Welcome to THE Village... sort of... not really.

Welcome to the Toisan Lives blog!

Where does the sudden love of Toisan and desire to spread the good language come from? It stems from my childhood, to which I vividly remember conversing with my grandmother. I can still feel the effects of the spit-filled words and funny dialect that no one else could decipher.

Although my Chinese consists mostly of Cantonese, I still love a good conversation in Toisan. However, I have noticed that the language is dying and I am determined to keep it alive. How am I doing this? Most of my friends have relatives with a Toisan background and can understand the language. I speak as often as I can in Toisan to these friends, most notably Christopher Dea. They laugh when I converse with them in Toisan but they will only respond in English. They don't want their Toisan to be heard.

Therefore, I've come up with a great idea. If the good language will not be spoken, it can be expressed on a t-shirt! This will keep Toisan on the map. PLUS, wearing these shirts will bring all sorts of Toisan brothers and sisters together, especially the closeted Toisanese (you know who you are!). Imagine wearing a Toisan Lives t-shirt and meeting someone from the same village as you!

Visit our store to get your Toisan Shirts!

Search This Blog

Monday, July 12, 2010

Got Headache?

Growing up my parents and grandparents often acted as doctors. How? Why? I don't know, but they seem to have a cure for most illnesses. The local Tak Shing Hong gave them this God-like ability to heal all. It was not difficult for them to retrieve herbal medicine and boil it until you get that nasty aroma that causes you to vomit instantly. Apparently Haw Flakes will solve that flavor of a problem. Go figure. The boiled herbal medicine is usually a remedy for your serious and often lingering illnesses. But for your headaches, stomachaches and bruises you can easily take care of that with chinese ointment. My late grandmother in particular always carried around this small bottle of "Bauk Fah Yiu" (white flower oil). Its oily and smelly like most chinese ointments and I'm not too sure if its really made from white flowers (is that even a flower?). My grandmother was often dizzy from watching too many chinese dramas and those long bus rides to and from Chinatown. All she had to do was pull out that small bottle of smelly oil and rub it on her head and she was good to go. Every time I had a stomachache they would rub that stuff over my stomach. Definitely an acquired smell and it also felt a little bit like menthol. I hate to admit it but some of these remedies to do work because they smell and taste so horrible but mostly because I don't like the fact that my parents and grandparents can act like they have the solution to all medical problems.

(scroll down for more designs)


  1. My dad used this stuff all the time too, this and Bo-Dai-Yuan (the stomach digestion pills) and swore Tiger Balm & Mentholatum would heal anything. I even bought some in Honolulu's Chinatown recently thinking it would help me (but it reeks way too much for me). Ah, what memories...

  2. You must have had to drink "Hop Jai Cha" = Little Box Tea". This was best consumed at the first sign of a cold or fever. Our family swears by this stuff. When I married (Caucasian), my mom made sure I had this in my cupboard. My husband and I got sick, I brewed this, and we drank it at 7:00 p.m. BIG MISTAKE, as we were both WIDE AWAKE! Apparently, high amount of caffeine in this tea. But, we were both free of the flu or cold that was trying to 'get us'!

  3. Bauk Fah Yin works and the brand is backed up by a 100 years old ingredients. Bauk Fah Yin sold over millions in China, Asia and worldwide.

  4. Yes, i remember my mum using this but since then, without a good toisan entrpreneur to reproduce it, the market had been overtake by the brand and I think similar camphor based liquid called FOONG YAU.i would liek to buy a bottle of this if they still ae being manufactured. I was told that many toisan pak in the KIM SAN =US and Vancouver in Canada. I would like to make a trip over the US if you will organise a toisan get together.
    I speak fluent hoisan wah because my parents were migrants from Toisan kong ohng.
    how about skype chat in hoi san.
    Those interested can snd me your skype address.
    then we can have a chiang heh chat.lol.

  5. I remember some embarassing phrases which have been misconstrued when heard by some one who speaks fujian/english:
    nice material - pu ki liang -
    beat the eggs - fuck ugn