Hello. How is everyone doing? Since the outbreak, I am sure you must have experienced lots of emotions. I personally am now in self-isolation because of the possibility that my person might have been infected through work, and hence we are doing all we can to protect others. This episode is on emotions, and also to let you know that someone cares. I am here for you guys, we will all get through this together.

Emotions in cantonese is 情緒, 情 is like feelings, so for example, love is 愛情, 愛 is love. Friendship is 友情, 友is friends and kinship is 親情, 親is family. In a Chinese medical sense, we have 7 major emotions and 6 different senses, the 7 major emotions are namely 喜、怒、憂、思、悲、恐、驚, meaning happiness, anger, worry, feelings of missing someone or something, sadness, fear and shock. These 7 emotions in a Chinese medical sense are associated with your body organs and your health. If any of these emotions are not in balance, meaning one is significantly more felt than others, it affects your balance meaning your yin and yang.

Now For the 6 senses, there are many interpretations of this. The one I tend to agree with the most, would be: 食欲, the desire to eat, 性欲 the desire of sex, 情欲 the desire to have relationships, 佔有欲 the desire to own something, 求知欲 the desire to learn and know more, and finally 出類拔萃欲, basically the desire to be better.

Now in these emotions and desires can be divided into smaller emotions, in chinese, whether they be words or idioms, there are well over 500 ways to describe emotions. That’s quite a lot. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, it states that language defines culture. That means for example, in chinese, there are more words and terms describing the methods of cooking than in English. From the language you can have a glimpse of a particular culture. So I wonder, even though Chinese people might seem very contained, sometimes, I wonder if we do feel a wider range of emotions, or if it is just that there were no words to describe these emotions in English.

Let’s talk about some common emotions in Cantonese that we might feel. For example, happy, in Cantonese is 開心, the literal translation of 開心 is open heart. So I guess you can understand it as when someone is happy, they will then open their heart for others. Whereas if you are unhappy, then in Cantonese is 唔開心, 唔 just means un-, or the negation of the word following it. So literally it means un-open heart, similar to 開心 happy, you can understand it as, if someone is unhappy they are likely not going to open up their hearts. So for example you want to say that you are unhappy, you will say 我唔開心, or I am happy, you will say 我開心. Another way to express “I feel”, you can say 我覺得xxx, 我 you already know, means I, 覺得can means think, or feel, so say for example, I feel very happy, you will say 我覺得好開心 and for example to say I feel very excited, you will say 我覺得好興奮 To say you are sad or upset, you can also say 唔開心, a stronger word would be 傷心, literally means hurt the heart, 傷心 means sad. Did you notice that so far these terms are related to the heart? It’s quite interesting cause for the word mood in Cantonese or in Chinese it’s called 心情, so your heart’s feelings. In other words, Chinese people used to believe that feelings came from the heart, that’s why sometimes when we feel sad let’s say, your heart hurts, or when you are excited 興奮 excited, your heart races.

Now I want to share the Cantonese words of what I am feeling in the time of turmoil. First I want to acknowledge that These feelings are not exactly positive feelings, but it is okay to feel them. It is natural, we cannot control how to feel but we can control how we act upon them. So currently I feel a mixed emotions, 百感交集, literally means hundreds of feelings crossing and mixing, so in cantonese in full sentence it is 我覺得百感交集, I am also feeling pained, 我覺得痛苦, 痛苦literally means pain and bitter, it expressed somewhat of a tormented feeling as well. I feel angry. 我覺得好嬲, this word 嬲 is very interesting. The structure of this word, has a prefix and the suffix of the word boy 男, in the middle there is the word girl 女, you can imagine it as in a traditional relationship, where there are two males and one female, someone in that relationship will feel angered. Making sense? I also feel like I am in a dilemma, in Cantonese is 我覺得矛盾, 矛盾 literally means spear and shield. This word originally came from our 4 character idiom 自相矛盾, meaning contradicting oneself. Have you guys heard of this story of spear and shield? Let me tell you this story, then perhaps you can have a better understanding of this emotion word.

This story was said to have taken place in the Zhou dynasty Era state, in the early 8th century BCE, in the Chu Kingdom. There was a guy in the Chu Kingdom who was a merchant for weaponry. Once he went to the market to sell spears and shields. Many people came and checked his spears and shields out. So he lifted his shield up high and boasted “My shields are the toughest in the world. Doesn’t matter if you use the sharpest tool to pierce it, nothing will poke through.” Then this guy grabbed his spear, and boasted again without shame “my spears are the sharpest in the world, even the toughest materials can be poked through by my spears. As soon as the spear touches the material, hehe, it will be instantly cut through.” He was proud then he yelled “Come check it out! Come buy it, the toughest shields and sharpest spears in the world!” At this time, there was a customer who picked up a spear, and picked up a shield, and asked”so what if I use this spear to poke this shield, what is going to happen?” He stuttered and said “well…” People surrounded them didn’t know how to think for a second, then suddenly they all burst out laughing, then they all scattered. The merchant picked up his spears and his shields then left with a tail between his legs. Hence the 4 character idiom, 自相矛盾, was formed to describe when one contradicts oneself. And later 矛盾, spear and shield are then used to describe a dilemma or a contradiction.

Finally I want to introduce one more for you, say I feel like I am going crazy! 我覺得我就黎痴線! Literally means I feel that I am about to be crazy! 痴線 means crazy, this is a very Cantonese term. 痴線 literally means 2 lines sticking together. This image that describes craziness is like when the nerves are crossed and you are going wild. This can also use this word 痴線 to yell at someone. This is not foul language, it just has a negative connotation. Much like the word crazy. You can also use this word to joke with people, depending on who you are speaking with and the context. Sometimes it really means yelling at someone, or the literal meaning of this word, and sometimes it is just a joke.

That’s it for today. I wonder what you guys are doing at home, if you are feeling bored, 悶, bored. Next time perhaps I can talk about setting up routine and habits.

Now let’s review the vocab we have learned for today.

Emotions - 情緒

love - 愛情

Friendship - 友情

kinship - 親情

I feel - 我覺得

bored, 悶

Crazy -痴線

Contradicting oneself - 自相矛盾

Dilemma or contradiction - 矛盾

angry - 好嬲

excited - 興奮

Sad - 傷心

Happy - 開心

Unhappy - 唔開心

mixed emotions- 百感交集