For those of you who aren’t familiar of 台山 “Toisan” (or Taishan)…
Toisan is the county in southern China, near Canton, where most of the early Chinese to North America hail from. Hell, almost all the who’s who multi-generational Chinese ABC’s and CBC’s (American born Chinese / Canadian born Chinese) have Toisan ancestry.
Kuul, eh? English speaking Chinese leaders like, former Washington state Governor, Gary Locke, and former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson.
We received a plug from a fan of Mr Toisan… and quite enjoyed his (her?) twisted humour! www.mrtoisan.com
From the Mr Toisan website:
Welcome to THE Village… sort of… not really.
Welcome to the Toisan Lives blog!
Where does the sudden love of Toisan and desire to spread the good language come from? It stems from my childhood, to which I vividly remember conversing with my grandmother. I can still feel the effects of the spit-filled words and funny dialect that no one else could decipher.
Although my Chinese consists mostly of Cantonese, I still love a good conversation in Toisan. However, I have noticed that the language is dying and I am determined to keep it alive. How am I doing this? Most of my friends have relatives with a Toisan background and can understand the language. I speak as often as I can in Toisan to these friends, most notably Christopher Dea. They laugh when I converse with them in Toisan but they will only respond in English. They don’t want their Toisan to be heard.
Therefore, I’ve come up with a great idea. If the good language will not be spoken, it can be expressed on a t-shirt! This will keep Toisan on the map. PLUS, wearing these shirts will bring all sorts of Toisan brothers and sisters together, especially the closeted Toisanese (you know who you are!). Imagine wearing a Toisan Lives t-shirt and meeting someone from the same village as you!
He’s got more…
Growing up my parents and grandparents often acted as doctors.
I don’t know, but they seem to have a cure for most illnesses. The local Tak Shing Hong gave them this God-like ability to heal all. It was not difficult for them to retrieve herbal medicine and boil it until you get that nasty aroma that causes you to vomit instantly. Apparently Haw Flakes will solve that flavor of a problem. Go figure. The boiled herbal medicine is usually a remedy for your serious and often lingering illnesses. But for your headaches, stomachaches and bruises you can easily take care of that with chinese ointment. My late grandmother in particular always carried around this small bottle of “Bauk Fah Yiu” (white flower oil). Its oily and smelly like most chinese ointments and I’m not too sure if its really made from white flowers (is that even a flower?). My grandmother was often dizzy from watching too many chinese dramas and those long bus rides to and from Chinatown. All she had to do was pull out that small bottle of smelly oil and rub it on her head and she was good to go.
Every time I had a stomachache they would rub that stuff over my stomach. Definitely an acquired smell and it also felt a little bit like menthol. I hate to admit it but some of these remedies to do work because they smell and taste so horrible but mostly because I don’t like the fact that my parents and grandparents can act like they have the solution to all medical problems.
Growing up, there were countless times I was labeled “moh yoong.”
I was “moh yoong” for many reasons: dropping my food on the floor, forgetting my homework at home, not doing my chores, watching too much TV, breaking a window, lighting stuff on fire, beating up my brother… etc. But it usually rang loudest when I brought home my report card and attended parent-teacher conferences. Lets just say I was not the scholarly type growing up and my brother was the overachieving type. He had to go and get straight A’s all the time, managed to skip a grade and was a usual favorite to most of his teachers. In the eyes of my parents, my future didn’t look too bright. They didn’t know what to do with me.
Heck, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I just didn’t care enough to work hard. I always managed to get by and I still do. I turned 27 today and I started to think back to all the things I’ve done since I graduated high school. I was blown away by how much I actually managed to do the last 9 years. I managed to graduate high school and college, maintain a job, and marry an awesome girl who can only say “pai gwut” and nothing else. I guess being “moh yoong” isn’t so bad after all.
There’s more on the Mr Toisan blogsite: http://toisanlives.blogspot.ca/?spref=fb