Monday, 10 September 2018

beebo beebo

This one is probably relatable ony to Malaysians, with some bits specifically to Malaysian Chinese. And I apologise to Spanish and Portuguese readers for butchering their city names. I have a specific group of friends who are into the Pandemic series of games. I taught them to play the original Pandemic. We played the bio-terrorist variant. We completed both Pandemic: Legacy seasons together. When we come across unfamiliar city names, we often create our own local-flavoured nicknames. In the past, we renamed Saint Petersburg, calling it Sri Petaling instead. Montreal became Monorail. Essen transformed to become Eason.

Eason Chan, Hong Kong singer.

This year, we played Pandemic: Iberia. Since none of us were familiar with the geography of Spain and Portugal, most of the cities were alien to us. We knew only Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon. The rest of the cities were challenging, and naturally nicknames was one technique to help us cope.

Palma de Mallorca became Racecourse Melaka (Malacca). "Palma de" sounds like the Cantonese word for racecourse (跑马地 - pao ma dei). This Chinese word 跑马地 is also a suburb in Hong Kong (which has a racecourse). The name of the suburb in English is Happy Valley.

Bilbao-Bilbo became "beebo beebo", i.e. ambulance sirens.

Leon was still called Leon, but we associated it with this Leon below.

Hong Kong singer and actor, Leon Lai.

We did not create a new name for Gijon, but we pronounced it like a Hakka name. Hakka is a Chinese dialect spoken in southern China. It is also spoken in Malaysia, especially in Sabah. Some Kuala Lumpur Chinese speak Hakka too. "Gi" sounds like the Hakka word (杞) for goji berry or wolfberry. "Jon" sounds like the Hakka word for return. So the imaginary Hakka town of Gijon would be the place where the wolfberries return.

Each time during play when we passed by Madrid, we had to suppress the urge to break into song - this song by Jolin Tsai (Taiwanese singer) titled Amazing Madrid.

Friendship. Sometimes you need to do silly stuff together.


BomberMouse said...

Love this entry, thanks for sharing!

Kai Lord said...

Haha pronunciation is an adventure...

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Indeed! And we just started calling San Sebastián “San Ka La” (Cantonese) because it’s in a far, hard-to-access corner of the map.