Annotations for zhong, the fourth chapter of One Rainy Day In May.

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Square One Big Surprise

Page 100 Edit


from Bad Romance.

Page 101 Edit


In singlish, reduplication is used for intensification


in traditional Chinese medicine Jing means “essence”. It can also mean spirit.


particle used to strengthen a suggestion, persuasion, or objection, or to soften a negative reaction thus marking solidarity. It's very common and of general meaning. (Also in the variant ah)


Malay for a spirit enslaved by a man (most of the time) for personal use. Like the Hantu Raya and Toyol, it has a master. It is an unseen ghost that can be used by a black magic practitioner to harm someone. It is particularly meant to harm other people, especially when the owner has wicked intentions towards these people (Wikipedia)


very crazy

void deck

an open space typically found under apartment blocks in Singapore. The void deck occupies the ground level, while apartments are usually on the second floor onwards. Void decks are a space for community mingling and functions are often attended by neighbours across the ethnic spectrum (Wikipedia)


first mention of cat in the book



Page 102 Edit


usually at the end of a sentence to argue a point: e.g. crowd the void deck like it their own mah (102) ("they occupy the empty deck like it's their own, you see?!")




a woman who has died in childbirth and turned into a vampire and now feeds on the blood of infants

lai dat

like that

tua tao

gang leader




area at the eastern end of Singapore. It is now the site of Singapore Changi Airport/Changi Air Base, Changi Naval Base and is also home to Changi Prison, site of the former Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II which held Allied prisoners captured in Singapore. James Clavell based his novel King Rat on his experiences as a World War 2 Allied prisoner of war at Changi Prison (Wikipedia)




shut up

Page 103 Edit

tua kang

tall tale - a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual + literary „big hole“ – echoing "rain is just water with holes in it. Adding up to one big hole" (67)


afraid of dying


A general term for older woman

Tian Li

from Confucianism - it means natural ordering or pattern. With the connotation that the ordering comes from the heavens and is put in Nature/universe

Page 104 Edit

niu che Shui



? The Seris are an indigenous group of the Mexican state of Sonora


town situated in the central-eastern part of the city-state of Singapore

Smith Street

a small street running through the heart of the Chinatown district in Singapore. A local joke has it that the road got its English name when the British asked Chinese locals the name of the road, they given clueless answers "See mee?" (Hokkien for What?) as they could not understand English. Thus they duly recorded the name as "Smith" instead

sei yang gai

street of the dead - Sago Street - a street located in Chinatown within the Outram Planning Area of Singapore. The funeral parlours are located on nearby Sago Lane and not Sago Street. However, Sago Street is always referred as sei yang gai or "street of the dead" in Cantonese. There are many cemeteries there



tan ku ku

forget it!

talk cock

talk nonsense

pang chui lao

Forget about it!


(Cantonese chinese is very hard to translate, so these are just approximations. Credit goes to TBHalo & tonywang) If in this meal I eat enough meat, then I will (feel) satisfied. / My meal of meat is enough./I've got enough meat in my meal


I was full / For my age I am full.

波女の多様な説明は, 逆に反比例して少しのことしか説明できない

As for the woman, I can only say so much OR She, on the other hand, I can't tell you much about.

как будто у него не хватило бы духу

as if he did not have enough spirit

Page 105 Edit


A series about some ridiculous things dry, such as:

"若如田需, 心然乃仅为人之习性"

"If, as the field required, then the heart is the only person of habit." /“If needed, heart is only for the people of the habit“;

toa payoh

district located in the Central Region of Singapore

pearl's hill

a city park in Singapore


popular island resort in Singapore, visited by some twenty million people a year


"When you talk to trees you must use the language of the trees" (trying to say like, you have to communicate with people in language that they understand, or, cater to your audience)

Page 106 Edit


„tian li swinging her arms around like repelling monkey“ – probably tai-chi







poh geok ek

former Director of. Singapore Prison Service

quek bin hwee

Bin Hwee is Vice Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, (PwC) Singapore and a member of the firm’s Leadership Team. She is also a member of the PwC Global Strategy Council Market Leaders and a member of PwC Asia Pacific Board

yaacob ibrahim

a Singaporean politician. A member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), he is the country's Minister for Communications and Information, and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs

harun abdul ghani

Former Singapore MP (People's Action Party), died in 2005



kena rotan

corporal punishment. See also Caning in Singapore

kin kah kin chew

fast hand, fast leg



sana staff

Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association

Page 107 Edit


"you won't be caged by the tragedy of pleasure".


"captured in the fragrance of a place is the abundance of it's blooming signs, if thou knowest these signs thou knowest this woman's end"

OR If you have a problem in your life, that makes you happy.


Chinese phrase "darkness braved ceases to be darkness". It also appears in English in Xanther's text in TF4.313


"There is darkness until somebody brave arrives." But this phrase has two parts in real life, the second part is 謠言止于智者 - "There are rumors until somebody wise arrives"




Housing & Development Board is the statutory board of the Ministry of National Development responsible for public housing in Singapore. It is generally credited with clearing the squatters and slums of the 1960s and resettling residents into low-cost state-built housing (Wikipedia)

kai kai

walk walk

Page 108 Edit


Not in Mandarin


Not, you see, in Cantonese

Не по русски

Not in Russian


Not in Japanese

lao cheow

old bird

chiak buay liao

cannot finish eating

Page 109 Edit

Johor Bahru

capital city of Johor in southern Malaysia (Wikipedia)

ku dé ta

14,500 square feet of luxurious space that spans a restaurant, a club lounge and a poolside terrace (in Singapure)


flee, escape quickly

tony tan

President of Singapore (Wikipedia)



Page 110 Edit

pang chui lao

forget about it

forbidden hill

In older times, the native Malays called the fort canning hill Bukit Larangan or Forbidden Hill

fort canning

small hill slightly more than 60 metres high in the southeast portion of the island city-state of Singapore (Wikipedia) According to Clip 4, a graffiti inspired by Darc's Zoo appeared here (C4 171)



Page 111 Edit

wah lao


chin kim tang tang

dripping with gold, dressed richly

This some

echoing Luther lingo

alamak, heng us

Mother of God! Lucky us!

Raffles Place

a geographical location in Singapore, it features some of the tallest buildings and landmarks of the country (Wikipedia)

battery road

a high-rise skyscraper located in the central business district of Singapore (Wikipedia)

collyer quay

16 Collyer Quay, formerly Hitachi Tower is a 37-storey, 166 m (545 ft), skyscraper in the central business district of Singapore (Wikipedia)

tua kee

big shot

siao liao

already gone crazy


My only issue the end. / Just one thing – the finality. / I got only one thing left unsolved

Page 112 Edit


"He said he’d pay you, and give us tea"

boh chup


Page 113 Edit


"Can he dry my clothes?"


"He doesn’t just have one piece of clothing, he has an entire wardrobe of it."

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Square One Big Surprise