CANTO SLANG: EPISODE 26
I guess I should have released this slang during Chinese New Year because it looks like the most auspicious slang ever right?
WTF is that? Actually, the meaning is literally the opposite of what it looks like. And also, for my entire life, I always thought that this translated to “Mix Tangerine”, but it turns out that the character for tangerine actually has the “wood” radical on the left hand side so it looks like this :桔. To find the origin, let’s travel back in time to the good ol’ 60’s in HK…
Back in the 60’s, teahouses boomed in popularity, and these were places where customers would come in for a cup of tea and have a bun. Teahouses always served each customer with a bowl of clear soup (清湯), however, “clear” has a negative auspicious meaning empty and so the teahouses would call these clear soups as lucky water (吉水) instead.
Talk about reusing – these bowls of clear soup/lucky water were actually just bowls of water that the restaurants had used for cooking meat, which they now serve as “soup”. You were given a bowl of this lucky water immediately upon being seated, so some people who couldn’t afford to pay for a meal or food, would come into these teahouses, drink this lucky water (meat flavoured water), and then leave immediately. These non-paying customers would be referred to as “mix lucky”, an adjective, to refer to their delinquent actions. If you are do a “mix lucky”, it means you haven’t contributed anything positive, but you’ve just created more trouble instead.
Share this if you liked it! Also have you checked out the previous Canto Slang Lesson #25, Release Airplane?