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Cantonese Slang of the Week: Release the Plane

By Jenny Leung 13 December 2018
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!

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Release the Plane | "Fong Fei Gei"

This is an interesting one. The story goes that when the first ever air show was due to perform in Hong Kong many years ago, the show was cancelled on the first day because of bad weather conditions. On the second day, the weather was perfect, but the pilot was sick and unable to fly. Then when the third day came, everything was ready to go… until the engine broke down! And so, after these unfortunate three days, the whole performance was cancelled, no one got to see any planes doing tricks in the sky, and well, that was that. From then on, the term "fong fei gei" was used to describe the act of bailing on plans, failing to show up, or breaking a promise – basically, the worst crimes known to man!

Example: "Lucas just doesn't know when to give up, his Tinder date has fong fei gei on him for the third time this week!"
Read more! Discover more funny stories about Hong Kong.

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Born in Hong Kong and raised in the UK, Jenny grew up with the best of both worlds. She loves just about anything to do with music and doesn’t shy away from belting out a tune or two when it comes to karaoke. If she’s not out and about exploring the city and practising her photography skills, she’s probably tucked up in bed with a book or glued to her laptop doing her online shopping.

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