘fuck your mother’s stinking cunt’ in Cantonese). Over the decades, the insult has lost its potent, and became as harmless as ‘fuck’ itself… or so I thought.

Apparently in some dialect, as I have learned recently, ‘fuck your mother’ still delivers the kind of blow that it was meant to be. As bizarre as this may sound, if you were to say ‘fuck your mother’ in the Teochew dialect (‘puniabo’), people will get fucking mad at you (but is totally ok if you say it in other dialects/languages, even though they fucking meant the same thing). It’s like saying ‘let’s have lunch’ in English vs Spanish have total different meanings… if you get what I mean.

I discovered this when one of my buddies suddenly stopped talking to me, when I used this ‘puniabo’ term on him. It was used that time to ridicule him for not being able to join us for a boozing session over some trivial matters. It wasn’t meant as an insult, but more like calling him a pussy, you know, as a jest (Hokkien / Cantonese are trite in usage, so I got creative to use Teochew). Little did I know he was deeply offended and was pissed at me. Then I did what I had to do, to apologize to him and found out that he was pissed that I had used the term ‘puniabo’, which is ‘fuck your mother’ in Teochew (or something).

“Sorry dude for using that phrase, I didn’t know it’s offensive” [in that context]
“It’s alright. Don’t use it again. It’s not nice insulting people’s mother”
“Isn’t that the same thing as ‘kaninia’ in Hokkien?”
“No it isn’t”
“It’s still ‘fuck your mother’, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is. But it’s different.”
“Why is it different?”
“Because ‘puniabo’ is offensive. ‘Kaninia’ is not.”
“But both are the same – fuck your mother. Why are they different?”
“Hard to explain, but they’re different.”
“So you’re ok if I say ‘fuck your mother’ in Hokkien?”
“Yes I’m fine with that, but don’t say it in Teochew”
“Ok, fuck your mother”

Strange Chinese culture.

michaelooi  | enlightenments  | 

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