Articles from the original website

Crash Course on Saturday!

Saturday February 14: You’ve had chocolate and romantic meals so many times in your life. Why not spend this Valentine’s Day morning on something useful? Like learning Cantonese through the excellent medium of dim sum?

Old Granny New Posting

I love you, kung fu! As the famous bluegrass composer Hank Scraggsville always said. What, didn’t I post this only a few days ago? Yes, but this time I have included the sound or transliteration

Down With Simplified Characters

In a country where the government is so hysterically set on everybody doing everything the government way, for example by banning beautiful, normal Chinese characters on buildings (it must be ‘crippled’, i.e. simplified characters or

Back By Popular Demand: Classifiers

Photo: 四個靚女 (sei go leeng loy, 4 beautiful girls) Classifiers, measure words, counting words, whatever you want to call them, they are a vital feature of Cantonese. Here you can learn some of them through

Pro Cantonese Column SCMP

Four years ago thousands of people demonstrated for Cantonese in Guangzhou. Meanwhile the mainland government (aided and abetted by the HK one and Hong Kong and mainland people are hard at work trying to eradicate

New Series! Countries Of The World In Cantonese

Today: Switzerland 瑞士 Soi si

Super-quick Way To Learn Cantonese: Yam Cha!

Oh, Australia! Even yam cha is great there. Normally no one can quite get it right outside China (my experience consists only of Norway, the USA and Australia though) but in Australia they’ve got it

Space-saving English

“OK, we’ll have to write Seafood and Hotpot here in English too” “Oh shit! We’re run out of space!” “That’s okay. Just shorten it where you can. No one is going to read it anyway.”

Marching For Mother Tongue

Yesterday was July 1st, what was meant to be a good opportunity for Hong Kong people to worship at the altar of the mainland, thanking its kind government for rescuing us from the slimy claws



Make 2013 a Canto Year!

Have you made any New Year resolutions this year? I have. One of them is total world domination by Cantonese – while allowing the other languages to live too. Yes, that’s just the kind of fundamentalist I am.
This year we’ll see a greater emphasis on practical learning, i.e. learning by doing. And by doing I mean: Drinking in bars, ordering food in restaurants (with a crash course in reading a Chinese menu thrown in) – going to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, taking taxis etc.

For what wait you? Throw yourself into Canto this month and be fluent before Christmas! Time waits for no man. The more people in your group, the less each person has to pay. Make 2013 the year you finally conquered the Canto.

Today’s Classifier

Repeat after me: YAT JEK GAU 一隻狗 ONE DOG

That’s right! “Jek” (隻) is the classifier for mammals, things of which there are two (一隻眼睛)yat jek an jeng (one eye), round things, so an eye is double whammy, and of course boats.

That was today’s classifier – have a good Canto weekend!


There’s a place formerly ‘just outside’ now in Shenzhen called 西麗湖, Sai Lai Wu,West Beautiful Lake. It’s a kind of resort in that there are rooms and some trees around it, as well as a large outdoor pool where you can Tarzan with a rope. You can also fish.

I used to go there a lot when my fight for Cantonese world supremacy was in its infancy, bringing students there for ‘language seminars’ which meant drinking and playing cards. Then the place closed down in 2002 for repairs. Last Friday I thought the repairs must be finished by now, and was very excited when I googled the reformed West Beautiful Lake and found this:
Blogworthy or what!!!! I was longing to wake up in that room with a hangover.

Alas, the information was totally false. Someone had just taken a picture of … a nouveau riche mainlander’s living room? and posted it there. The rooms in West Beautiful Lake were completely ordinary, and absolutely no refurbishment had taken place since I was last there, with the possible exception of a carp pool in the reception. In fact, what had happened during the last five years was the place had been allowed to decay in peace, completely uninterrupted. It was wonderful.

I asked the receptionist, who immediately answered me in Cantonese!!!! what had happened during the last five years of refurbishment and she said they now had fishing.
“But you had that before?”
“Now we have a big outdoor pool.”
“Like before?”
“Er … horseback riding?”
“Just like before.”
“We have a restaurant.”
“Also like before … but possibly moved?”
“He he he.”
“Ha ha ha.”

The “new” restaurant unfortunately didn’t have yam cha, only Canto-slop, so we trudged on down to nearby 南蓉大酒店 Lam Yong Daai Jau Dim, for refreshments. Waaaah, fantastic dim sum! Especially a thing I’ve never tasted before: Pea Cake:

Brilliant! And this all a stone throw from 深圳灣 Sam Jan Waan (Shenzhen Bay) where there’s a completely unused crossing into Hong Kong. What’s not to love?

It rained the whole time, so apart from a brief food sojourn what we did was stare wistfully at the lake:

and leave. Excellent! Recommended!

Contact us today


to find out how you can start learning Cantonese.