“Encontro” serves a few purposes.
It is a chance for “Encounters”
– a meeting of Macanese from all over the world
with friends, relatives and acquaintances. A gathering
again of our far flung communities to renew old friendships.
the same time it is also a chance to celebrate our heritage
and our history.
history is that we are the direct descendants of Portuguese
who from 1557 settled on the coast of China and intermarried
with natives of the Far East – especially natives
from China—and thus produced our mixed culture and
other things we celebrate is our background, our religion,
our food and our patois.
Patois is what I want to talk about today.
are two words in the English language which sound very
similar. Entomology and etymology. Entomology is the scientific
study of Insects. We will not go into that now. Etymology
is the study of the origins of words and phrases. This
is what we will discuss as it relates to our Macanese
list a few words:-
AZINHA (quickly, rapidly). This is a
genuine Portuguese word that has gone out of use in the
mother country today. Perhaps in the 17th and 18th century
it was still used. However, it is much used in our patois
ANCUSA (some thing) It is a corruption
of the Portuguese-Alguma Coisa.
AH MUI (A young Chinese girl) The word
is from the old Chinese practice of adopting young girls
for servitude – the Mui Tsai system.
ARRAVIRO (Mischievous and naughty) –
a word from the Malay-Hara-Biro.
ADE SALGADO (Salted duck). The preferred
word for a duck in Portugal today is Pato, although Adem
is sometimes used. Pato Salmoirado is the Chinese Larp
ALUR (Sweet Christmas candy) Adapted
from the Indian Halwa. The Chinese version is Chu Yao
BONCO (hunchback) A Malay word.
BEBINGA (A pudding – as in bebinga
de leite or as a savoury – as in bebinga de nabo).
The Indians use Bebinga for sweet layered pancakes over
which a sweet sauce is poured. The Filipinos have a bebinga
pancake as a breakfast food.
BAGATE (a love spell). An Indian word
to denote a spell on someone of the opposite sex.
CACOOSE (lavatory, latrine) Originally
a Dutch word which was used by the Malays and then by
the Portuguese of Malaca. The Dutch – “Cack
Huis” – literally means S _ _t House.
CHACHA (a sweet drink – usually
with sago and coconut juice as in Bobo Chaccha.) A Malay
CUSCUS (To steam cook) A methos of cooking
from the Portuguese territory of Cape Verde.
CHUBI, CHIPI, CHOLER (To pinch, squeeze,
prod with a utensil) All three are Malay words.
CAVA (later, afterwards) From the Portuguese
CHONCAR (To collide) From the Portuguese
GUNGDOONG (A swelling of a body part).
For instance “Bate cabeca sai gungdoong”,
from the Malay.
KARA (black streaks of dirt on one’s
body) A Malay word which was originally used to describe
black burnt rice at the bottom of a cooking pot.
LALALA (clams) A Malay word.
La Lee Loong (A robber, a thief) Derived from the Portuguese
Ladrao. This word is more often used when speaking to
a Chinese and not used among Macanese.
OLHO DECCA (anus, rectum) Derived from
the Portuguese “Olho de Cu”. A somewhat less
vulgar rendering of ‘’asshole”.
STRIKA (To iron) A Dutch word later used
by the Malays and passed into our patois. In Portugal
they say “passar ferro”.
SIPUTE (a type of edible snail) A Malay
SAYANG (a pity, a nostalgic longing)
A Malay word – now much used in our patois.
TOC-TOC (crazy, demented) Derived from
the Portuguese “Toque” i.e. touched.
TANKAREIRA (a Chinese boatwoman) Derived
from Chinese and Portuguese. As in “Tanka”
– a small boat and reira – a female.
Silva is a Macanese living in California after migrating
to the USA some 30 years ago with his wife and family.
Both sides of Jim's family were part of the early Macanese
pioneers who settled in Hong Kong after moving over from
Macau shortly after the British settled there. At 76 years
old Jim has lived through interesting times; as the Japanese
invaded Hong Kong after Pearl Harbour, he spent four years
in Macau as a refugee finishing his high school education.
Jim continues to be active in Macanese affairs in the
Bay Area and was president of UMA in San Francisco, as
well as State Board President. He is the author of: We
Macanese (2005), All Our Yesterdays, a booklet that tells
of the Macanese past, as well as two other booklets: Things
I Remember, a series of nostalgic essays on the Macanese
life, and Portugal -- Some Tales From Her Past.