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Cantonese Slang of the Week: Collect Skin

Made-up vocabulary only known to locals, words that consist of a mix of both English and Chinese, and double-entendres that make absolutely no sense – these are just a few of the things that make Cantonese one of the hardest languages to learn. So, we thought it was about time we gave you folks a quick lesson on some funny terminology, common phrases, and the latest Internet slang. We guarantee it will score you a few extra points with the locals!



Collect Skin | “Sau Pei”

Now you might want to be careful with this one. Telling someone to “Sau Pei” means to tell a certain person to shut up – in a rude manner. The word “Sau” means to collect, while the word “Pei” means skin. It is said that some street vendors use the word “Pei” to describe the piece of wooden mat or board they use to display their products, so when you put the two words together, the term “Sau Pei” became a phrase for them to use whenever they had to pack up their things and go. Over time, the phrase broadened its meaning, and was used by many to tell someone to save it and stop talking, usually when the other person is bragging or talking about something that sounds made up. For emphasis, you can always try adding on a “la” on the end to really get your message across.

Example: “Alice needs to Sau Pei and stop going on about how much time and money she spends pampering her dog – nobody cares!”


Read more! Discover more funny stories about Hong Kong.

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