CANTO SLANG: EPISODE 22
Here’s one that you may hear in whisper tones around the office… and you’ll finally know what it means!
WTF is that? The origins of this slang dates back to when opium was legal and used widely in HK, which was before 1943.
The origins of this slang dates back to when opium was used prevalently in HK. Lots of actors before their scenes would smoke opium to reenergize, akin to the effects of drinking Red Bull, and so when others asked about their whereabouts, others would answer, they are currently “swallowing bubbles”.
This is because opium was smoked using an opium pipe, and when you light the opium, it creates somewhat of a bubble shape, and you inhale the bubble. The Chinese character for bubble is 泡, which sounds like POP, and voila, the slang “swallow bubble (pop)” was created. When someone has gone to “swallow bubbles(s)”, it’s to mean that they have sneaked away for a unscheduled break and is used in a negative connotation to mean that person is lazy or not hardworking.
Share this if you liked it! Also have you checked out the previous Canto Slang Lesson #21, Eat Char Siu (BBQ Pork)?