BONUS SLANG: SUMMER OLYMPICS EDITION!
As the 2016 Summer Olympics is drawing to a close, what better way to honour it than to have an Summer Olympics Edition of Canto Slang?
EAT CHAR SIU
WTF is that? One sport that’s really caught my attention is volleyball, and the sports commentator during the volleyball matches keeps saying “eat char siu (BBQ pork), eat char siu, eat char siu!” So what is he talking about? Well, my research has revealed that the origins of the slang, “eat char siu”, is relatively new and has only been around for since the early 80’s.
Char siu is Chinese BBQ Pork for those who are wondering. There is a particular situation to use the “eat char siu” term in volleyball. This particular situation is when the serve or volley from one team (A) lands very close to the net; thereby creating an extremely good opportunity for the opposing team (B) to slam it back into the other team’s (A) court. In this situation, it was very easy to “eat char siu” for team B.
If you’re still not sure what that looks like, take a look at the last spike during the Olympic women finals game between China and Serbia at around the 1:44 sec mark in the above video. The China team served a ball that got the Serbia team to return a ball very close to the net; thus creating a “eat char siu” chance for the China team to smack it sharply back into Serbia’s court, and consequently winning the Gold medal.
The origin of this slang dates back to 1983 and to one particular volleyball commentator, Mr. Lui (雷礼义). Mr. Lui, which the HK people call Lui Sir is from Taishan, China, but moved to HK when he was very little. In 1982, he had the opportunity to be a referee for a volleyball match in Argentina, and after that TVB, a well known local TV station in HK, hired Mr. Lui in 1983 to become their volleyball commentator. During his commentaries, he gets really into the game, and he would often yell out “chance!” when he saw an opportunity for a team to spike back the ball to win a point. There is a particular situation when he likes to use “chance”, which is the same situation as the “eat char siu” situation.
Due to his unfamiliarity of the English language, when Lui Sir pronounces “Chance!”, it in reality sounds like “Char Siu!” instead. That’s how “eat char siu”, the Canto volleyball term was born! Chance => Char Siu and since then, that’s why it’s called “eat char siu” when the ball is returned just a little above the net creating an opportunity for the opposing team to smack it to win the point.
Which team do you want to see eat char siu?
Share this if you liked it! Also have you checked out the previous Canto Slang Lesson #20, Ghost Chap?