Yau mo gau cho ah…

The best thing happened today – Zadie and I got locked in the disabled toilet at Shatin IKEA!  I shouted the roof off until I attracted the attention of an elderly cleaning guy who spoke NO English, and then yelled all the following stuff in panicked Canto:  “Cannot open the door la!  My daughter and I stay in toilet!  Don’t go away!  YOU HELP ME?  Do you have a colleague who speaks English?  My speak Chinese so bad!  Put your key under!  HELP!”

The “best” part of it was when Zadie realised I was only speaking in Chinese, she shouted her own contribution: “Yau mo gau cho ah!” – which is an offensive way to say “Are you fucking kidding me?” and OBVIOUSLY the first thing I taught her.

Despite the barrage of frantic, at times irrelevant and insulting invective, ultimately the old guy jemmied the lock with a coin, the door sprung open, and I fell on top of him in gratitude – in front of 65 stunned diners at the area noodle joint.

What, you’ve never seen a weeping gweipo fall out of a toilet and crush an innocent minimum-wage worker before?

Aiyaaaah!  So tragedy la!

Anyway.  It was pretty great, apart from most of it.  Feel like the 15 months of solid Chinese study were all worth it.  CAN LIBERATE SELF FROM TOILETS!  DAUGHTER CAN SWEAR RELEVANTLY!


31 Comments Add yours

  1. expatlingo says:

    “Daughter can swear relevantly,” in Cantonese no less! I now have a new parenting aspiration. Great post!

    1. jadeluxe says:

      This is literally the first time I have had anything to do with anyone’s parenting aspiration. Apart from being the opposite of it 😉

  2. Laura says:

    This is hilarious!

    1. jadeluxe says:

      It wasn’t at the time but I’m happy to laugh about it now from the safety of NOT THE TOILET 🙂

  3. San says:

    Cool… your cantonese is very possibly better than mine. And I’m Chinese. Hahaha…

    1. jadeluxe says:

      San, hi! Nice to meet you. I have quite a few SG bloggers on my reader now! Pop over there quite often for work. I am positive your Cantonese would be better than mine. Well certainly your Mando and Singlish lor 🙂

  4. raisingivy says:

    Most language studies teach “Where’s the bathroom?” pretty early on but not “Let me out of this bathroom now!” Way to take a not-funny event and turn it into a hilarious post!

    1. jadeluxe says:

      You’re right, and really, it’s pretty useful, because it’s not a common sentence in travelling phrase books and stuff. But you can always indicate the need for a toilet with charades 😉

  5. So this is the silver lining people are always looking for and it’s comedic gold. Hysterical. Great post. Erin

    1. jadeluxe says:

      Oh, Erin! Silver and gold in the same comment! Beautiful Olympic denouement 🙂

  6. Mayor Gia says:

    hahha what an experience! I woulda been freaking out.

    1. jadeluxe says:

      I wonder what a freak-out would involve for you? I would love to see those cartoons…

  7. Ha. Got a morning smile out of me. I might just practice Chinese dirty words this morning.

    1. jadeluxe says:

      Always a valuable use of time 🙂

  8. At least you could speak Chinese! I’m not sure what I’d have done. Loved this post!

    1. jadeluxe says:

      Yeah, I was pretty chuffed with how much I could yell out in a tough situation actually! Thanks Stacie 🙂

  9. dalrie says:

    Baahhaha. That would have been so funny. I love that your daughter was the one swearing under her breath. Great story!

  10. iasoupmama says:

    So glad you got out, but even happier to get to read your account about getting out — hilarious! I love it!

    1. jadeluxe says:

      cheers soupy – i guess i can call you soupy? 😉 yes, it was a relief. to put it mildly.

  11. wcdameron says:

    Oh, this reminds me of Singapore. I used to travel there frequently and remember them adding “la” to the end of everything. “We go shopping-la!” Also? I love Ikea…..

    1. jadeluxe says:

      singaporeans tend to favour “lor” over “la” but yes, they’re all about a bit of an extra inflection. i love it actually 🙂

  12. The last line was great, but putting it in all caps was perfection.

    1. jadeluxe says:

      MM-GOI LA! (“thanks very much bro”)

  13. Hilarious!! And oh so practical to teach your daughter to swear in Cantonese! That line will come in handy for her in the future! Fun post!

  14. Amy I. Bloom says:

    This is hysterical! You certainly taught your daughter a valuable phrase.


  15. Funny! I like that there’s an offensive way to say “are you fucking kidding me?”

    1. jadeluxe says:

      Yeah, you’re right, the “fucking” probably covered it off 😉

  16. kianwi says:

    Oh gosh, so funny! And of course, the best part, your daughter! Glad you got out, though 🙂

  17. christina says:


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