Thursday, October 05, 2006

Funny thing: Singlish

I was just thinking about Singlish the other day when I suddenly realized one thing:

It is the kind of language that all races in Singapore speak and understand.


C'mon admit it. Everybody Singaporean speaks like dat. Why, huh? I don't know lah; it's like a growing organism, evolving with new words added to the rojak (mixed-up) vocab every other day.

An ang-moh speaking it just doesn't sound right, yes? No offense to my ang-moh friends but they will say something like 'I'm trying to understand you. Lah'. Notice the pause before the lah? *cringe*

And we just cannot get enough of it! God knows I've tried to purge it out from my system. The roots go a long, long way.

It's not Racial Harmony day, it's not National Day, it's not campaigns or National Education or even writing lots of newspaper articles on patriotism, loyalty to country, Uniquely Singapore or what-have-yous.

Yes, it's Singlish. Unfortunately.

Purely because everyone from Ah-Peks, Ah-Mas, aunties at the markets, the Bibis, the Ka-Ka neighbours, the Ah-Neighs at the Mama shops, the kids at the playground, you and I. Everybody uses it!

It's like a National Identity.

And the government thinks it's not good for us. From the English technical point of view, absolute yes, it's bad. From a cultural, Singaporean Ah-beng, Ah-Mat, Ah-neigh, brudder perspective - resounding NO!

What else, you tell me, can make a group of young men from various backgrounds, educational levels and races doing their National Service (aka Army) and communicating on a sama-sama (same) wavelength?

I'd swear it's not the green-coloured uniforms they wear but yes, it's Singlish. You speak Singlish, I understand. Brudder-brudder. Siong or not, we ciong together, k? And the Sergeant snickers, "Today, whole platoon going to get tekan (punishment) becoz all super-slow. You are supposed to fly, you understand? Nevermind, take your time, hor!"

Rings a bell, doesn't it? Every Singaporean mother son of a Malay, Indian, Chinese soldier understands the sentences above. Do you think the Sergeant will speak in perfect English and then invite you over for a cup of tea?

Ling-pei say kena sai! Er, nevermind this translation.

Changing the lifestyle and the way we speak daily is like removing our very common identity that binds us as Singaporeans. Uniquely. As PCK says - some say in JB and Batam. Heh.

How often (if at all) do you see the Straits Times publishing:

  1. "Today one Taiwanese politician hantam (hit, punch) the opposition member. Then all fight like siao (madness) in the Parliament House."
  2. "Lebanon kena bomb until bin-qi-qi (translate 'face green-green' or means unbearable) by Israel. So buay-song (not happy), hantam back with rockets into Israeli towns."
  3. "LTA (Land Transport Authority) says 'Fare hike increase bo-bian (cannot help it). Oil prices increase. MP salaries increase. Anyway cheap-cheap what, only few cents.'

    In response, opposition Workers' Party says 'Siao, think money grow on trees. Your father surname Lee, huh?

    In retort, LTA says 'Ah-but then (Needless to say). Buay-song, huh? Say some more, I fix you'.

    WP says 'You wait, hor. For now, chiam-see-tong...' (be patient, wait a while. Also has similar spelling as veteran opposition leader with same name. Coincidental?)"
You see, when you type it out, it seems all weird. But when you share over a coffee with your friends with kopi-tiam (coffee-shop, means idle chatting) talk, everyone understands what you are getting at.

Funny, hor?

By the way, the post-65ers doing hip-hop for CNY (Chinese New Year) is definitely not funny or cool. The word spreading in blogs is 'LAME' - Losing All Mental Effectiveness.

  1. We don't need you to connect with us. Just listen.
  2. When implementing policies, not only use your brains but also your heart and conscience.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

basically the elites are still stuck in the colonial or post-colonial mentality, it is a sub-symptom of the pinkerton symdrome.

cheebye one lah..