Woo hooo, I have just found a new Cantonese phrase! 批死， pai sei, 'criticise death'. According to excellent Canto tool Cantodict it means "predict disdainfully".*
Oh! That was exactly the phrase I needed last week when I found an article from noted Hong Kong English language newspaper the Hong Kong Standard about yet another nail in the coffin of Cantonese. It said that the language of instruction in the Hong Kong school system will switch from the language everybody speaks, Cantonese, to hated imperialist Mandarin.
What took them so long? I had been "disdainfully predicting" this for a number of years; ever since I started noticing that in Guangdong province, formerly known as Canton, the 'cradle of Cantonese' just across the border from Hong Kong, no children actually spoke Cantonese. After asking I don't know how many parents about this and getting the same quick nervous exchange of looks, followed by "... er, it's not convenient," I did a little digging, and sure enough. Parents get punished if the children speak Cantonese at school - and at home.
This column in the South China Morning Post ("Putonghua" means Mandarin, changed by the editor for political reasons) is from 2014, and was possibly the reason why they quickly decided to discontinue my column. Or it could be because of any number of other columns lamenting the killing of Cantonese. What I do know is: The discontinuation of my column coincided exactly with the takeover of the paper by one Jack Ma, owner of "China's Amazon" Alibaba.
Anyway - there is no better way to eradicate a language than to make sure children don't speak it. "Speaking Mandarin is the only way to get ahead" is one way to do it, and when it comes with the added incentive of "...and Daddy will lose his job if we don't comply" - well, it's a done deal. The cradle of Cantonese is now more or less a coffin, Canto-less.
And now it's Hong Kong's turn.
Today the language of instruction, tomorrow severe punishment for speaking Cantonese at home. It's the only way to get a handle on those intransigent Hong Kong people, otherwise who knows what they could be saying among themselves.
They have already started "training" Hong Kong teachers and students in "patriotism", but it's impossible to be properly patriotic without the correct phrases in the correct language: Mandarin. The next push will be to introduce crippled ("simplified") characters to Hong Kong, so that city can look as cheap and shoddy as those in mainland China. This has been tried before without any luck, in fact to much protest among Hong Kong people, but now is the time.
Now HK people are sufficiently brought to heel, and they will say not a word.
Will soon only foreigners be speaking Cantonese?
Make sure you are one of them!
Learn Cantonese the Natural Way - from a Norwegian.
* Predict disdainfully - what does that even mean? Hey, Hong Kong people! Please enlighten me!