这是籴米的籴字，发音 di， 粤音与“笛”同。哦，一讲“笛米”，大家都听过，买米也。不过在我平常交往的文盲圈子里，大部分人已经不再认识这个在传统中国人生活中很重要的一个字。
I bet they don’t teach you this word in Chinese classes: 籴 (di) means specifically “buy rice”, a very important word in traditional Chinese life. It was in common colloquial use in Hong Kong before rice shops were replaced by supermarkets, and people on a low carb diet regard most staples poisonous.
When I was a kid, we used to buy rice (籴米) from neighbourhood rice shops (米铺: mi pu) with big wooden barrels filled to the rim with various fragrant grains. Mum would grab a handful, sniff it, and let it sieve through her fingers. She might then order different types of rice blended for better texture and taste. A coolie would then deliver it in big jute bags, carried on shoulder. At home, the jute bag would be emptied into a rice bin (米缸: mi gang). Every Cantonese household had a rice bin. Besides smelling great, they were excellent incubators for unripe mangoes bought at a discount.
I though 籴 was a market slang. In fact, it was also a formal word used by court officials in reporting the movement of rice to the emperor. The reverse flow - the selling of rice - is 粜 (tiao)米, a much less common term to the average person.
|A big rice shop on the right (circa 1960's)|
|A modern day rice shop - shrunken and rare |
(still surviving, I think)
Note: I didn't take these photos. Just grabbed them from an old photo junk mail for illustration.