More words that lacked English counterparts in my childhood

My sister thought of a couple more and drew some nice pictures to go with them! She says:

chinese handwriting credit goes to mom, who saw my awful attempts and redid all of them.

min pun plastic mini wash tub

bat faan hok, rice scooper

Thanks for contributing, Mimi & Mom!

I’ve also thought of one more!

I know the bloggy trend nowadays is to give a trigger warning for corporeal punishment, even if it’s just by feather duster and/or knuckle, but I’m with Russell Peters on this topic.

joy joy, a little abc-style corporeal punishment with the knuckle

Ahh, the ol’ knuckle to the head. The hands of my father could contort into a talon of justice! I have tried but it doesn’t look as menacing. I think it’s a perspective issue. Once I think it’s all in position, I turn my hand in to check, but then it just look like I’m tightly gripping a subway pole. Not very menacing.

If you don’t get this is all about, I’m trying to figure out which Chinese word it actually is. Below is my very credible analysis.

trying to figure out which joy or jyutping "zoi" best represents "knuckle to head"

Yeah, I have no idea. I start to wonder if my parents made it up… any other Cantonese kids gotten the joy joy? Any idea what word it is? Leave me a comment!

Meanwhile, I’ve just looked up “talon of justice” to see if I made it up, but apparently World of Warcraft beat me to it. It’s a stun spell! Weirdly appropriate, I must say. Not so for the English word of the same pronunciation…

joy to the world, abc interpretation



  1. The ‘joy joy’ is a mystery to me too! Maybe it’s a dialect of Cantonese (there are so many) or simply an expression that your parents used when administering the ol’ knuckle to the head, a fate that most second generation overseas Chinese Children experience as part of their upbringing… 😦

    OR ‘Joy joy’ could be short for ‘再再’ which itself is short for ‘看你再次敢不敢’. Then again that might be stretching it???

    1. oh, i never thought of it as 再再. that is totally plausible… they DID have the same tone as 再! whoa, i think you just helped us solve the mystery.
      so conclusion, that phrase and head knocking both exist. but only we ended up associating them as the same exact thing.

  2. wait, i remember it being used like a verb sometimes: “joy s(l)ay nay ge tao!” (X死你的头!), in which neither of these two would make sense…

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