Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Singlish

These are some daily conversations in Singapore, which I think relates closely to Singlish:

Singlish Scenario 1
Cashier: Do you need a carrier?
Cashier is asking if need a plastic bag for the goods/ groceries. Was a lil bit lost when I heard it for the first time.

Singlish Scenario 2

Grocery lady: It's 3 pieces... ok?
Me: Can...
One ang moh friend pointed how we use the word 'can' so freely. I guess I'm also into Singlish lah... haha.

Singlish Scenario 3
But at times, I do answer with:
"Yeah, that will be great" or "Yeah, that will be cool".
And I've heard some friends (from Malaysia) telling huh - What is great? Or what is so cool? What talking you?

More Than Language
At other times, it's not so much the language, but the things conveyed.

Me: What time does it close?
Counter lady: At 10pm... SHARP.

Wow, I was a lil taken aback by the 'sharp-ness' of the customer service. And I replied "I'll be out by then!", which she laughed (good thing she did).

There are other Singlish encounters which I find rather interesting, and many times, I think I speak it as well unknowingly. But well, in Singapore, let's do what the Singaporeans do... which btw, I think is not too bad lah :)

*Interestingly the 'need a carrier question' happens more so in Singapore and less in Malaysia, for its green campaign. In fact many times, they don't even give you a carrier/ plastic bag if for only 1 small item, which I think is good for earth :)

Read More On Singlish.


  1. quachee,
    You made me remember how my friend from middle east said, "Can can!" haha!

  2. carrier? lol
    i sure will jadi blur if i heard that hehe

  3. carrier? Sounds like something more expensive than a plastic bag.. Haha

  4. Haha! Very funny! An aircraft carrier just for your groceries? Wow!

  5. i won't know what is "carrier" if that's they way the put it. i'll probably went "huh?" or "sorry?" instead. XD

  6. i din kno u so particular in language wan..

  7. @kok
    the 'can' word used quite often in malaysia too ya :)

    @adila & levian
    ya, i guess those who havent heard before will. but apparently its so common here :)

    @pervertism101 & foongpc
    ya that was what i thought at first haha

    yes, i am particular in language. i find language amusing, and like cultures, it differ from country to country.

    its just like english, or for that matter mandarin. we in malaysia or singapore speak different english, from the brits or americans, and even amongst ourselves.

    so is our mandarin different from that of china (not entirely, but there is a difference).

    if one is to observe, one will understand how a community thinks via their language :)

  8. I think that Manglish/Singlish usage of words like 'can', 'already' are translations from BM - i.e. 'boleh' and 'sudah'.

  9. Carrier easier to pronounce than plastic bag (more of a mouthful) :P

  10. Singlish scenario 3 - I think this isn't quite unique with Singlish. :P

  11. @julian
    nice insight. come of think of it, it can be from mandarin too? :)

    ya, i think you are right. but i think just saying bag is easier haha . i guess its not so common though ive heard this a few times - maybe because people may get confused that one needs to buy the bag. so, carrier it is! :)

    agree. i think it comes a lot from usa. but think we are quite influence by them.

    over in some parts of malaysia (not too sure about cities like kl & penang), these words may not be used so often, or hardly at all. a simple 'ok' would be more common :)

  12. I din kno u can c how other thinks from language.. haha..

    but yea, our mandarin is different from china in the accent which shows whether we r frm Msia or China, and the vocabs.. they use certain vocabs which we dont n vice versa..

    english, yea, got singlish, manglish, hahaha... but i think i read from somewhere some time ago, there is no point correcting it as it is a signature of who we are...

    but in someway, shud change la.. even Phua Chu Kang oso kena pergi english class to correct his lousy english.. hahaha... dun play play yea!! :P

  13. @teddy
    nice way of putting it :)

    let me explain on how we can see a community's culture by their language.

    i was watching tv and switching channels - from english to chinese and malay.

    you can hear in american tv, words which portray confidence. basically in usa, confidence is key and it's shown through their language. no 'buts', 'ifs', but words like 'yeah', 'sure!', 'done'.

    then you switch to chinese tv, and though confidence is important, but it mustn't be too outright.

    and it is quite similar on the malay channel - in fact a bit more. though again confidence is important, but one must not show to be overconfident, and that means the american language may not work in the malay tv.

    you can see from the artistes, that the demure lady image sells better than the good but rather confident lady image of some artistes. but if you do that for usa, then, the just demure lady, may not really sell, but the confident one will sell so much more.

    haha hope i didnt make you lost there. can understand hor? :)

  14. too late... lost olede! seriously!! hahha


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