At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, June 12, 2015


She slid to the floor without much resistance. At first it seemed like she had merely lost her balance on the crowded bus, or maybe somebody pushed her inadvertently. But when she remained down, doubts were raised. One person pulled the foot of the fallen figure -- probably to ascertain that she was well and truly out, rather than to make off with it or steal the shoe -- and others started yelling at the bus driver to stop, there was an emergency.

The faintee was tall and blonde. I had nothing to do with it. Having barely gotten a seat, and being several lengths away from the fallen woman, I saw no need to put my very minor medical knowledge to any use; my bustling over would merely be a nuisance.

What does one do when there's a person down?

In my case, one reads the label of the bottle of fish sauce one has purchased at the same place as the delightful little baby cabbages.


['yue heung'; Vietnam Fragrant, in which the second word represents Hong Kong, where the company is presently located.]
['seung dang'; finest quality.]
['yü lou'; fish dew (exudate).]

Which is a 調味 ('tiu mei'; flavouring, condiment) that comes from 越香有限公司 ('yuet heung yau haan gung si'), a company founded several years ago by mr. Chung (鍾生先) in San Francisco. The product with which almost everybody is familiar is Three Crabs Brand (三蟹嘜 'saam haai mak').

The term 有限公司 ('yau haan gung si') means a limited company, fyi.
有限 ('yau haan'): have limitation. 公司 ('gung si'): equitable control, fair manage.

By the time the bus had stopped she had come to, and with the help of an understanding fellow passenger who had taken charge, she was guided to a seat. The bus driver informed us that responders were on their way, and the bus wasn't going to go anywhere for the duration, feel free to wait or walk.

I remained seated, because I was enjoying the harangue of a very ancient Toishanese woman who was animatedly explaining to other passengers that nobody had even noticed, they were all too busy looking at their handheld devices (手機 'sau kei'), possibly on purpose. A few of the others were querulating why we weren't moving, was another bus coming, how about an ambulance, and oh drat that hill looks far too steep to climb.
It wasn't that they were heartless, just that they were old.

One of the white passengers asked loudly if anyone on board was a doctor. And perhaps we should throw water in her face, it couldn't hurt.

One person admitted to a neighbor that he was a doctor of philosophy, and probably no help whatsoever.

After the emergency personnel had seized the young lady for further prodding, the bus driver informed the few passengers remaining that he couldn't leave till his supervisor showed up.

The oldsters disembarked and sat down dejectedly on a nearby ledge.
There was no second bus in sight. Those last two blocks to the top would be very hard.

I started trudging up the hill, wondering what the Cantonese words for what had occurred might be.

昏倒 'fan dou': to faint; to achieve a faint.
發昏 'faat fan': to faint; to become all faintsome.
驚厥 'geng kuet': to faint, have a convulsion.
暈 'waan': faint, dizzy; foggy, halo in the sky.
殫悶 'daan mun': to swoon, pass out.
倒 'dou': topple over, collapse.
冧 'lam': topple; flower bud; phonetic borrowing for 'number' (冧把 'lam baa'); to kill somebody.
癲 'din': deranged, mentally ill.
癲癇 'din haan'; epilepsy.
羊癲瘋 'yeung din fung': "goat-crazy fits"; given to epileptic episodes.
病突發 'beng tat faat': seizure.
低血糖 'dai huet tong': low blood sugar, hypoglycæmia.

For the next time it happens, the following phrases might be helpful.

['o, keui waan-waan-di fan-dou le, ho-nang keui chuen yat dou mou sik gwo ye']
Whoopsie, she keeled over; possibly she hasn't eaten all day.

['hai, ngo yau yat jeun taai hou paai ge yü-lou']
Yes, I have a bottle of very good brand fish sauce.

['hai ngo ge']
It's mine.

No matter what, hold on to the sauce.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 7:29 AM, Anonymous e-kvetcher said…

    I once occasioned to be in Napa Valley and wound up driving to Calistoga. My wife wanted to see the "Old Faithful" of California and I wanted to see the famous "fainting goats". Both were quite a disappointment. I will not speak of the geiser, but as far as the goats were concerned - they were all lying on the ground covered in flies. I tried to rile them up by running at them and shouting, but they just stared at me with disdain.


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