Think about the town where you currently live: its local customs, traditions, and hangouts, its slang. What would be the strangest thing about this place for a first-time visitor?
Singapore, a city, an island, a red dot, a country, a nation…. all 718.3 sq km/277 sq mi of 5.4 million people.
We have our own brand of the English language called Singlish. It is normal to hear sentences ending with words like `lah’, `lor’, `hor’, `meh’ `ma’ and exclamations like `alamak’, `wah lau’, `abu den’, etc. Sometimes the sentences get more complicated with phrases such as:
- “Can like that one meh?” which means, “How is this possible?” or “This is ridiculous!”
- “Why you so like that!” which means, “Don’t be mean.” or “What is wrong with you?”
- “You see me no up ah.” which means, “Are you being condescending?” or “You’re putting me down.”
- “You give me no face.” which means, “Cut me some slack.” or “You let me down.”
It gets worse when words from the various languages and dialects get embedded in the sentences.
Seriously, I don’t think anyone needs to worry too much about it. It’s just a local thing and many visitors `get the drift’ pretty quickly. In fact, most of the locals will `switch on’ their textbook english taught in schools or learnt from western media when they meet non-locals.
We welcome everyone 🙂 Steady lah!