Thursday, March 01, 2007

Chinese New Year: Thoughts from Hong Kong

A nice article from

So more people are wearing red these days, as lunar fashion dictates local trends. One popular hairdresser, who cut my hair exactly once several months ago, was entirely booked out for the two weeks preceding the New Year - 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Workaholics Anonymous would surely prosper in Hong Kong, if only people got off work in time to attend the late night sessions.) Then again, some industrious white-collar workers are shelling out several hundreds of HK$ to take lessons in proper enunciation, with the expectation of shedding off the pedestrian, and epidemic, "lazy cantonese" heard around the territory. So remember, it's "bai neen", not "bai leen".

Speaking of which, the annual round of new year's greetings is not to be taken lightly...


Anonymous said...

it's "bai neen", not "bai leen".

Why is it? I don't understand that statement because i think its the second one.

burntbreadboy said...

Well apparently 'leen' is the popular, colloquial pronounciation but 'neen' is the correct, formal pronounciation. There are loads of words like this that I have no clue about!

Using formal pronounciations gives you a slightly more professional, upper class image. That's the idea anyway.