I looked through my photo albums this morning , and came across this flower.

My father called this flower “Mei Kui”.

My wife called this flower “mui kwai”.

The english called this ‘rose’.

The French called this ‘rose’ , too, if  I can still recall my elementary French, which I studied for a year after my Form 5.

The image inside our minds is the same.

If I asked my wife not to call this ‘mui kwai’, inside her mind, the image would not change a wee bit.

Maybe now I should call this “ESOR”.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. clearwater
    Jan 03, 2010 @ 11:30:08

    ‘Esor’ is not a recognized word that will throw out an immediate image even if the backwards spelled rose smells just as sweet. But what happens if I were to similarly call a dog …..***….. it conjures up a certain image because backwards spelled, it is still a recognizable word and some people could be offended. By the way, I have 2 pet dogs who accompany me on my daily morning walk. Have had dogs for over 20 years. Wonderful animals.

    Dr Hsu, your post brings back memories. Ahh, I miss the delicate fragrance on an early spring morning of my 68 rose bushes in Los Angeles when I lived and lived there in the mid 1980s. I still grow plants with fragrant blossoms as a hobby; among them tropical magnolias, jasmines, gardenias. You unwind through your piano, I unwind through my pets and gardening.


  2. Meng
    Jan 04, 2010 @ 00:48:42

    “”If I asked my wife not to call this ‘mui kwai’, inside her mind, the image would not change a wee bit.””

    You are very right..if someone is a diehard and he is bent on attacking you no matter how good you would want to be, he will still attack you. Human brains often becomes distorted through ego and often insensitive to others feelings. He feel great and exalted when the barrages are released.


  3. A true Malaysian
    Jan 04, 2010 @ 11:58:26

    All roses come with thorns. They are beautiful flowers but be careful of its thorns. Cantonese are smart people to call roses as “mui kwai”, where “mui” sound like “beautiful”, “kwai” sound like “ghost”.

    Maybe because of thorns that how Cantonese relate roses to “kwai”. I checked dictionary on “thorn”, and below is what I get,



    a. 刺

    b. 有刺的植物

    2 刺物

    3 使人痛苦 (生氣) 的人 (事物)

    He is a thorn in my side. 他是我的眼中釘

    While thorn serves its purpose for roses to grow well, but it hurts people when one is not careful with the roses.


  4. cilipadi
    Jan 04, 2010 @ 16:50:03

    ESOR, read from right to left, is ROSE.

    Like Arab, read words from ‘right to left’ instead of many civilization read from ‘left to right’. Maybe this the reason why Arab, who are mainly Muslim, see thing differently from the rest.

    Dr. Hsu stops writing politics. Now he is keen to write from ‘right to left’. Either ways, politics is still in his blood. He is a political party member still. Is he still a ‘THORN’ in Gerakan? This is what I want to know.

    ESOR makan cili, ROSE rasa pedas


  5. Dr Hsu
    Jan 04, 2010 @ 16:54:50

    a thorn is a thorn by another other name.

    If it is born a thorn, it cannot change to a rose.

    Only thing now the thorn has lost of some of its sharpness because some blogger has tried to sandpapered the pointed end, but rest assured it will still be painful , and rest assured that it will continue its crusade in other ways.

    Yes, now you may either read between the lines or read from right to left instead of left to right.

    right makan cili, left kena pedas


  6. cilipadi
    Jan 04, 2010 @ 17:04:38

    Hahaha Dr. Hsu,

    You are a ESOR, you have many THORNS.

    One THORN blunt, other THORNS still sharp.

    Can reserve one thorn for the MONSter. Underground monster?

    THORN makan cili, MONSter rasa pedas


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