18 Things I Learned From Watching HK Cantonese TV Serials

18 Things I learned from watching HK Cantonese TV serials:

  1. When there is a big dinner on a round table, everybody always sit on one half of the table only, even if it means everyone squeezing together. Why nobody dares to sit on THIS side of the table is a great mystery.
  2. Every Hong Kong family’s grandparents (which the family visits once in awhile) strangely looks the same. It’s like every family in the whole HK shares only about 4 or 5 grandparents altogether.
  3. Most people in Hong Kong are pretty good-looking, with clear and fair skin. There are some who are not so good-looking, they mostly work as shop assistants or taxi drivers. Even the triad gangsters are pretty handsome.
  4. Speaking of triad gangsters – no matter how violent or crooked they are, they NEVER swear. Not even bahasa kesat. The worst they ever say is ‘sei phok kai’.
  5. If you are sick or not feeling very well, your mother’s bird’s nest soup or chicken soup can cure everything.
  6. All emergency rooms in the hospital have a light above the door that automatically switches on during life-threatening surgeries. And when the surgery ends, it will automatically turn itself off when the surgeon exits the emergency room. The victim’s family will be anxiously looking at this light all the time.
  7. The aforementioned surgeon exiting the ER, he is always wearing a nice, clean labcoat (even if it was a messy gunshot wound) and is always extremely calm when delivering serious news to the awaiting family.
  8. All the women wear heavy make-up to bed every night. And their hair is perfectly set. They also wear nice, matching pajamas. Nobody wears sexy lingerie or go to bed naked. No siree, bob.
  9. Middle-aged women diligent brush their hair every night before bed, while talking to their husbands. Or they sit in bed and read.
  10. When someone wants to go to sleep at night and turns off the light, when the light goes out immediately a soft blue light shines across faces, but they never notice it.
  11. Whenever someone wants to commit suicide, they always go to this same rocky cliff somewhere in HK. Even if they stay halfway across the island.
  12. Apparently in HK, road side pushcart stalls selling fishball on a stick or smelly beancurd (chou toufu) are very popular.
  13. Every rich family has at least one elderly amah serving them. She usually wears a white samfoo is and calls the master “lou yeh”, and she is called “Ah Ying Cher“.
  14. Back the 80’s, the chief of every police station or CID department is always a kwailou, wearing that ugly green uniform with shorts. And he always speaks impeccable Cantonese, albeit with that annoying accent.
  15. You address a policeman as “Ah-Ser”, or “Ma-Dam” if its a policewoman.
  16. Japanese men visiting HK on business trips are all dirty-minded men. They are always bald-shaven and have a Hitler-style mustache.
  17. Favourite pastime for middle aged women – its mahjong by far. For old men, it’s Chinese chess or bird-rearing.
  18. In the 70’s, series ended with everyone dying (‘ham kar sei sai’). In the 80’s series tended to end with an unresolved question (‘will she wake up from the coma?‘). In the 90’s til now, series have happy endings.


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