Xi Jinping Breaks his Bowl: ‘More speed less haste’「食緊挵破碗」

3203291222_c0fe41d465_oOne of the great things about living in Taiwan is that when political leaders make speeches, like the speech made by Xi Jinping on Jan. 2, there is a flurry of discussions and critique on political panel shows and on social media, and people aren’t scared to express their own opinions on them. This is also a great learning opportunity, as people are more likely to come out with an interesting turn of phrase when they’re not being overly careful about what they’re saying.

One, such political panel show that I’ve grown fond of over the years is TVBS’s political chat show ‘The Situation Room’. Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文), a politician and broadcaster previously aligned with the Democratic Progressive Party but who later became a Kuomintang member and is now the KMT Vice Secretary-General, is a regular on the show and is one of the more humourous panelists.

In critiquing Xi’s speech in which he proposed a “one nation, two systems” approach to Taiwan, she said that he’s trying to push cross-strait relations forward at such a pace that he risks not getting anywhere at all. She used a Taiwanese phrase similar to “more speed less haste”, 「食緊挵破碗」(lit. eating with such haste that you break your bowl), which is pronounced “Tsia̍h-kín lòng-phuà uánn“:


You can hear her say this phrase in Taiwanese while she’s primarily speaking in Mandarin at 5:27.

Photo by timlewisnm, licensed under Creative Commons.


1 thought on “Xi Jinping Breaks his Bowl: ‘More speed less haste’「食緊挵破碗」

  1. 緊吃!in Taiwanese or any form of “緊X (verb) !” is imperative, i.e. hurry up. Conversely吃緊 means “rushing to eat”. Interestingly吃緊 in Mandarin means “in tight situation”. Playing with “translate Google” it seems “Smashing a bowl by rushing a meal” may be a good match for the Taiwanese saying that you cited. I am not able to shorten the saying as “Long time no see!” in a more sarcastic form. There are many puzzling etymology of Taiwanese words, such as one I suggested just a few days ago:

    阿舍ぶる(台灣語:金持息子の振る舞い)= 阿舍舞女(台語發音)= ashia-buru = asaburu = asapulu = アサプル = 爺們

    However, the popular understanding is



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