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Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
/hah-bis, ˈhɑbɪs/ int.
[Mal., done with, all used up, finished off (Wilkinson);
ended (of work, money, tale, year, study), done, finished, settled (Winstedt)]
An exclamation expr. that some thing or
situation cannot be rectified or undone. Compare
1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 habis.. – finished, die.
hae ko var. of Hay Ko.
hae mee var. of Hay Mee.
haebee var. of hay bee.
/hah, hɑː/ int.
Conveying emphasis or expr. a request for the clarification of something
just said. Compare
2000 Kelvin Tong The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 23 November, 9 How come Singapore movie got funny English, .. hah? 2000 Cheong Suk-wai The Straits Times (Life!), 25 November, L12 Any grandchildren, hah? 2001 Jeffrey Low The Straits Times, 9 April, S4 Hah? What? Blackout? 2006 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 26 February. Eh, how come you never reply my last e-mail, ha? 2006 Jocelyn Khoo Today (from Todayonline.com), 4 October. [S]houldn’t the staff.. ask, “Pardon, could you say that again?” rather than “Huh? Huh? What?” 2011 Nicholas Yong The Straits Times (Life), 25 July, C5 When dealing with service staff in Singapore, be they waiters, salesmen or bus drivers, I am resigned to hearing them utter certain phrases. For example, there is the classic “I don’t know” and “hah?”..
/hı-nah-neez (-nə-), ˈhʌɪnɑˌniːz
n. & a. [Hn. (?)
海 hai sea +
南 nan south; Mand. Hǎinán + Eng. –ese]
A n. 1 An inhabitant of
Hainan, a province on the southern tip of China, or a descendant thereof living
in another part of the world. 2 The Chinese dialect of Hainan,
a variant of Mǐn Nán [Mand. 闽南 Southern
Min: Mǐn another name of Fujian Province + nán south], which is spoken in Singapore. B a. Of or pertaining to
Hainan, its culture, and its inhabitants or persons who trace their ancestry
A 1 1999 Lynn Pan (ed.) The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas 203 Status distinctions apart, Chinese groups divided along speech lines. In his 1848 article, Seah [Eu Chin], a Teochiu speaker himself, named five other speech groups: Hokkien, Cantonese (also called ‘Macao Chinese’), Hakka and Hainanese. 204 In the 1848 estimates, most of the 700 Hainanese were mainly general agriculturalists. When their numbers grew, Hainanese also provided catering and personal services in European establishments during the colonia era; later they became predominant in Singapore’s catering and baking business. They also ran coffee-shops, as did those from Fuzhou, who arrived in significant numbers only from the early 20th century on. 2 2005 Colin Chee The Electric New Paper, 12 July. In our three-storey SIT (Singapore Improvement Trust) flat, we had a Punjabi family above us, a Malay family two doors away, Indian and Eurasian families in the next block of flats, and Chinese families speaking in Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew and Hainanese. B 2005 Peh Shing Huei The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 13 October. [F]amiliar local fare like Hainanese chicken rice .. will be available. 2008 Huang Lijie The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 7 December, 28 Her late father was a Hainanese cook working for diplomats stationed here. He excelled in cooking Hainanese food and was equally adept at Western dishes. He would whip up tasty treats such as Hainanese braised duck and mutton soup for special family occasions.. 2010 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 25 July, 21 Hainanese people come from Hainan island, which is China’s southern-most and smallest province. The Singapore Hainan Society estimates that there are about 200,000 Hainanese people here.
Hainanese chicken rice n. [see
2005 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 31 July. Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice .. This is the stall that had American TV chef Anthony Bourdain and Australian celebrity chef Tetsuya Wakuda raving. Madam Foo Kui Lian, 56, learnt to cook from her late brother, a hawker who had perfected the recipe over many years. She is fussy about the type of grain she uses, insisting on the same grade and batch of Thai fragrant rice every time. As a result, her rice is plump, velvety and not too oily. She only uses chickens heavier than 2kg, to ensure the texture is smooth and tender. 2005 Peh Shing Huei The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 13 October. [F]amiliar local fare like Hainanese chicken rice .. will be available. 2006 Sarah Ng The Sunday Times, 1 January, 5 The chef [Steven Low] who helped create the famous Chatterbox Hainanese chicken rice has been retrenched from the Meritus Mandarin Hotel, and will open his own stall serving the famous dish. .. It will come with silky poached chicken pieces on the bone, clear soup, vegetables, garlic chilli, ginger and soya sauce. 2010 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 25 July, 20 [W]hat about Hainanese chicken rice and pork chop? Mr Tan Yoke Han, 67, president of the Singapore Hainan Society, says those dishes have been localised. The chilli and garlic sauce that is served with chicken rice is unique to this part of the world.
Hainanese pork chop
n. [Eng.] A pork chop that is breaded and fried, and served in a tomato
2010 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 25 July, 20 The ubiquitous Hainanese pork chop in tomato gravy served with fries or potato slices.. was created by Hainanese cooks who worked for the British army and in hotel kitchens and it is an evolution of Western-style dishes.
See quot. 2003.
2003 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times, 5 October, L39 What exactly is Hainanese steamboat? Invented by immigrants to Singapore in the 1950s, it uses clear chicken stock as soup. It also offers a heavy selection of seafood (fish maw, sea cucumber, cuttlefish, cockles) and beef meat and tripe to dip with. But.. the highlight of Hainanese steamboat is its chilli sauce. Made from chilli, ginger, garlic, soup plum and just the right dollop of fermented beancurd, the steamboat is not worth having without it.
yong tau fu /hahk-kah yong tow foo,
jɒŋ taʊ fuː/
Hakka the Hakka people, prob. so called by the Cantonese who arrived
earlier in South China, and style themselves Puntis (hak a guest,
visitor, stranger; Hakka + ka the
family, home; people (MacIver); Mand.
jiā family; household
Yong Tau Fu that is stuffed with minced
pork instead of fish in the traditional Hakka style.
[2010 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 25 July, 20 Famous [Hakka] dishes: .. yong tau foo, beancurd stuffed with minced pork..]
a. [Mal. < Arab.
حلال halāl, permitted, lawful, legitimate, of
an animal – food that Islam allows its votaries to eat (Wilkinson);
lawful (of food), permitted by Islamic law (Winstedt)] Of food,
permitted by Muslim law for consumption,
2004 Vivi Zainol The Straits Times, 5 March, H14 ‘Halal’ in Arabic means ‘allowed’ or ‘lawful’, and every Muslim must consume halal food and drink, avoiding non-halal pork and alcohol in any form. Food items like ice-cream, chocolate and cakes must also not contain non-halal ingredients such as lard, gelatine and emulsifiers of animal origin. And meat must be slaughtered according to Islamic laws, a method that ensures that blood, a carrier of disease, is drained from it. 2006 Sarah Ng The Sunday Times, 8 January, 8 The dish also has its share of Muslim fans. Said a housewife.. “I hope Mr [Steven] Low will make it halal so that the Muslim people can eat it too. Chicken rice is our national dish.” 2006 Lim Wei Chean & Lee Hui Chieh (quoting Ilan Ben-Dove) The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 11 January. The process of creating the halal meat is very similar, practically the same for kosher meat in the Jewish religion.. 2006 Lim Wei Chean The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 17 March. Firm eyes bite of $400b global halal market with pau, dimsum [title].. A Singaporean food manufacturer is tapping into the growing multi-billion-dollar halal food market with chicken pau or buns and chicken dumplings. KG Food.. was set up in 2002 to develop halal dimsum and pau that Muslims can tuck into. .. Exporting mainly to Indonesia now, the company is also eyeing the halal market in the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe. 2006 Aminah Muhammad Today (from Todayonline.com), 23 March. Currently, our hospitality sector lacks the understanding of halal certification and the importance attached to it. Just compare the number of Arab tourists in Kuala Lumpur as compared to Singapore. One pulling factor is that halal food is readily available there, even in American coffee chain Starbucks. In Singapore, many hotels do not appreciate the need for separate kitchen areas for halal and non-halal food. Non-Muslims should know the difference between proper halal certification and the “No Pork No Lard sold here” labels commonly used here. 2010 Hoe Pei Shan The Straits Times, 24 July, A10 [T]here is no distinction made between halal and non-halal drugs in Singapore.
n. [Eng. transl. of Hk.
2006 Neil Humphreys Weekend Today (from Todayonline.com), 16 September. Grown men only cry in coffee shops when they lose their “half balls” after EPL [English Premier League] matches.
half past six a. [Eng., origin
uncertain; poss. f. the appearance of a flaccid penis: see quot. 2006]
Careless, shoddy; incompetent, screwed up.
2006 Carolyn Hong (quoting Mahathir Mohamad) The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 June. Tun Dr Mahathir described the [Malaysian] government as ‘half-past six’ with no guts after it scrapped a project to build a bridge to replace the Causeway because it could not secure the agreement of Singapore. 2006 Neil Humphreys Final Notes from a Great Island 16–17 “.. When your son makes you proud, it’s the best. When your son is an idiot, it’s the worst. Don't have a ‘half-past six’ son.” I adore that expression. A popular, and unique, Singlish turn of phase, it loosely means “incompetent” or “screwed up”, but “half-past-six” is much more creative. Its origin is supposedly sexual and refers to the angle of the penis. Naturally, half-past-six is droopy, while midnight is impressive. 2015 Jessica Lim The Sunday Times (SundayLife!), 12 April, 14 At first I think: “Are you calling her half past six?” – the Singlish phrase used to describe someone who is “half-baked” or incompetent.
ham shap /hum shup, hʌm ʃʌp/ a. [Cant. 咸 hám saltish taste, bitter, brackish + 湿 shap shady and wet; low-lying grounds (Eitel); Mand. xián salty + shī wet (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] Lecherous, lewd.
n. [< Mand. 哈密瓜 Hāmì guā Hami melon (a
variety of muskmelon): Eng. (Hanyu Pinyin) transliteration of Hāmì Hami (Kumul
or Qumul in the Uyghur language), an oasis and city in Xinjiang (Sinkiang)
Autonomous Region, China + Eng. tr. of guā any kind of melon or gourd (Comp. Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] A variety of muskmelon, Cucumis melo var. saccharinus, with an orange or greenish-white skin
and sweet, crunchy flesh.
2008 Tan Hsueh Yun The Straits Times (Urban), 31 October, 27 It is Hami melon season and time once again to relish the sweet, crunchy fruit. My colleagues and I have been chomping happily on these large beauties, grown in the desert in Iran. Unlike the pale orange Hami melons from China, these ones are white with a hint of green. They are juicy and sweet and are excellent when eaten cold.
v. [< Eng.
hammer to strike forcefully, to beat up colloq.] Put
pressure on; make trouble for.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 307 hammer. To be hammered is to be put under pressure by those on top. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 42 Hammer. To pressure someone or make trouble for him.
A cellular phone, a mobile telephone.
2001 Neil Humphreys Notes from an Even Smaller Island 83 During the movie that he had just watched, the lawyer had asked one of the gang to stop talking on his handphone as it was disturbing and irritating the rest of the audience. The whole of Singapore, including me, applauded the lawyer for his actions. This anti-social handphone behaviour is driving the country crazy. 2004 Janice Wong (quoting Mohamed Salleh) Streats, 1 March, 10 A handphone means less privacy. The phone rings often enough in the office. There is nothing so important that cannot wait for three or four hours. 2004 Mohammad Sarbudeen The Straits Times, 21 April, H1 I only took my cordless phone and my handphone with me. 2004 C.M. Koh, The Straits Times, 30 April, 34 [advertisement] ‘Over the last 16 years, I’ve changed more than 10 handphones. But I’ve always stayed with SingTel.’ Mr Koh was one of the first owners of the handphone when SingTel introduced it in 1988. .. Now matter how many handphones he may have changed, Mr Koh never doubted that SingTel would always be there for him.
hantam var. of Hentam.
[Hk. (?)] Arrogant, cocky, smart-alecky.
2002 Suzanne Sng (quoting Allan Wu) ‘I Come Across as Haolian’ The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 14 April, P22 ‘I come across as haolian, cocky, arrogant. I won’t say I’m not.’ Haolian is a Hokkien phrase used to describe someone who likes to brag. .. ‘It’s a big role, huh?’ he bursts out laughing, looking haolian and utterly pleased. 2003 Suzanne Sng The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 14 December, L8 The Haolian (Hokkien for show-off) afflicts both men and women. The female married Haolian’s greatest joy is boasting to the world about her son’s excellent PSLE results, her husband’s new Mercedes SLK and her own accomplishments – real, exaggerated or imaginary. The male Haolian brags about the hole-in-one he scored last weekend and his firm’s latest million-dollar deals. 2004 Wong Kim Hoh (quoting Adam Khoo), The Sunday Times, 16 May, 41 Q: You have no compunction about declaring yourself a ‘self-made multi-millionaire’ to the press. Have you been accused of being how lian (arrogant in Hokkien)? A: .. I’ve never been accused of being how lian as I’ve constantly emphasised the fact that I say it not to impress people but to impress upon them that if an average joe like me can do it, then anyone can! 2008 ‘Silaterangy’ The Straits Times (Home), 2 September, B1 It’s ‘seow’ and/or ‘hao lian’ to speak high-class English at the market or among close friends.
har gau /hahr gow,
虾 har prawn, shrimp + 饺 káu sweet rice cakes, meat
dumplings (Eitel); Mand.
prawn, shrimp + jiǎo dumpling (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] A dimsum (savoury
Cantonese-style snack) consisting of prawn or shrimp in a white,
semi-translucent skin; a shrimp dumpling.
2006 Teo Pau Lin & Eunice Quek The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 24 June. Staples like har gao (prawn dumplings, $2.80) and char siew pau ($2.80) are made fresh every day. .. Signature dishes: Har gao, siew mai, char siew puff and egg tarts.. 2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 15 October. Shrimp dumpling (har gau): This dumpling tests the skill of the chef. The skin must be thin and springy, the shrimp sweet and crunchy, and the taste must be subtle yet not bland.
har lok /hahr lok, hɑː lɒk̚/ n. [Cant. há a shrimp, a prawn + lok to roast; to burn (Eitel); Mand. 虾烙 xiālào: xiā prawn, shrimp + lào bake in a pan (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] A Chinese dish consisting of prawns or shrimp with a sweet and savoury sauce flavoured with chilli and tomato sauce.
a. [Mal. haram illicit, forbidden by Islamic laws; prohibited (Ridhwan)
< Arab. حَرَام ḥaram,
lit. (that which is) prohibited or unlawful; that which a man defends and fights
for, such as his family; a sacred place, sanctuary, enclosure; the women’s part of
the house; wives, women < Arab. حرم
ḥarama to prohibit,
forbid, make unlawful (OED)]
Of food, etc.: prohibited by Islamic law for consumption, etc.;
2010 Hoe Pei Shan The Straits Times, 24 July, A10 The Health Sciences Authority will be looking into a meningitis vaccine, amid concerns by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) that it contains ingredients from pigs. Muis was alerted to possible problems with the vaccine Mencevax ACWY after clerics in Indonesia declared it haram, or forbidden under Islamic law, as pork and pig-derived by-products are prohibited for Muslims. .. In response to queries, the HSA said that while it has received information from GSK [GlaxoSmithKline] stating that Mencevax does not contain materials of bovine and porcine origin, it would still “be reviewing and studying the information with Muis”.
Hari Raya Haji
/hah-ree rı-ə hah-jee,
ˈhɑːrɪ ˈrʌɪə ˈhɑdʒɪ/ n. [Mal.
holiday: hari day +
raya great, large + Mal. Haji pilgrimage to Mecca < var. of Arab.
or Arab. حجِيج
ḥujjāj pl. of
ḥājj pilgrim; Mecca pilgrim; honorific title of one who
has performed the pilgrimage to Mecca < حج
ḥajj to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca (Wehr)] The most holy Muslim festival which falls on the
tenth day of Zulhijjah, the 12th and last month of the Muslim calendar, after
the period when Muslims traditionally make pilgrimages
to Mecca. It is a public holiday in Singapore. The festival
commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael for
Allah; Allah stopped him, revealing it as a trial of Ibrahim’s faith, and
provided a ram to be sacrificed instead. Pilgrims on the Haj on this day converge on the village of
Mina near Mecca to stone three pillars representing Iblis [Arab.
Devil] who tried to convince the Prophet Ibrahim not to offer Ishmael as a
sacrifice; the pillars are a reminder of the three steps taken by the Prophet
Ibrahim to chase the Devil away. Other rituals observed in Singapore include the
saying of prayers at mosques, the
Korban, and visiting relatives and
¶ The festival is known in Arab. as عيد الأضحى Eid Al-Adha.
1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 119 Feast of the Sacrifice (Hâri Râya Hadji).– This Feast is held on the 10th day of the month Zil Hayjah, in honour, it is said, of Abraham’s intending to offer up Ismail, who, according to the Mohammedan creed, was chosen as the offering to the Almighty, and not Isaac. The offering thus made is commemorated annually by the sacrifice of cows, sheep, goats, and other animals. It is the belief of the Mohammedan that animals sacrificed at the Feast will be present to give assistance in the perilous trial which awaits every soul after death, viz., the passage of the bridge Al Sirat which spans (according to the Koran) the abyss of Hell, and is represented to be finer than a hair and sharper than the edge of a sword. The path, though beset with many obstacles, will be crossed over with ease and safety by the faithful, but the wicked will miss the narrow footing and plunge into the fathomless gulf that yawns beneath them. 2004 Arlina Arshad The Straits Times, 18 January, 6 Hari Raya Haji marks the end of the pilgrimage season to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The slaughtering of sheep, or korban, is carried out to remind Muslims of the need to give their wealth to Allah and to reinforce the practice of sharing what one has with the less fortunate. 2006 Lim Wei Chean & Lee Hui Chieh The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 11 January. Hari Raya Haji may be a Muslim festival, but yesterday’s celebrations attracted Singaporeans from across the religious spectrum. 2006 Shaik Kadir Shaik Maideen The Straits Times, 30 December, S10 The special feature of Eid ul-Adha, commonly called Hari Raya Haji in Malay, is the korban.
Hari Raya Puasa
/hah-ree rı-ə pooah-sə,
ˈhɑːrɪ ˈrʌɪə ˈpʊɑsə/ n. [Mal.
day + raya
great, large + Mal.
puasa fast, fasting < Skt.
prasah to bear up against, to be able to withstand, sustain, endure; to
overpower, conquer, defeat; to make an effort, to be able; compare
bearing up against, withstanding; पसाह
prasāha overpowering, defeating,
controlling one’s self (Monier-Williams)]
A Muslim festival which falls on the first day of Syawal (the tenth month of
the Muslim calendar) that celebrates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan
(the ninth month). It is a public holiday in
Singapore. Observances include the saying of special prayers at mosques, the
payment of zakat [Arab.
a tax or tithe distributed as alms], seeking forgiveness from and reconciliation with
other people, visiting relatives and friends, and presenting to children duit raya (gifts of money)
[Mal. duit copper coin, money in general (Wilkinson);
cent, small change (Winstedt)
(for etymology, see
¶ The festival is known in Arab. as عيد الفطر Eid Al-Fitr and also in Mal. as Aidilfitri.
1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 119 Feast of Breaking of Fast (Hâri Râya).– This Feast is celebrated on the 1st day of the month Shawal, which is the month following Ramthan. Mussulmans on this day are required to bathe, put on new clothes and give alms, according to their circumstances. During the day they attend prayers at the mosques, after which they give themselves up to pleasure and rejoicing. 2000 Arlina Arshad The Straits Times, 27 December, H8 Muslims all over the world celebrate Aidilfitri on the first day of the Muslim calendar month of Syawal. Here it is more commonly known as Hari Raya Puasa, which comes at the end of Ramadan, the fasting month. .. The essence of Hari Raya Puasa is faith and self-renewal. 2000 Suhaila Sulaiman (quoting Sharon Ismail) The Straits Times (Life!), 27 December, L6 In Singapore, Hari Raya has always been loud, noisy and colourful. 2005 The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 2 October. Longer, bigger and brighter Hari Raya light-up [title]. A street procession down Haig Road added extra colour to this year’s Hari Raya light-up in Geylang Serai yesterday. The slight drizzle hardly made a mark on the 13 contingents showcasing various aspects of Malay culture. Among them were silat, a traditional Malay martial art, and kompang, a traditional Malay performance with drums. 2005 Zul Othman (quoting Mohamed Hashim) Today (from Todayonline.com), 15 October. “These are traditional foods and everyone should come down and try them,” he reckoned. “It wouldn’t be Hari Raya without any of these treats!”
/hah-shi-mə, ˈhɑʃɪmə/ n.
[< Mand. 哈什蟆 hàshimǎ Chinese forest frog (Rana
temporaria chensinensis); 哈什蟆油 hàshimǎ yóu
(Chi. medicine) the dried oviduct fat of the forest frog: yóu oil;
fat; grease (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] Also hasma. A Chinese dessert ingredient consisting
of the dried fat from the oviducts of the snow frog or Chinese forest frog (Rana
temporaria chensinensis). In its dried and uncooked form it appears as
small, flat, irregular, yellowish-white pieces; when rehydrated during
preparation it expands and becomes opaque and glutinous in texture. It is
Double-Boiled with rock sugar
and a variety of other ingredients to make
Shui. Also known as
2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 24 December, L24 It also serves hashima (snow frog glands) with rock sugar at $3.90 a bowl. 2011 Joan Chew The Straits Times (Mind Your Body), 12 May, 18 Hasma – made from the dried fallopian tubes of the Asiatic grass frog – is most popularly known to improve the complexion. But it is also prized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for having the highest “life force”. This means it is believed to be more potent and effective than most other plant-based herbs in strengthening the body..
hati babi /hah-tee
bah-bee, ˈhɑtiː ˈbɑbiː/
n. [Mal. hati liver + babi pig, hog (Ridhwan)]
A dumpling of
Peranakan origin consisting of
minced pork liver and coriander wrapped in pig’s caul or omentum (the membrane
covering the lower intestines).
2001 Raelene Tan (quoting Letty Lim) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 14 January, P12 Hati babi is always served. This is pork liver dumplings with coriander, wrapped in pig’s caul lining.
Rowdy, wild, undisciplined.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 167 His form master who taught metalwork knew about Larry’s lapses and his group of drug-taking classmates (who were ‘of one kind, a havoc group’). 168 A 24-hour coffee house in the middle of town (‘once a havoc place’). 1982 ‘Paik-Choo’ (Toh Paik Choo) Eh, Goondu! 2 Havoc My cousin describing her late brother when another of his wives and child turned up at the home front, “Ah, ee quite havoc one also.” Couple of shades stronger than Casanova, Don Juan, Romeo, in fact “Killer” would be closest. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 42 Havoc. To create upset; describes those who have little regard for authority. 2003 Chua Mui Hoong, The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 16 November, L16 Anyone who wore her pinafore 1cm shorter than the norm was considered ‘havoc’ (wild).
hawker n. & a. [modified use of Eng.
hawker a person who goes from place to place selling goods, or who cries
them in the street] A n. A person who sells fresh produce, sundries or, esp.,
food and beverages; such a person would formerly have been itinerant but now
usu. operates from a
Hawker Stall in a
Pasar Malam or
B a. Of or relating to a hawker.
A 2000 Lea Wee The Straits Times (Life!), 10 April, 4 The rainbow-coloured ice kacang.. probably started off as the humble iceball. According to humorist Sylvia Toh Piak Choo, who is in her 50s, the iceball was sold by street hawkers in the 1950s and 1960s as a sideline to their drinks business. 2003 Magdalene Lum The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 11 January, L42 One of the recipes which have [sic] disappeared over the years, is loh kai yik, a pink Cantonese stew of braised chicken wings in fermented bean sauce, which used to be sold by hawkers on tricycles. 2005 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 31 July. Madam Foo Kui Lian, 56, learnt to cook from her late brother, a hawker who had perfected the recipe [for Hainanese chicken rice] over many years. B 2000 Magdalene Lum (quoting Elaine Cheah) The Straits Times (Life!), 12 September, 14 The hawker food, like laksa, is not too bad. 2001 Tee Hun Ching The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 14 January, P9 The usual hawker fare such as laksa, hor fun and yong tau fu.
hawker centre n. [Eng.] An open-air
location or covered structure open to the elements containing a variety of
stalls selling food and beverages prepared by hawkers with a shared seating area
for customers (in contrast to a food court which is usu. inside a shopping
centre, etc., and often air-conditioned).
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 88 You get fresh coconut water and flesh – better than hawker centre. 2001 Neil Humphreys Notes from an Even Smaller Island 18–19 [A] hawker centre is essentially a food court that contains a series of food stalls, each specialising in an Asian culinary delight. We simply go in, sit at one of the tables and wait for the person selling drinks to take our drink order. We then go to a stall, tell the hawker seller what we want and then retake our seats. 2001 Tee Hun Ching The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 8 April, P8 .. [N]asi lemak is now a staple in every hawker centre and many glitzy hotels. 2005 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 31 July. Norhayati Shukor’s father invented roti john in 1975 when the stall was located in Taman Serasi hawker centre, opposite the Botanic Gardens. 2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 13 August, L24 Singapore’s hawker centres were born in the late 1960s and 1970s when the Government decided to gather itinerant pushcart food-sellers at fixed, sheltered locations. One centre was allocated to almost every Housing Board estate, and those in the city, like Maxwell Road which opened in the 1950s and Newton Circus which opened in 1971, took off as boisterous hotspots for all kinds of excellent street food.
hawker stall n. [Eng.] A stall operated by a hawker for the sale of fresh produce, sundries, or, esp., food or beverages that is usu. located in a Wet Market, Pasar Malam or Hawker Centre.
hay bee /hay bee,
虾 hay [...] +
米 bee [...]; Mand. xiā shrimp + mi
shelled or husked seed (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] Also haybee, haebee. Pounded
dried shelled shrimp, used as a condiment.
2004 Dawn Wong The Straits Times (Scholars’ Choice 3), 5 March, R2 A handful of pounded dried shrimp, or haebee, will give you sambal haebee! 2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 24 September. [T]his foodstall also offers popiah with chicken floss, fish floss and sambal hae bee (dried shrimp). 2007 Thng Lay Teen The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 29 April. The haebi (spicy dried shrimp), which she serves on top of oil-blanched brinjal and fries with long beans, is slowly fried on a non-stick wok without oil for about two hours till it turns a lovely orange-red. 2009 Lee Siew Hua The Straits Times (Saturday), 12 December, E6 The.. kangkong, sprouting beautifully, was stir-fried with hae bee, or dried shrimp. 2011 Chris Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 26 June, 22 In many recipes, the soaked, drained [glutinous] rice is sauteed in oil with aromatics such as garlic or haybee (dried shrimp) before any liquid is added. This adds a lot of flavour and also par-cooks the grains, which makes them slightly less sticky when fully cooked, and less prone to over-softening.
hay bee hiam /heeum,
hiːʌm/ n. [Hk. hiam (?)] Hay bee fried
till dry, used as a condiment.
2004 Dawn Wong The Straits Times (Scholars’ Choice 3), 5 March, R2 Two large handfuls (300g) of pounded haebee fried till fairly dry transforms into crispy fried shrimps or haebee hiam.. . Sprinkle on rice or noodles, use as a sandwich filling or as toppings on baguette or cucumber rounds. Buy ready-made puff pastry and make little cocktail rolls with haebee hiam filling. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Frederick Lee) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 8 January, L35 Little snacks like mango pomelo salad and hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimps) in cucumber cups served with mayonnaise, which is to die for. 2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 24 December, L25 Kaya toast, that venerable local staple, has – like mooncakes – been given a twist with bewildering new flavours. Over the past year, at least four bakery chains and cafes have rolled out new spreads for plain ol’ toast. There is kaya flavoured with pandan, durian, even yam and vanilla. Other home-style toasts, with peanut butter, condensed milk, hae bee hiam (spicy minced dried shrimp) and otah otah, have also popped up.
hay cho /hay choh,
[...] + 枣 cho
[...] (?); Mand.
xiā shrimp + zǎo jujube, ball (?) (Chi.–Eng.
See quot. 2003.
2003 Tan Yang Today 25–26 October, 24 Hay cho with deep-fried bean curd.. is the restaurant’s pièce de résistance. .. True to tradition, the stuffing of prawns, Batang fish and eel is wrapped in pig’s membrane (not bean curd skin). Each roll is about 30 cm long and yields about 10 pieces when cut. Each piece is then individually fried to golden perfection. Skewer a piece on a chopstick, dab on a generous helping of home-made sweet plum sauce, take a bite and let the fragrance overcome your taste-buds. 2010 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 25 July, 20 .. hae cho, a deep-fried prawn roll.. 2012 Thng Lay Teen The Sunday Times (SundayLife!), 7 October, 30 He is equally modest about the hae cho (fried prawn rolls, $8) when I tell him that I like it. There was a distinct whiff of five-spice powder as I bit into the roll which had been cut into several pieces and then fried. Each piece was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
[...] + 膏
xiā shrimp + gāo paste; cream (Chi.–Eng.
Also hae ko.
A strong-smelling paste of fermented prawns used in Chinese cooking and as a
2009 Thng Lay Teen The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 8 March, 29 For $2.20, you get two tau pok (soya bean puff) and one youtiao drizzled with hae ko (prawn paste). .. The hae ko, a fresh batch of which is made daily, is just a little sweet – the way I like it – and not too runny. You can also opt for it to be served as a dip. 2011 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 26 June, 22 .. assam laksa, a dark and sour fish-based tamarind-infused broth served with cucumber, pineapple and hae-ko (prawn paste)..
/hay mee, heɪ miː/
+ Mee] Also
hae mee. A Chinese dish consisting of noodles in a dark, savoury soup containing prawns,
fishcake, bean sprouts, etc.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong (quoting Tay Poh Hock) Youth in the Army 49–50 While loafing around, a friend in whose home he occasionally slept introduced him to a woman hawker selling prawn mee (hay mee) in a back lane. .. “.. After 1 p.m. I took my lunch that was provided by my woman boss. If you saw what it was, you would get frightened. It’s a huge bowl of mee – of hay mee: and I ate that day in and day out. Very early I stopped enjoying it.” 2006 Chris Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 10 December, L28 A truly good hae (prawn) mee broth has a depth and resonance of flavour that comes only from hours of slowly boiling top-notch stock ingredients. To make it, first gently fry pork ribs and soup bones (and pig tails, if you like) in lard or oil in a large stockpot, turning frequently until browned but not burnt. Scoop out of the pot and set aside. Pound garlic and shallots – Penang recipes add a few dried chillies too – to a coarse paste, and fry that in the fat left in the pot until lightly browned and aromatic. Return pork bones to the pot and add plenty of water, some white or black peppercorns and a couple of star anise petals. Simmer very slowly for two to three hours to make a rich stock. Next, heat some fresh oil and stir-fry prawn heads, shells and tails over medium or medium-low heat until very fragrant and dark orange-red in colour. Halfway through the frying, throw in some crushed rock sugar, which will caramelise and give the broth a rich brown colour. Add the prawn shells to the stock and simmer everything together for at least one more hour. Season the finished broth with salt and soy sauce. This broth tastes best within a day of being made – freeze it if you intend to keep it any longer.
haywiring v. [< Eng. haywire a.] Going out of control; behaving erratically or as one pleases.
heartlander n. & a. [Eng. heartland
the central or most important part of an area + –er] A n. A person,
typically regarded as less sophisticated, conservative and down-to-earth, who
lives in a public housing estate built by the Housing and Development Board
considered as part of the heartland of Singapore; an ordinary Singaporean.
B a. Of or relating to a heartlander.
A [1994 Loh Meng See Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 13 January, vol. 62, col. 56 I welcome the effort taken by the Government to spread the nation’s wealth and to share the benefit with as many Singaporeans as possible. The HDB ‘heartland’ where already 90% of HDB dwellers own their flats is the right target group for the Government to concentrate on.] 1999 Goh Chok Tong Prime Minister’s National Day Rally Speech 1999, 22 August, paras. 163–167 We also need to maintain cohesion between cosmopolitans and heartlanders. As Singapore becomes more international, two broad categories of people will emerge. One group I call the “cosmopolitans”, because their outlook is international. They speak English but are bilingual. They have skills that command good incomes – banking, IT, engineering, science and technology. They produce goods and services for the global market. Many cosmopolitans use Singapore as a base to operate in the region. They can work and be comfortable anywhere in the world. The other group, the heartlanders, make their living within the country. Their orientation and interests are local rather than international. Their skills are not marketable beyond Singapore. They speak Singlish. They include taxi-drivers, stallholders, provision shop owners, production workers and contractors. Phua Chu Kang is a typical heartlander. Another one is Tan Ah Teck. If they emigrate to America, they will probably settle in a Chinatown, open a Chinese restaurant and call it an “eating house”. Both heartlanders and cosmopolitans are important to Singapore’s well being. Heartlanders play a major role in maintaining our core values and our social stability. They are the core of our society. Without them, there will be no safe and stable Singapore, no Singapore system, no Singapore brand name. Cosmopolitans, on the other hand, are indispensable in generating wealth for Singapore. They extend our economic reach. The world is their market. Without them, Singapore cannot run as an efficient, high performance society. The challenge for us is to get the heartlanders to understand what the cosmopolitans contribute to Singapore’s and their own well being, and to get the cosmopolitans to feel an obligation and sense of duty to the heartlanders. If cosmopolitans and heartlanders cease to identify with each other, our society will fall apart. 1999 Abdullah Tarmugi (Minister for Community Development) Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 6 September, vol. 70, col. 2284 [W]hen the Prime Minister used the terms “cosmopolitans” and “heartlanders” of our population, he was referring to the outlook of two broad categories of people and reiterated that both were important to Singapore’s well being. Each has its own distinct contribution to our society. For example, the heartlanders play a major role in maintaining the core values and our social stability and give us our Singapore brand name. Cosmopolitans, on the other hand, extend our economic reach and help Singapore to run as an efficient, high performance society. We should not look at cosmopolitans and heartlanders in terms of socio-economic status as this is not an issue. 1999 Low Thia Khiang Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 6 September, vol. 70, col. 2284 Is the Minister aware that by the way the heartlanders and cosmopolitans are being portrayed and reported in the mass media, it has given rise to the perception or impression that cosmopolitans and heartlanders are two different classes of Singapore citizens in our society? 2005 Jeanine Tan Today, 10 May, 31 [A]n overenthusiastic heartlander exclaimed loudly that the gangly actress [Patricia Mok] was much prettier in the flesh when compared to her “ugly” screen image.. [S]he’s become used to the eccentricities of the “heartlander”. 2006 Nur Amira Abdul Karim (quoting Ong Chee Keong) The Sunday Times, 30 July, 35 We people are heartlanders mah... we not going to be English teacher or MP or what, so what for? Singlish can already. B 2006 Li Xueying (quoting Tan Boon Huat) The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 21 February. ‘The sense is the PA [People’s Association] is low-class and heartlander. We want to change that,’ said Mr Tan. ‘We don’t want people to think the only reason Singaporeans come to us is because our activities are cheap.’ 2006 Ben Nadarajan & Teh Joo Lin The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 11 June. The two victims were from typical heartlander families. Both lived in three-room HDB flats, both their fathers are in the construction industry and both their mothers are part-time hawkers. Both Mr Tan and Mr Tay studied in neighbourhood schools and got to university via the polytechnic route. 2006 Terence Chong The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 17 June. [H]eartlander uncles and aunties..
n. [Eng. heart + –ware, after hardware, software,
poss. a Jap. coinage: see quots. 1991, 1997] Feelings of affection and
emotional attachment for something; spec. such feelings for one’s
1991 B.G. George Yong-Boon Yeo (Acting Minister for Information and the Arts) Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 21 March, vol. 57, cols. 955–956 I remember having a conversation once with the CEO of Fuji Sankei, the largest Japanese TV company, Mr Shikanai. He said that the way he operated is like the way MITA operates. They combine information and culture together. Because he felt that for industry of the future, for competition in the future, the more the two gets entwined together, the more competitive you become. So he says it is not hardware, it is not software, in the end it is heartware. You are appealing not just to function, you are appealing also to people’s sensitivities. And I think this is the overall approach we should take towards the arts in Singapore, combining it into our economy, into our social life, so that it strengthens us in the long term, so that expenditure on the arts is no longer seen as consumption but as investment. 1997 Goh Chok Tong (Prime Minister) Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 5 June, vol. 67, col. 405 The Government can provide the conditions for security and economic growth. But in the end, it is people who give feeling, a human touch, a sense of pride and achievement, the warmth. So beyond developing physical infrastructure and hardware, we need to develop our social infrastructure and software. In Sony Corporation, they call this “heartware”. We need to go beyond economic and material needs, and reorient society to meet the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, cultural and social needs of our people. 1998 Peh Chin Hwa Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 9 March, vol. 68, col. 616 The Government is also committed to studying how to improve the “heart-ware” simultaneously with the improvement to the hardware, so that the imported talents can integrate into the Singapore society, thereby remaining permanently in Singapore and make a contribution towards the development of Singapore. 1998 Ong Chit Chung Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 11 March, vol. 68, col. 912 Total defence is part and parcel of our national education. While we train our National Servicemen on how to use and maximise the hardware that we have, we must not forget the heartware. Each and every National Serviceman must know what he is fighting for, why the sacrifices, why we hold dear our sovereignty, integrity and independence and our hopes and visions for the future. 1998 Simon Tay Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 31 July, vol. 68, col. 693 We need to move towards consultation which we have seen, and from there, to a greater sense of participation. We need to build up Singapore’s heartware, we need to build up Singapore’s civil society. This is the utility of freeing people from the “black book” syndrome and encouraging their speech and participation, to give people a sense of ownership, that Singapore is their home. If it is our home, we must be comfortable here. We must be able to speak freely. 2002 Gan Kim Yong Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 1 October, vol. 75, col. 1114 [O]ver the last 30 years, we have built ourselves a world-class infrastructure. We have one of the world’s best airport and sea port. We have one of the most efficient transport and telecommunication system. We have the best hardware. We have also built ourselves a world-class workforce. Our productivity has been the main attraction to foreign investors. We have the best software. Now, we must also build ourselves a world-class citizen, what I call the HEARTware. 2004 Teo Chee Hean (Minister for Defence) Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 16 January, vol. 80, col. 2004 While we continuously seek to upgrade the SAF’s [Singapore Armed Forces’] hardware and software, we know that it is very important not to lose sight of the heart-ware. MINDEF [the Ministry of Defence] and the SAF have therefore been working at eliciting higher levels of commitment and ownership in our nation’s defence. 2006 Ng Boon Yian Today (from Todayonline.com), 3 October. Bolstering Singapore’s “heartware” is a natural government response to these challenges. But that, of course, would be much harder to do so against the backdrop of globalisation.
[Eng. heat + –y, poss. < a transl. of Mand.
hot] Of a person’s constitution, or types of food or traditional Chinese
medicine: of a hot or yang
nature, promoting heat in the body, not
2003 Teo Cheng Wee The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 January, L13 [F]oods can be heaty (yang) or cooling (yin). Deep-fried food is heaty while quickly-boiled food is usually cooling. Eating too much of one kind will create an imbalance of yin and yang in the person, and cause him to fall sick. .. Foods is usually deemed ‘heaty’ after it has been fried, baked or barbequed because of the element of ‘fire’ in their preparation. They include .. barbequed sweetmeat or bak kwa, pineapple tarts and spicy prawn-paste rolls, as well as melon seeds and love letters. 2003 Teo Cheng Wee (quoting Yu Zhe Kai) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 January, L13 ‘People who are too heaty will suffer from coughs, sore throats, ulcers, pimple outbreaks, sore eyes or dry stools’ .. A quick easily-felt pulse indicates a tendency towards ‘heatiness’, as do red tongues, warm hands and dry mouths. ‘Some people are already prone to sore throats and coughs than those with a cooling body constitution, and hence should eat less heaty food’. .. Younger people are usually more heaty and tend to fall sick more easily during hot weather. 2005 Gerard Yeo The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 December, L10 In TCM [traditional Chinese medicine] terminology, when someone is “heaty”, it means that the person has too much body heat and is prone to fever. Symptoms displayed by someone who is “heaty” are warmer hands and feet. .. A “heaty” person tends to be averse to heat..
int. [Eng. heck euphemistic alteration of hell (OED)]
A euphemism for
2006 Leong Su-lin (quoting Rani Vyarakannoo) The Straits Times (Life!) (from Straits Times Interactive), 3 April. I’d rather he had an office job, but if he doesn’t care what other people say, heck care, he can do what he wants. 2007 Neil Humphreys Weekend Today (from Todayonline.com), 20 January. “Thaksin been in Singapore to see his kakis and tekan the Thai gahmen.” “Heck care, lah.” 2007 Fanny Chan Weekend Today (from Todayonline.com), 28 April. There’s no place for a ‘heck-care’ attitude in a first-class country [title] .. Inside the hall, when the lady found seats for herself and two kids, one of her kids brought to her attention, a sign pasted on the seat which read, “Reserved”. To my shock, she replied, “Heck care!” and plonked herself down with great satisfaction. I was very disturbed by the behaviour of the lady – someone who seemed educated and who is a role model for her young charges. 2011 Rachel Chang The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 19 June, 16 [T]hey’re very heck care. 2011 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 11 December, 28 You mean a whopping 19 per cent of the respondents felt they could be totally “heck-care” about their work while on holiday? Are you sure they’re real Singaporeans?
/hee piow, hiː pɪaʊ/
n. [Hk. 鱼 hee + 鳔 peow; Mand.
yúbiào air bladder (of fish): yú fish + biào swim bladder, air
Dict.)] The swim-bladder or air-bladder of a fish such as the
daggertooth pike conger or pike eel (Muraenesox cinereus) which is used
as an ingredient in Chinese cooking, esp. in soup; fish-maw, sound. When
cooked whole it is usu. pale yellow, spongy and in the shape of an open
2006 Eveline Gan Weekend Today, 22–23 July, 24 Thinking that we would be too full, my mother and I ordered a bowl of hee peow (fish maw) soup ($6 per bowl) to share. Big mistake! And we regretted the decision. We should have ordered one bowl each. The soup is packed with cabbage, meatballs, prawn balls, fish balls and fish maw. It was so delicious we ended up fighting over the last spoonful. Mrs Lee told us she takes two to three hours to brew the chicken stock and makes the meatballs and prawn balls, which go well with the homemade sambal belacan.
helicopter see Chinese Helicopter.
hell money n. [Eng. transl. of Mand.
冥币 míngbì funny money, money for the dead:
míng the underworld, the nether world + bì currency, money, coin (Comp. Chi.–Eng. Dict.);
or cognates in other Chi. dialects]
Replica paper money that is burnt during funerals, rituals for ancestor worship and Chinese festivals such as
Qing Ming Festival as an offering to ancestors, and during the
Hungry Ghost Festival
to appease wandering spirits; it is believed that the spirits of the deceased
will thus be able to use the money in their realm.
2006 Hong Xinyi The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 6 August, L6 [T]he getai folk burn hell money in a giant bin, praying for a safe and profitable seventh month. 2006 Teo Cheng Wee The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 6 August, L7 Later in the day, “kim zua” (Hokkien for gold paper), used here as hell money, is folded into ingots (which supposedly increases the value of the money). These will be burnt as offerings after the prayers are over the next day. 2007 Khushwant Singh The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 26 January. Hell money is paper burned as part of funeral rites. .. Some Chinese Singaporeans view hell money, incense patches and mourning patches as inauspicious.
hēng to hope, to expect; gracious, favourable, fortunate, happy (Medhurst); Mand.
xìng good fortune;
In heng ah: an exclamation expr. that oneself is fortunate that
something has happened or (more usu.) not happened: phew! thank goodness!
A 2002 Suzanne Sng (quoting Poh Soon Sua) The Straits Times, 27 February L5 Everyone thinks it’s very heng (lucky in Hokkien). B 2001 Ooi Boon Ewe The Straits Times, 4 November, 5 An excited Mr Ooi Boon Ewe was at Temasek Primary principal counting centre for Joo Chiat.. The independent candidate went there alone even before polls closed.. He got his $13,000 deposit back as he polled 16.5 per cent of the vote. ‘Get back money – heng ah!’ he exclaimed.. 2008 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 16 November, 12 Heng, ah! I was struggling to come up with a more profound response to the recent United States presidential election, but somehow for me, that Singaporean exclamation said it best. (For you foreign talents out there, “heng” would be the Hokkien equivalent of “phew!”)
Henghwa var. of Hinghwa.
hentam /hən-tahm, hahn-tahm,
slamming, slapping, bumping against (Wilkinson);
(Johor & Penang Mal.) menghentamkan hit hard, bang on (a door, head),
punch (a face) (Winstedt)] Also
1 Beat, box, hit with force, strike, esp. beat up a person;
fig. censure, criticize, find fault with.
Do something in a perfunctory manner or by guesswork. See also
1 2000 Kelvin Tong The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 28 December, 8 I told you I will ham tam you. Now, I will ham tam you until you cannot see the sky or feel the earth! 2005 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 30 January, L12 [T]he shovel was in the boot, which had frozen shut. This meant I first had to sweep the snow off the car with only my thin-gloved hands, then hantam the boot till it finally sprang open. 2005 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 9 October. I myself have kena hantam in online forums when I started writing this column. 2 2001 Natalie Soh & Leong Chan Teik (quoting Thomas Fernandez) The Sunday Times, 2 September, 21 ‘I never learnt how to read the labels to mix the chemicals properly, you just hantam.’ (Hantam is Malay for ‘hit’). 2002 Sonny Yap (quoting Lim Hng Kiang) The Straits Times, 4 May, H10 My all-time favourite came from then-National Development Minister Lim Hng Kiang on the eve of the 1997 General Election. Taking opposition candidate Chee Soon Juan to task for the way he calculated Housing Board flat prices, he said: ‘I can’t describe this in English, though. Chee Soon Juan’s approach is better put.. in Singlish, the “anyhow hantam” method.’ .. [H]antam means ‘to beat’ in Malay. 2002 Jack Neo The Straits Times (National Day Special 2002), 9 August, 3 When I was in the army in the late 1980s, Wits [work improvement teams] was basically brainstorming, which meant everybody just hantam or throw down an idea, never mind if it was illogical or unreasonable.
/boh-lah, ˈbəʊlɑ/ n.
[Mal. < Port. bola
ball] A children’s game in which the object is to throw a ball so as to hit
someone who is running.
2004 Tay Yek Keak The Straits Times (Life!), 15 September, L5 [T]he hit-by-missile ball game of hentam bola, which every red-blooded Singaporean schoolboy must have endured in the playground. Boy, that was fun. 2004 Clement Mesenas Weekend Today, 30–31 October, 4 Solicitor General Chan Seng Onn.. recalled the fun he had playing tops, marbles and hantam bola – despite the lack of a field. 2012 Frances Ess Today on Sunday, 11 March, 8 Angry Birds? Give me hantam bola [title] .. We spent entire afternoons playing hopscotch, chapteh or hantam bola.
hentam kaki /kah-kee,
command for marching on the spot:
foot, leg] mil.
one’s promotion stopped or delayed.
2005 Hong Xinyi The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 19 June. Hentak [sic] kaki. Army use: A Malay drill command (literally ‘stomp feet’), meaning to march on the spot. Civilian use: Used commonly to refer to someone whose career has stagnated either by choice or ineptitude. Example: Ever since he screwed up that important presentation, he’s been hentak [sic] kaki. 2005 Richard Lim The Straits Times (Life!) (from Straits Times Interactive), 20 August. In the army, he [Djinn Ong] was made a physical training instructor and a sergeant. Despite the fact that he could speak little Chinese, he won the trust of the regular non-commissioned officers who spoke mainly in Hokkien among themselves. They allowed him to join them in their beer sessions. By day, they might seem like cocks on the walk at the parade square, but in those drunken evening gatherings, Djinn saw that they were vulnerable and bitter. Rightly or wrongly, they felt they had been marginalised by the influx of scholar soldiers whom the Government introduced by the mid-1970s. Without a piece of paper, they could not rise up the ranks. They saw themselves as failures, condemned to a life of hentak-kaki (Malay for marching on the spot, going nowhere).
heow var. of hiau.
hex n. [Eng., origin unkn.] 1 The symbol #, meaning ‘number’, used to denote an apartment or flat number in an address; hash, pound sign. 2 The key with a # sign on push-button telephone keypads, computer keyboards, etc.; the hash key.
hiao var. of Hiau.
a. [poss. Hk.
[奻 above + 男 below: the Chi. character cannot be
displayed due to software limitations] hëáou indecent, abandoned, whorish
not found in
Comp. Chi.–Eng. Dict.)]
Also heow, hiao.
1 1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 hiau – Hokkien for sexy (eg. Wah, she damn hiau.) 2000 Yeow Kai Chai The Straits Times (Life!), 5 September, 7 Looked like the very hiao Tia Carrera. 2001 Cat Ong (quoting Ase Wang) The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 11 February, P8 I’ve been getting one [diamond] for the last three years since I turned 18 and with each new one, I just feel more heow (flirty) lah. 2 2001 Cat Ong (quoting Karen Tan) The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 7 January, P8 My fashion sense has become even more acute ever since I became a mother. And the one who is honing it is my very ‘hiao’ daughter, Rachel. 2003 Peh Shing Huei (quoting Gwyn Tan) The Sunday Times, 12 October, 32 Their leader now is that hiao (vain in Hokkien) David Beckham. 2006 Maia Lee The Electric New Paper, 17 June. Have you become more hiao (Hokkien for vain) since slimming down? 2014 Kezia Toh (quoting Nizah Hamid) The Sunday Times (SundayLife!), 25 May, 9 “He is very hiao, but I’m okay since it is his own money he is spending anyway,” she says, using the Hokkien term for vain. He spends about $200 a month on clothes, as compared to her $150.
hilang /hee-lahng, yee-lahng, ˈhiːlɑŋ, ˈjiːlɑŋ/ a. [Mal., lost, disappeared, dead (Winstedt)] Lost, missing.
n. & a. [Hinghwa, hing + hwa; Mand. Xinghuá] Also
Henghwa. A n. 1 An inhabitant of
Hinghwa, now known as Putian [Mand. 莆田 Pútián:
Pú the place-name Putian (Giles) + tián field, farmland, cropland (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)], a prefecture-level city in Fujian (Fukien) province on the south-east coast of China, or a descendant
thereof living in another part of the world. 2 The Chinese dialect
of Hinghwa, a form of Mǐn [Mand. 闽 another name of Fujian
Province] (a general term for a group of Chinese dialects spoken in Fujian
province), which is spoken by a minority of Chinese in Singapore. B a. Of or pertaining to
the city of Hinghwa,
its culture, and its inhabitants or persons who trace their ancestry thereto.
A 1 1999 Lynn Pan (ed.) The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas 203 Status distinctions apart, Chinese groups divided along speech lines. In his 1848 article, Seah [Eu Chin], a Teochiu speaker himself, named five other speech groups: Hokkien, Cantonese (also called ‘Macao Chinese’), Hakka and Hainanese. To these five may be added those who came to Singapore – in lesser numbers – from the speech areas of Henghua (Xinghua), Hokchia (Fuqing), Fuzhou and Sanjiang (that is, ‘the three jiang’: Jiangxi, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, the natives of whom were often commonly if inaccurately identified as ‘Shanghainese’ in Singapore). 204 The Henghuas and Hokchias, arriving in the last two decades of the 19th century, around the time the rickshaw was introduced to Singapore, became rickshaw pullers. 2006 The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 3 September. Heng Hwas hail from Putian, a coastal city in Fujian province, which has three million people and is known for its seafood and beehoon products. Heng Hwa cuisine is characterised by simple dishes that showcase the true flavours of ingredients. B 2006 Theresa Tan The Straits Times (Mind Your Body) (from Straits Times Interactive), 17 May. The 11-year-old restaurant.. serves ‘jia xiang’ or home-cooked Heng Hwa food. .. The chicken is cooked with Hong Zao, or the red paste of rice wine dregs. Hong Zao is often used to cook meat in Fuzhou, Hakka and Heng Hwa cuisine. It gains its rich red colour from the addition of red grains to the rice wine. 2006 The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 3 September. Both sell the same signature Heng Hwa dishes that have made Pu Tien famous – lor mee (soup noodles with seafood), Heng Hwa fried beehoon, steamed bamboo clams with wine, and sweet and sour pork with lychee.
ho chia /hoh chiah,
tʒɪʌ/ a. phr. [Hk. good to eat: 好 ho
+ 吃 chia; Mand. hǎo good, fine, nice + chī
eat, take (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] football betting Having a good chance of winning.
2006 Chan Yi Shen The Sunday Times, 20 August, 34 Singapore’s EPL [English Premier League] lingo [title].. Ho jiak: good chance of winning
ho say /hoh
good + say
ended, finished (?).
1 2004 Karl Ho The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 13 June, L6 Ho say liao leh. Hokkien exclamation of satisfaction.. Usage: (When the referee gives David Beckham the red card) ‘Ho say liao leh. Who ask him to cheat on his wife?’
hoi sin sauce /hoy sin,
hɔɪ sɪn/ n.
[Cant. 海鲜 hoi sin marine
delicacies (hoi the pond of heaven; the recipient of all rivers: the
ocean + sin fresh, newly-slaughtered; clean, bright; nice, good) (Eitel); Mand.
seafood (hoi sea + sin aquatic foods; fresh; delicacy) (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.) + Eng. sauce,
transl. of Cant. 酱 séung a soy
made by mixing salt with bean-flour; pickle, preserve in sauce; condiments (Eitel); Mand.
jiàng sauce, paste, jam (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] Also hoisin
sauce. A thick, dark reddish-brown, savoury and sweet sauce made of
soya beans, chilli, garlic, salt, sugar, rice vinegar, wheat flour, etc.,
which is used as a marinade and dipping sauce for roasted meats such as
Siew and duck.
2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 26 February. From a humble spot in Yishun Avenue 5, this stall has grown to a five-outlet chain offering charcoal-roasted duck prepared according to a family recipe. Along with ginger, spring onions and star anise, a secret ingredient is stuffed into the duck’s cavity, making the meat very juicy and tender. A slight downside is the gravy that is poured over the meat. It reminds me of hoisin sauce. Still, as many as 40 birds are snapped up at each stall a day. 2006 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 3 December, L14 Everything here [China] tastes much saltier, even the Peking Duck hoisin sauce, and there’s also a lot more oil and vinegar than I'm used to.
Hokchew, Hokchiew /hok-chiu, ˈhɒktʃɪu/ n. & a. [Hk. 福 hok good fortune; blessing; happiness + 州 chew prefecture; Mand. Fúzhōu] Foochow.
n. & a. [Hk. 福 hok good fortune; blessing; happiness +
build, construct, erect; establish, set up; Mand. Fújiàn; poss. < Mand.
Foochow or Hokchew, the provincial seat and largest prefecture-level city of
Fujian Province (zhōu prefecture) + 建(瓯
Jiàn(ōu a county-level city of 南平
Nánpíng (a prefecture-level city: nán south + píng calm, peaceful,
quiet) in Fujian Province (ōu dial. bowl; cup)] A n. 1 An inhabitant of
Fujian (Fukien), a province on the south-east coast of China, or a descendant
thereof living in another part of the world. 2 The Chinese dialect
of Fujian, also known as Mǐn Nán [Mand. 闽南 Southern
Min: Mǐn another name of Fujian Province + nán south], which is
widely spoken in Singapore. B a. Of or pertaining to Fujian,
its culture, and its inhabitants or persons who trace their ancestry thereto.
A 1 1895 Geographical Journal, no. 3, 290 The Chinese [in Singapore] are principally Tinchus or Taichus..; other clans or provinces are represented in the following order: Hokkiens, Kehs, and Macaos. 1927 Richard John Hamilton Sidney In British Malaya To-Day, ch. 12, 144 Trouble had been brewing between Hok-kiens and the Teo-chews for some time. 1966 Maurice Freedman Chinese Lineage and Society, ch. 3, 95 People will assume for all Hakka or Hokkien or Cantonese or Tiuchiu that.. [etc.] 1999 Lynn Pan (ed.) The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas 203 Status distinctions apart, Chinese groups divided along speech lines. In his 1848 article, Seah [Eu Chin], a Teochiu speaker himself, named five other speech groups: Hokkien, Cantonese (also called ‘Macao Chinese’), Hakka and Hainanese. To these five may be added those who came to Singapore – in lesser numbers – from the speech areas of Henghua (Xinghua), Hokchia (Fuqing), Fuzhou and Sanjiang (that is, ‘the three jiang’: Jiangxi, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, the natives of whom were often commonly if inaccurately identified as ‘Shanghainese’ in Singapore). The speech-based groupings into which the China-born community was fragmented – called bang in Chinese – were given spatial expression by colonial policy. .. Raffles had suggested as early as 1822 that in establishing the Chinese areas of the city, the authorities should consider that ‘the people of one province are more quarrelsome than another, and that continued disputes and disturbances take place between people of different provinces.’ Thus Hokkiens were concentrated on Telok Ayer and Amoy Streets, Teochius lived closer to the banks of the Singapore River, while Cantonese came to be associated with the Kreta Ayer area and so on. 204 Both Hokkiens and Teochius were in economic sectors with significant rates of capital accumulation. .. Today, Hokkiens by far outnumber other speech groups. Teochius rank second and Cantonese third.. 2 1865 Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, no. 13, 32 The mandarin word.. becomes pak in Hok-Këen. 1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 191 Of foreign languages, Chinese, of course, is spoken by the great majority, i.e., using the word “Chinese” as we should use “European,” each so-called “dialect” being in reality a distinct language. These “dialects” are Cantonese (Macao), Teochew, Hokien, Hylam, and Hakka or Keh. Of these there are several sub-divisions, being true dialects. 1957 Maurice Freedman Chinese Family and Marriage in Singapore 9 Of all the so-called Chinese dialects in use in Singapore Hokkien was the most common. 1970 R. Bruce Cantonese 1 Hokkien is the speech of the Amoy and other places in South Fukien. 1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 86 [H]e mostly communicated with his schoolfriends in Hokkien although Mandarin is the official language in school. Similarly the only dialects spoken in the family are Hokkien and Teochew (Swee Poh comes from a Hokkien-speaking family, but is also conversant in Teochew because they have always stayed in Teochew neighbourhoods) although all members of the family except the parents have been educated in Chinese schools. 2005 Colin Chee The Electric New Paper, 12 July. In our three-storey SIT (Singapore Improvement Trust) flat, we had.. Chinese families speaking in Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew and Hainanese. 2006 Richard Spencer The Daily Telegraph, 25 March, 4, col. 1 Fujian is the south-eastern Chinese province long associated with emigration. Many of the ethnic Chinese of south-east Asian countries like Singapore are Fujianese, and speak the distinctive local dialect, Hokkien. 2006 Li Xueying (quoting Tan Chip Bah) The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 21 April. Fruit-seller Tan Chip Bah, 58, approached her and said in Hokkien: ‘I think I’ll bring pears and apples for everyone because they’re easier to eat. Not watermelons, because very troublesome to cut.’ B 1832 Walter Henry Medhurst A Dictionary of the Hok-Këèn Dialect of the Chinese Language [title] 1841 [J. Legge] A Lexilogus of the English, Malay, and Chinese Languages; Comprehending the Vernacular Idioms of the Last in the Hok-Keen and Canton Dialects [title] 1893 Richard P. Wallaschek Primitive Music, ch. 6, 185 In the native Hokken (Fo-kieen) pronouncing dictionaries, the Chinese characters are divided into eight classes to correspond with the number of tones. 1952 ‘Han Suyin’ (Elizabeth Comber) A Many-Splendoured Thing, ch. 7, 178 François shouted encouragement to the fishermen in French, and John Tam translated into Hokkien dialect.
Hokkien mee, Hokkien fried mee /mee,
Hokkien] A Hokkien dish consisting of either slightly flat
yellow noodles, or a mixture of
Kway Teow, fried in a gravy with
egg, cuttlefish (Sotong),
Fishcake, prawns, pieces of belly pork, etc., and usually
served with lime and chilli sauce on the side.
2005 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 31 July. Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee .. Ng Hock Wah learnt his skills from his father when he was 12 and set up his own stall in Hougang when he was 17. Now 58, he says the secret to his noodle dish is the attention he pays to the stock and his control over the fire. Ingredients like prawn shells, ikan bilis, clams and garlic are added one by one at accorded times. The result is a taste so rich that he does not need lard, the short cut used by lesser hawkers. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Wong Hon Mun) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 30 July, L28 What Malaysian dish can’t you find in Singapore? / Hokkien mee. Where I come from, it has thick noodles and fried with a dark sauce. It looks black and is completely different from the Singapore version. 2010 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 25 July, 20 Hokkien mee, thick yellow noodles braised in a dark sauce and stock..
Hokkien peng /peng,
n. [Hk. 兵 peng
soldier; Mand. bīng] A soldier
who is Hokkien-speaking or of Hokkien extraction; transf.
a soldier with little or no formal education who speaks mainly in a Chinese
dialect (not necessarily Hokkien).
2004 Joey Yeo The Straits Times, 12 August, H6 It was quite a sight to see Maj Lee [Hsien Loong], articulate Cambridge-educated President’s and SAF Scholar, and the commanding officer, talking and joking with Staff Sergeant Lim, a ‘Hokkien peng’ (dialect-speaking soldier) and a battery sergeant-major.
/hong bow, hʊŋ baʊ/ n.
[Hanyu Pinyin transliteration of Mand.
hóngbāo money award or gift (usu. presented in a red bag
or wrapped in red paper); red envelope filled with money that is usu. given to
someone as a bonus, gift, reward or donation: hóng red + bāo bundle, package, pack, packet, parcel
1 A small red envelope or packet used to contain
money which are given by the Chinese as gifts during the Chinese New Year, for
2 A gift of money in a hongbao.
¶ Known in Hk. as Angpow.
1 2005 The Straits Times, 22 December, H9 Cheok Keuw Bridal sells auspicious wedding items, from wooden clogs and kerosene lamps given as dowry or betrothal presents during traditional Chinese weddings, to sewing kits, red hongbao packets and bright red plastic washbasins. 2006 The Sunday Times, 8 January, 16 Give used notes in hongbao, HK people told [title] Hong Kong wants people to eschew the tradition of stuffing crisp new bank notes into the Chinese New Year hongbao to avoid wasting resources. People should put used cash instead.. Locals usually flock to banks to get newly minted currency to put into the red packets for the Chinese New Year.. 2 2001 Neil Humphreys Notes from an Even Smaller Island 86 Unlike their parents and grandparents, most young Singaporeans have experienced nothing but economic growth. Their childhood has been one of continual housing upgrading, decent education, modern shopping centres and fat hong baos, or red packets containing money that are given out at Chinese New Year. 2001 Nursiah Abdullah The Sunday Times, 7 January, H1 We survive because I keep the hongbao I receive from agencies and use them when I need to. 2001 Braema Mathi The Sunday Times, 7 January, H2 The Singapore Buddhist Lodge Welfare Foundation gave $305,000 worth of hongbao.. to 3,809 old folk under the public-assistance scheme. 2002 Leong Pik Yin The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 4 February, P10 Crisp $2 and $10 bills for red packet (hongbao) distribution. 2005 The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 30 September. Poly gets $12.1m hongbao [title]. Ngee Ann Polytechnic has received a $12.1 million ‘red packet’ from the Teochew philanthropic foundation it is named after. 2005 Teo Pau Lin The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 1 October. Chinese wedding menus are so predictable these days you can recite them backwards. But before you consider retracting your hongbao at the sight of another prawn salad, don’t be too quick to blame the newlyweds for their lack of culinary imagination. 2005 Theresa Tan (quoting Goh Chee Lock) The Straits Times, 23 December, H5 [H]e said time had passed so quickly that he did not notice Christmas was just round the corner. He joked: “I told my wife I will give her a hongbao as I have no time to buy her a present.” 2009 Frankie Chee The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 January, 2 [R]ed is what older singles cannot help turning when they face the annual dilemma of whether to accept hongbao (red money packets given as tokens of well wishes). Local Chinese custom dictates that only married couples can give hongbao, not unmarried folk. It can result in awkward social situations where younger married couples – presumably needing to watch every cent they spend as they start their families – dole out dosh to less-needy older, single relatives.
/haw, hɔː/ int.
[origin unkn., poss. Hk.] An exclamation used in the middle or end of sentences for
2001 Koh Boon Pin The Straits Times, 3 March 2001, H5 Please hor, next time, if customers want to try a new piece, tell them they cannot. How can they try already and don’t want to buy it? 2005 Wong Kim Hoh The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 30 October. Wah, you quite brave hor... 2005 Cornelius Kan Wai-Chung Today, 18 November, 40 Perhaps next time I’ll teach them how to construct advanced Singlish sentences such as, “not say I say you, but hor, you very like that one leh!”
/haw fun, hɔː fʌn/ n. [Cant.
a kind of noodles made from
buckwheat, sorghum flour,
rice flour; crumbs (of rice) (Eitel); Mand.
kind of noodles made from
buckwheat, sorghum flour,
+ fěn noodle (Chi.–Eng.
2 A Chinese dish consisting of
fried with various ingredients such as prawns, pieces of
or beef (beef hor fun), and served in gravy.
1 2011 Huang Lijie The Straits Times (Home), 11 July, B5 [T]hin rice flour noodles known as Ipoh hor fun.. 2 2001 Tee Hun Ching The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 14 January, P9 The usual hawker fare such as laksa, hor fun and yong tau fu. 2001 Cat Ong (quoting Ase Wang) The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 11 February, P8 I love to eat.. apple strudel after my beef hor fun. 2002 Chua Minyi The Sunday Times, 31 March, 30 Enter a world where Muslims are digging their chopsticks into wanton mee, yong tau foo and hotplate hor fun. 2006 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 March. I felt like a starving man arriving at the famous Geylang Lorong 9 beef hor fun stall, only to be told that they’d decided to replace the beef with imitation crabstick at the last minute.
Comb.: Ipoh Hor Fun
Sam Lo Hor Fun
/haw miah, hɔː mɪɑ/ n. [Hk.
hăomìng] A comfortable existence, a good life.
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 67 The spoil set in through the air created by the hor miah. 137 hor miah. Good life.
Eng. horn n.] Sound a
2000 Cindy Lim, The Straits Times, 1 April, 54 He kept horning at me but I was so blur. 2003 ‘Mr Brown’ (Lee Kin Mun) Today, 5 December, 54 Those violent car drivers who horn 0.2 seconds after the light turns green can be really scary in Singapore.
[poss. a comb. of Eng.
Awful, dreadful, hopeless.
1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 43 Horrigible. Describes person worse than horrible.
hotplate n. [< Eng.
hot + plate] A thick, usu. black, metal serving dish that is
heated over a flame in order to cook food or keep it warm. Also attrib.
2008 Huang Lijie The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 23 November, 24 [D]ishes such as.. hotplate tofu..
n. [poss. Eng. tr. of Mand. 火锅 huǒguō
chafing dish: huǒ fire + guō pan, pot; boiler, cauldron (Comp.
2007 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Jereme Leung) The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 29 April. [T]hree times a week after work, I would go to a hotpot restaurant in Shanghai alone and stay there for two hours. I’d read and not talk to anyone. The best thing is, the food is always hot. 2008 Shermaine Wong Weekend Today, 22–23 November 2008, 32 [S]teamboats – otherwise called hotpots – .. are a hit across East Asia, whatever the different cultures call it.
/hooaht kway, huːɑt kʊeɪ/
n. [Hk. 发 huat [..] + 粿 köéy pastry,
Mand. fā (of foodstuffs) rise or expand when fermented or soaked + guǒ (literary language)
powder made from rice or wheat (Comp.
Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] A spongy steamed cake of Chi. origin.
2006 The Straits Times (Urban) (from Straits Times Interactive), 9 November. Spotted Dick.. tastes like a lighter version of the dark brown huat kueh (Hokkien for risen cakes) that are used as prayer offerings. 2009 Chris Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 28 June, 21 Toddy was once used all over Asia as a source of live yeast to ferment batters and doughs ranging from Portuguese-Goan breads and Eurasian blueder (dough cake) to Filipino bibingka, Chinese huat kuih, Indonesian kueh ambon and Keralan appam. 2011 Chris Tan (quoting Doris Goh Siew Lee) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 26 June, 22 Q. I have made the traditional steamed sponge cake so many times and failed to produce the really light fluffy texture with the “huat” (top split). .. A. The “huat” happens when rapidly rising batter bursts through the kueh’s top skin, which sets quickly, during the first few minutes of steaming. Eggless huat kueh expands mostly in the steamer, as the leavening agents and yeast generate gas.
hum chim peng
/hum zheem bang,
hʌm dʒiːm baŋ/
saltish taste, bitter, brackish +
煎 tsín to fry,
to grill; to dry by the fire +
pastry, cakes; water dumpings (Eitel); Mand.
xián salty +
jiān deep-fried +
bǐng round, flat cake
A Chinese deep-fried pastry made of salted and sweetened dough.
2003 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times, 5 October, L39 Hum chim peng.. This salty deep-fried dough pastry is made from a 50-year-old family recipe. 2011 Thng Lay Teen The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 25 December, 22 My other favourites are hum cheem paeng, a savoury bun flavoured with a sprinkling of five-spice powder (70 cents) and the sweet version with red bean paste filling (70 cents). Slightly crispy on the outside, the bun’s fluffy soft texture is a pleasure to bite into. The red bean paste is smooth and the sweetness is just right.
Hungry Ghost Festival
[Eng. transl. of Hk. 饿鬼 yeow guai hungry ghost: yeow hungry +
guai ghost (Cant. ngo kwai the hungry spirits of deceased persons (Eitel); Mand.,
hungry ghosts, who are propitiated on the 15th of the seventh lunar month; an
uninvited guest (Mathews): è
hungry + guǐ ghost (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)) + Eng.
festival; compare 鬼节 guǐ jié the
festival of demons on the 15th of the seventh lunar month (Mathews)] A Chinese
festival, known in Mand. as 中元节 Zhōngyuán Jié [zhōng
middle, mid + yuán first, primary + jié festival], marked on the 15th day of the
seventh lunar month (August or September of the Gregorian calendar) which is
held to pacify the souls of persons believed not to be properly cared for after
their death, or of those who have died an unnatural death or who have had an
improper or no burial. It is commemorated with ceremonies involving the offering
of food and prayers; such ceremonies are often held outdoors to prevent
wandering spirits from entering homes and causing disturbances in households.
Other rituals associated with the festival and the whole of the seventh lunar
month include the burning of replica paper money (Hell
Money) and cars, houses and household items made of paper to enable
spirits to live comfortably in hell; the lighting of lanterns to guide spirits
to ceremonial feasts set out for them; and the holding of outdoor performances
Getai and Chinese operas to entertain spirits and ensure that they do not cause
trouble. The seventh lunar month is regarded as unlucky and thus to be avoided
for events such as weddings, moving house or starting a new business.
¶ The Hungry Ghost Festival is believed to be of Buddhist and Taoist origin. A Skt. sutra attributed to the Buddha associated with the institution of the festival is that of the story of Mu Lan’s mother. While meditating, Mu Lan, a monk blessed with divine sight, discovered his deceased mother as a diseased hungry ghost. His attempts to feed her failed when the food he gave her became charcoal. Mu Lan petitioned the Buddha who advised that only the combined merit of all of the local monks could release his mother from her torment. Mu Lan was to offer a variety of foods and delicacies on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month on behalf of his mother and his family’s previous seven generations. The monks would accept these offerings and, by their joint virtues, Mu Lan’s ancestors would become deities. As a result of his actions Mu Lan’s mother was saved. Gratefully, he asked the Buddha if other filial sons should hold such a feast to save parents and restore them from otherwise horrid fates. Buddha responded that every year on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month they should remember their parents and ancestors with piety and compassion, and repay their parents for their care and love by preparing a feast for offering to the Buddha and the monks.
The ghostly aspect of the seventh lunar month emerged from the Taoist concept of hell. Imprisoned in its lowest reaches, ghosts may leave hell only with special permission of its king. This privilege is granted only if a ghost receives no offerings to provide for its welfare, and therefore must return to the living to take what it can. Buddhism incorporated the Taoist hell into the tradition of the seventh month, known as 盂兰盆 Yúlánpén, derived from the Skt. ūrvulambana [उवऀ ūrva a receptacle (for water); a reservoir; a cloud; an enclosed space, a stable for cattle; a prison, captivity (?) < वृ vṛi to screen, cover, cover over, conceal, hide; encompass, surround, envelop; to restrain, keep back, ward off; to prevent, impede, obstruct, hinder, check, stop; resist, confine + ळमबन lambana hanging down, depending, pendulous; causing to hang down < ळमब् lamb to hang down, depend, dangle, hang from, hang on or upon, depend on or from; sink, sink down, go down, decline, fall, set (as the sun) (Monier-Williams)], signifying the emptying out of hell, as one empties a bowl by turning it upside down. The Taoist version favored the term Putu, signifying a crossing over or a general amnesty for the souls of the dead in hell. This amnesty commences on the first day of the seventh lunar month when the gates of hell are opened and the ghosts are permitted to roam the earth looking for whatever food they may find. On the 15th day, the feeding of the souls is attended to and each family offers a banquet for the ghosts. By the 30th day the ghosts must return to hell. See Darren A. Bryant, “Ancestors and Ghosts: The Philosophic and Religious Origins of the Hungry Ghost Festival” (1993, rev. 2001, accessed on 23 November 2008).
2001 Ong Siew Chey The Straits Times, 27 November, 16 The festival originated from Buddhism and not from Taoism. The legend was probably first recorded in the Tang Dynasty about 1,400 years ago, and was about Yu Lan Pen, or ‘extreme suffering’, in Sanskrit. It seemed that a woman, who had sinned in life, was suffering as a ‘hungry ghost’ in hell. Food brought near her mouth would immediately become burning coals. Her son Mu Lan, a devout Buddhist, attained deity status and was able to see his mother’s suffering. Through prayers and charitable work, he managed to save his mother from her terrible fate. This legend probably led to the practice of offering food to hungry ghosts at the Yu Lan Pen festival, on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. How the festival became connected to Taoism is not clear. Perhaps it is because Taoism, as it is practised today, is mainly about the worship of a sundry collection of deities and dealing with the souls of the dead. It is understandable that the Hungry Ghost Festival turned into a Taoist practice. .. The Hungry Ghost Festival has evolved as a Singaporean tradition over the last 30 years to become a social occasion. 2006 Sarah Ng The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 29 June. The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated by Taoists and Buddhists, who believe that the gates of hell open every year during the seventh month of the lunar calendar to allow the souls of the dead to roam the earth. Businesses in real estate, home renovation and wedding banquets have been known to slow down during that period because of the belief that it is inauspicious to move house, renovate, or get married. 2006 Shen Shi’an The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 4 July. In the article, ‘Double ghost months send business jitters’ (ST, June 29), it was mentioned that ‘the Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated by Taoists and Buddhists, who believe that the gates of Hell open every year during the seventh lunar month to allow the souls of the dead to roam the earth’. On behalf of the Buddhist community, I would like to point out three major errors in that statement. Firstly, Buddhists do not exactly celebrate during the entire seventh month, as the main celebration falls on the 15th day, which marks the Ullambana Festival. Instead of being inauspicious, this is an especially auspicious day for Buddhists as it historically coincides with Pravarana Day, the end of the annual rains retreat in the Buddha’s time. On this day, many monks and nuns who have attained enlightenment gather to announce to the Buddha their spiritual attainment. It is thus also known as ‘The Buddha’s Day of Rejoice’ [sic]. The Buddha encouraged the use of this special occasion to make various offerings to the noble monastic community and the less fortunate, so as to dedicate the garnered merits for the well-being of one’s deceased parents and relatives, some of whom might unfortunately have been reborn as hungry ghosts due to great craving. Prayers are also made by chanting to share Buddhist teachings with them. It is also encouraged to make offerings to create merits for one's living parents on this ‘Day of Filial Piety’. Secondly, in Buddhism, the gates of Hell do not open during the seventh month. The realm of hungry ghosts is distinct from the realm of hells, where suffering is generally without much respite, though never eternal, due to the limits of negative karma. However, hell beings can also benefit from merits dedicated to them to alleviate their suffering. Another distinction to be made is that of wandering spirits, who are beings so attached to their previous lives that they roam our world before finally being reborn. They, too, can benefit from merits created to guide them to better rebirths. Thirdly, there is no concept of ‘soul’ in Buddhism, as all beings are seen to have constantly changing consciousness or ‘mindstreams’, and are thus able to evolve spiritually for the better in terms of perfecting their compassion and wisdom. In the above sense, the seventh lunar month should have no ill effect for Buddhists, as we already co-exist with mostly unseen wandering spirits and hungry ghosts, while the realm of Hell is another world. However, when we make a fuss out of unseen beings, who are mostly harmless, supernatural incidents naturally seem to increase. 2006 Hong Xinyi The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 6 August, L6 The month-long festivities kick off every year in a desolate corner of Kallang Park, where the 200 or so members of the Singapore-Malaysia Getai Artistes Association mark the first day of the Hungry Ghost Festival with a midnight prayer ceremony under a makeshift tent. Taking place on July 25 this year, the getai folk burn hell money in a giant bin, praying for a safe and profitable seventh month. .. According to a Buddhist Sanskrit legend, Mu Lian, one of Buddha’s disciples, started offering food to monks to save his dead mother from suffering in hell. Buddhists mainly celebrate the seventh month on the 15th day, which marks an auspicious day known as the Ullambana Festival. Taoists believe that the 15th day of the seventh lunar month is the birthday of Ti-kuan Ta-ti (the Earth Deity), the Taoist deity with the power to pardon human sins. In Singapore, these religious beliefs have merged with folklore to create a festival rife with its own urban legends and rituals. Mothers warn children not to stay out late and to refrain from swimming, and the seventh month is also considered inauspicious for weddings and buying real estate. Sociologist Kwok Kian Woon, 50, believes these practices stem from “religious beliefs that are based on polydeism (the existence of many gods) and animism (the belief that spirits inhabit nature).” L9 The central belief behind the Hungry Ghost festival is that the gates of hell open on the first day of the lunar seventh month, and all ghosts are allowed to wander the earth for one month before they have to return to the underworld again.