Cantonese Proverbs in One Picture.

From the Cantonese Resources blog, this wonderful cartoon:

阿塗 (Ah To), a graphic designer and part-time cartoonist who concerns about the survival of Cantonese in Canton and Hong Kong, has just published a comic called “The Great Canton and Hong Kong Proverbs” on Hong Kong independent media “Passion Times“. The cartoon contains illustrations of 81 Cantonese proverbs.

Each proverb is explained below the cartoon; e.g., “有錢使得鬼推磨 [yáuh chín sái dāk gwái tēui mòh] (if you have money, you can make a ghost push a millstone): everything is possible with money; money makes the world go round.” And each explanation is accompanied by an enlarged detail from the cartoon. Lots of fun.

And while we’re on the topic of language-related graphics: A Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels. (I imagine readers below middle age never had to diagram sentences in school; I did, though I’m not sure how much I learned from it and I certainly couldn’t do it now.)


  1. The Algerian version of that proverb is الدراهم تبني طريق في البحر əddṛahəm təbni ṭṛiq fəlbħəṛ – money can build a road in the sea. Which is now literally as well as figuratively true.

  2. Does anyone know why the ghosts are drawn with a long red tongue hanging out ?

  3. Possibly it’s “just a convention”, like the wispy bit at the bottom of ghosts where their feet should be.

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