I still remember the first time I heard this phrase: Xin Jia Yu Yi Xin Ni Hua Xai.
Xin Jia Yu Yi Xin Ni Hua Xai, the speaker repeats. ซินเจียยู่อี่ ซินนี่ฮวดไช้ in Thai.
This is the typical Chinese New Year greetings in Thailand. Many Thai friends also greeted me the same, during Chinese New Year (CNY). And more often than not, I gave them a puzzled look. In hindsight, I should have just reply with a simple thank you. No one can explain the meaning behind this greeting: they told me this is what they usually say. Hmmm ….
Recently, I have been hit with few Thai-Chinese New Year TV commercials, especially Brand’s TVC. The Brand’s TVC ends with Mai Suet (a Hong Kong actress) and another lady wishing that same CNY greetings. I kept on hearing this infamous wishes again, and again, and again, like a broken record. Keeping my ears tuned to the TVC, I finally heard the whole line clearly.
Xin Jia Yu Yi Xin Ni Hua Xai.
I set to ascertain what it means.
The first thing I did was to find out the Chinese transcripts: 万事如意 新年发财. Since I can’t read it, I used Google Translate.
|Chinese New Year Greetings in Chinese Scripts: 万事如意 新年发财||It Reads|
|In Mandarin||Wan She Rou Yue. Xin Nian Fa Chai.|
|In Cantonese||Wan Shi Ru Yi. San Nin Fat Choy.|
|In ??||Xin Jia Yu Yi Xin Ni Hua Xai.|
The answer is none other than Teochew dialect. Even so, it is not 100% accurate, instead of Xin Jia Yu Yi, it should be Xin Jia Ju Yi.
Why Teochew? I guess it’s because vast majority (56%) of Thai-Chinese are Teochews.
So what does it means?
|Chinese New Year Greetings:||Direct Translation||Proper Translation|
|Xin Jia Yu Yi||New year according wish||(Wish you) the new year would be according to your wishes.|
|Xin Ni Hua Xai||New year prosperous||(Wish you a) prosperous new year|
But in Malaysia (and also Singapore), the Hokkiens are the largest community / dialect group. So, wishing Xin Jia Yu Yi Xin Ni Hua Xai does not resonate with most of us.
Most of Malaysian-Chinese are well-versed in Mandarin and/or Cantonese.
To my Thai friends, a simple 恭禧发财 Gong Xi Fa Cai (in Mandarin) or Kong Hei Fat Choy (in Cantonese) is sufficient, for us Malaysian-Chinese. It means, wishing you to happy and prosperous in the coming year.