Tuesday 12 April 2011

Mormon Exploits Time in Hong Kong

As a young, clueless morman mormon stuck in Hong Kong for two years doing missionary work, here's what you can do. Learn the local lingo of course! Think of your two-year sentence as a cultural and linguistic exchange.

That's what brother Carlos Vidal did (see SCMP story here and partly below).

Unless there is obvious profiteering and queueing to be had in converting to Mormonism, the locals will not want to hear any crazy nonsense about Joseph Smith (dum dum dum dum dum from South Park Studios), so don't waste time peddling that cock-and-bull story. Instead, just seek out locals who want to learn English and offer to have regular meetings just to chat. That way, the locals get to learn English and you get to learn crazy nonsense about Hot Hong Kong girls. Fair exchange, eh mate?

For instance ...

Learn how to identify typical Hot Hong Kong girls by learning the term gung jyuh behng to denote Hong Kong girls who are high-maintenance and behave like princesses spoilt brats.

Leverage this local knowledge to nab a Hong Kong girlfriend (just as brother Vidal has done). And because of the mormon faith, it is conceivable to move to, say, Utah, and practice polygamy too. Just imagine having more than one Hong Kong gung jyuh behng. It's enough to drive even the nicest, most mildest mormon insane! Lol.

In case you missed it, here is the Morman headline mistake in the SCMP

Mormon wins fans with humorous take on Cantonese slang (SCMP; paywall)
Lana La
Apr 10, 2011

A Canadian Mormon who spent two years in Hong Kong in his teens has become so popular on YouTube with his comedic take on Cantonese slang that Cathay Pacific (SEHK: 0293) has bankrolled his flight to the city.

Carlos Vidal (pictured), 25, lives in Vancouver and arrives in Hong Kong tomorrow as one of eight finalists in a travel competition run by the airline.

His claim to fame is the two dozen videos he made at home under his stage name, Carlos Douh, the surname being the pinyin of a Chinese surname, To, that his Cantonese teacher gave him seven years ago.

His most popular video has had 800,000 views and describes the phrase gung jyuh behng, or princess sickness, which refers to young Hong Kong girls who are high-maintenance and behave like princesses.

The next most popular video is for chok yeung, which refers to an exaggerated, model-like pose in a photo, similar to the "blue steel" phrase from US film Zoolander.

"Everybody likes that one because it's pretty in right now. It was pretty popular in December and January, too," Vidal said.

In just three months, he's attracted 2.8 million views of his videos and almost 22,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. He's even selling T-shirts with a trademark phrase. "I don't feel like a celebrity but everyone keeps saying that I am," he said.

Last week, he was made a YouTube partner, which means he is starting to cash in on his celebrity status. But it's only small fry, for now. He makes a profit every time someone views a video and watches the preview advertisement.

"It's not very much yet. In one week, I put up one video and it got about 20,000 views and made about US$70," he said.

Vidal's love for the Cantonese language started when he lived in Hong Kong from 2004 for two years doing voluntary missionary work with his church.

"It slowly progressed over time and I was able to get the hang of it. My Chinese is still far from sounding exactly like a native. It's a really complex language and there's lots to learn, but it's fun to be able to communicate with people now. I feel like I understand and have learned a lot more about the people and the culture through their own language."

His girlfriend also helps with his language skills. "She's originally from Hong Kong and her native language is Cantonese so we speak mostly Cantonese together," he said.

Now in his final year of a business degree in Canada, Vidal said he found his YouTube niche by accident after he started making videos teaching people how to speak Cantonese last October.

"Instead of teaching regular, everyday words which wouldn't get that many views, I started doing slang words and people just thought it was really funny.

"American-born Chinese teenagers and college-age students were watching and learning new slang. So it just kind of picked up from there.

"There's tonnes of different slang words but I think, `How can I make this one funny and creative in a video?' So I pick the ones that I have ideas for. Fans now are also suggesting things."

But don't expect any swear words, despite profanity being central to Cantonese slang: "That's just not my style," he said.


  1. aimlesswanderer12 April 2011 at 21:12

    This must be who the bro's wife was talking about. Her description: "some dumb gweilo who tries to teach people weird cantonese, and who has somehow become popular. His accent is horrible".

  2. The Egg phenomenon strikes again!

  3. aimlesswanderer13 April 2011 at 20:03

    Youtube and who gets "famous" is quite often very mysterious.

    The bro's wife likes watching the "makeup tips" videos...