Author: Zhong Jiewen
Date: 05-03-10 11:01
Dear All "Ci Ka Nin",
Greetings from Peninsular Malaysia. "Tai Ka Hau"
I am from Kajang-Semenyih area. This is nearby the mountain area. Years ago, hakka resides at mountain foot-hill area in many places in P. M'sia. For example in Selangor state alone, from north to south are towns such as Rawang, Ampang, Cheras, Kajang and Semenyih, all have significant hakka residents. Different places have different sub-dialect speaking hakka and slightly different cultural practises too.
I was reading amazing information about hakka from this website with interest. Growing up here, I do not realise I have much difference with the southern hans hokkien and cantonese. I never understood what northern han culture is like. Here, hokkien, cantonese and hakka cultures are very similar except for minor differences. For example, hakka celebrate first day of Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) by a plain vegetarian meal, which is ignored by the hokkiens and cantoneses. The hokkien celebrate the ninth day of CNY but the cantonese and hakka would be quiet that night. Other than that, I really can't tell off hand. We know we are different but are cool about it.
As hakka moves out from their hometowns, assimilation of hokkien and cantonese culture happens. We now cook many dishes authentic to the hokkien and cantonese while our famous cookings are being expertly cooked by them too. The new generation speak lesser and lesser of hakka but more of mandarin and english. The problem is the same for hokkien and cantonese too. Intermarriage is just too common; many hokkiens and cantoneses have hakka blood in them. We also eat lots of hot and spicy food as influenced by the Malays and Indians. Most can speak more than one language and dialect, and are generally open-minded with language, food, lifestyle and culture.
There are so many sub-dialects found here, such as fui jiu, dung gon, moi yen, ka yin jiu, hoi luk fung, tai bu, ho po, etc. Some sub-dialects are so difficult to understand because they sound so far from the standard hakka, so we have to communicate with other language instead. I do not know another part of P. M'sia but at my hometown, we refer fui jiu hak as the standard hakka, understood by all other sub-dialects. I have never read this anywhere else, therefore a little reluctant to share this at first. But if posted, it might shed some light on this claim. If spoken slowly, my ho po hak friend can actually understand fui jiu hak properly but not the other way round.
Some amazing hakka cooking here are such as niong tiu fu (meat-stuffed taufu), vinegar pork leg, ham cha, lui cha, yam and meat, and many more. It was said here that hakka likes to eat salty and tasty food.
Hakka people speak very loudly and the loud mountain song is an authentic label well known to others. I wouldn't say all hakka speak very loudly but they can if they want to. My father side speak softly but my mother side speak very loudly.
It will be great to hear about hakka livelihood from other neighbourhood, including those from M'sia as well.