English, Engrish and Singlish

Image taken from Flickr By BooksActually

One thing that uniquely identifies a Singaporean from any other nationality in the world is our very own colourful adaptation of the English language. No one can really say where or when Singlish was born, but it sort of evolved along with Singapore as we grew from a lazy Kampong to what is now a bustling [and almost overcrowded] city.

You can never escape from Singlish as long as your feet are standing on Singapore soils. Be it in the local coffee shops, high-end mega-malls or even the military [especially the military...], or as we Singaporeans call it, the Army.

Here's a snippet from my previous, and now defunct, blog about how Singlish seems to be the most effective way to use the 26 letters of the alphabet.

Just like our infamous local dish 'Rojak', the Singaporean version of the unhealthy salad, where anything and everything from fruits to condiments to deep fried stuff is chucked into a single bowl and tossed about for a few minutes then magically it becomes a ready-to-serve local specialty dish, Singlish is the result of thousands of years of perfecting the art of mixing and matching all forms of languages to be able to express ourselves in the most efficient way possible.

Here are a few comparisons of how Singlish helps everyone save their voices.
[And for those of you who do not know of the word 'chim', it means 'very profound']

English: "Excuse me, may I borrow your pen for a moment?"

Chim-glish: "Sorry to interrupt, but would you be so accommodating as to furnish me with your writing apparatus for three winks?"

Singlish: "Paiseh, lend ah!"


English: "Is anything bothering you?"

Chim-glish: "My intuition is telling me that you are showing a hint of agitation as a result of some disconsolate events."

Singlish: "Ho Seh Bo?"


English: "Come on! You know it won't be as fun without you!"

Chim-glish: "Don't be a killjoy! Your participation in this event is highly anticipated."

Singlish: "Go lah!"


English: "Sorry, please excuse me."

Chim-glish: "Apologies my good sir, would you be so kind as to pardon my intrusion of your current personal space as I advance to my destination."

Singlish: "(Ex)Scuse!" [Silent 'Ex']

And of course, what language would be complete without our all time favourites, the swear words

English: "Fuck!"

Chim-glish: "Holy Mother of God!"

Singlish: "Sial Lah, Kan Ni Na Beh Cao Jee Toad Bye Bye Macham Barbie Pondeh~!"

The real inspiration that made me want to write this post was when I chanced upon a post in facebook comparing British English against American English:

Image taken from facebook

And my first thought on reading the post was "That is totally so not how we Singaporeans talk!". So here's my fix to the post, breaking up each picture into American, British and Singlish, just for laughs, and to be taken with a pinch of salt:

Singlish: HDB

Singlish: Yellow Cab

Singlish: Can

Singlish: Sweets

Singlish: Potato Chips

Singlish: Cupboard

Singlish: Biscuits

Singlish: Ja-gong

Singlish: Pampers

Singlish: Wind

Singlish: Jumper

Singlish: Lift

Singlish: Rubber

Singlish: Bo-tak [loosely translated as 'Hairless']

Singlish: PUB

Singlish: Torchlight

Singlish: MacDonald French Fries

Singlish: Dustbin


Singlish: Petrol

Singlish: Expressway

Singlish: Hood

Singlish: Aga-Aga [A type of jelly]

Singlish: License plate number


Singlish: Cinema

Singlish: Pyjamas

Singlish: Jeans

Singlish: Scotch Tape

Singlish: Pavement

Singlish: Shoes

Singlish: Football

Singlish: Letterbox

Singlish: Cooking Stove

Singlish: MRT

Singlish: Tyre

Singlish: Lorry

Singlish: Grocery Shopping

Singlish: Jia-Hong 
[loosely translated as 'Eat Wind' in Hokkien]

Singlish: Jacket

Singlish: Wiper

Singlish: Town Park

Singlish: Zip

 And so, the final verdict is:

American English:  8 
British English:     12
Singlish:               22

Singlish wins hands down!! And let's not even get started on the lah, le, leh, los...

Personally I have no objections against the use of Singlish, as long as it is used in the right context. It gives Singaporeans a sense of belonging and homeliness, especially during this xenophobic-like period. Instead of trying to abolish Singlish altogher, I feel we should embrace it and make it work for us.

For a country that has made the world relate it to a weird creature with the head of a lion and the tail of a fish, I don't think getting others to accept something that is remotely similar to one of the world's most spoken languages will be that difficult.

What's your favourite Singlish phrase?

Sir Waackalot Wins 5th Gatsby Dance Competition Regional Finals!

Hot Off the Press!

Amin Alifin a.k.a. Sir Waackalot, who was the winner of the Singapore Leg of this year's Gatsby Dance Competition, has been crowned this year's Regional Champion. Ousting finalists from Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and defending champions Japan, our very own Sir Waackalot has been dubbed Asia's number 1 dancer with his unique and creative combination of waacking, ballet, street jazz and many many other styles of dance. Being one of the only 2 solo finalists that day definitely did not faze him!

Who says Singapore doesn't have talented dancers?!

Catch his Singapore Finals performance here!

Quoted by our talented yet humble champion: "Although I’m shocked beyond shocked that I actually won, I feel blessed and thankful to be given such an opportunity."

An all-rounded entertainer, performer and dancer who excites and inspires with his dance. My utmost respect goes out to you Amin! Congrats again  and keep dancing man!

I can't wait to watch his winning performance! *Drools*

About GATSBY Dance Competition
GATSBY Dance Competition was created to bring together all young people who love GATSBY in Asia to join a popular activity among them, dance. The GATSBY Dance Competition is held in 8 different Asian countries (Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Japan), where the winner of each leg moves on to compete in Tokyo, Japan, to be crowned as the No.1 Dancer in Asia.

GATSBY is holding this contest for the 5th consecutive year.

Visit www.gatsby.sg or www.facebook.com/GatsbySingapore for more details.

BATA Spring/Summer Collection 2013 is here!

BATA Spring summer collection 2013

What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions BATA? [Apart from "Buy And Throw Away"?] That's right. I don't know about kids these days, but those you grew up in the 90s will know what we always went to BATA to look for new white school shoes every time our old ones worn out.

We would even use the chalk from the whiteboard to "clean" the dirty spots on our shoes!

When we were young, it was considered the trend in primary school to get velcro-on school shoes. Parents really had to thank BATA for the endless hours that would be wasted helping their children tie-up laced shoes before they left for school.

Then in secondary school, the trend shifted to towards the laced-up shoes. While most of us still bought our laced-up school shoes from BATA, the "cooler" kids made things a little more complicated by getting Converse shoes... But that's another story for another day.

Anyway, fast-forward to present day Singapore. Today, if you step into any of the BATA stores (use their store locator to find one near you) and you realise that BATA has evolved so much since the school shoe days.

The BATA of today boasts a wide range of footwear ranging from their flagship school shoes to trendy casuals (for guys) and flats (for girls) for the weekends, to formal leather office shoes (for guys) and classy heels (for girls)!

What's more, they are no longer the Buy And Throw Away quality that we once thought they were in our school days! [During those days, I had to get a new pair of shoes practically every half a year]

Mint Leong and myself where not supposed to be at the BATA Meets Bloggers Spring Summer Collection Preview launch, but a supposed casual dinner with Hplity and William Tan turned into us inadvertently tagging along for the event. Here's a big thank you to BATA Singapore for allowing us to gatecrash the event!

We were first introduced to the history of BATA and their hands-on process of Research & Development to come up with new designs that are trendy and fashionable but at the same time do not compromise on comfort and practicality.

I bet you didn't know that BATA was crowned as the "Largest Shoe Retailer and Manufacturer" by The Guiness Book of Records for having retail outlets in over 70 countries and production lines in 26 countries. And here we thought that BATA was just a small-time local company cashing in on the school shoe policy in Singapore.

Random Trivia: Where did BATA first originate from? 

Singapore? JB? Some say Batam? [oops wrong show...]

You are absolutely.... WRONG! BATA was founded in Switzerland in 1894! [Which makes it almost a hundred years older than you]

After the detailed insight on their design and development process, all the bloggers were allowed to pick a bag and a pair of shoes from the new Spring/Summer Collection to bring home!

Let the shopping frenzy begin!!

Girls being... well... girls....

While the guys just played it cool and waited for the ladies to disperse before deciding our bag and shoes in half the time the girls did... I'm not saying guys are not as picky as girls when it comes to quality, but rather, we are more efficient and make faster decisions! [I'm sure you're gonna get flamed for this comment]

Take this for example: Not sure which bag looks nicer on you? The solution is simple! Wear both and go around asking for feedback!!



After surfing the remains of what was left from the disaster called "Women Shopping", I managed to pick out my bag and shoes. Unfortunately, due to my immaculate knack of spotting quality products and designs, the shoe I selected was from the batch of New Arrival products and they did not have my size in stock. Thus, I ended up having to select another pair for the photoshoot.

They even had a photo booth for us to snap photos we can use for the BATA Bloggers Style Contest, where the top 4 bloggers with the most likes get a 3D2N trip to Jakarta to visit the BATA factory! Vote for me by:

1. Liking the BATA Shoe Singapore page
2. Liking my photo in this photo album

Here's a shameless photo spam of some of the shoots during the photoshoot to end off this post. Give BATA a chance the next time you walk by one of their stores and you just might be in for a pleasing surprise!

While taking this shot, someone commented that I look like the guy in poster behind.
Well, I say I pulled it off better than him! =P

I met so many popular local bloggers at the event! Too bad I have the memory and attention span of a goldfish and couldn't remember many of their names. Find out more on which bloggers were invited to their event from Mint Leong's post!