October 11, 2012


Zuo (做) means do or work. If you say "Don't work" in Cantonese, it can refer to some work the person is doing (做工) or it can refer to a performance (做戏).

One Friday afternoon I met two friends along the road. They are amateur Cantonese opera performers. We stopped briefly for a few words. The dialogue was in Cantonese.

They were on their way to do some voluntary work. One of them told me she would be performing on Saturday night and asked me to support her. 

From her voice, I think she was not feeling well. I asked her. Yes, she said, she was on medication and was recovering.

Take more rest, I said. Don't work; let your friend do it.

You don't like to see me perform, is it? She said in jest.

For a moment I was wondering why she said that. Then I realized that she misunderstood me. When I said don't work she thought I meant don't perform. So I told her I meant don't do the voluntary work, not about her performing.

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