CantoRead Blog


Eating a lemon

To eat a lemon is to experience the bitter, sour and unpleasant reality of rejection. This phrase is most commonly used to describe romantic rejection and while one can lament the misfortune of having to eat a lemon, one can also coo in the sadistic satisfaction of treating a poor soul to a lemon as in “我請𠈄食檸檬” Lemon eating is not exclusively limited


Cutting the tape

Tyun pian literally means the film or tape has snapped and refers to someone who has had so much to drink the previous night that they can’t remember a thing about it the next morning, or what we refer to in English as blackout drunk. But what has a film got to do with a night of suboptimal decision making? Well imagine your life as a



Although this phrase has a broad range of meanings from arrogant, to flashy and impressive, it is most commonly used as an intensifier, similar to the use of “fucking” in English as in “that’s so fucking cool”, although, ba bai is not as rude and can be used in everyday conversation.


Take the pole off one's shoulder

卸膊 literally means to take the pole off from one’s shoulder and refers to when someone shirks their responsibilities. This makes sense when one thinks about the nature of manual work during much of China’s history. Labourers often carried a pole on one side of their shoulder which would be attached to a bucket of water or some other


Blind fist defeats the master

This phrase literally means “blind fist defeats the master” and basically means beginner’s luck. In Chinese kung fu, there are a variety of different styles from mantis fist, tai chi and drunken style, but despite the popularity of this phrase, there is no such style known as “blind fist”.