First up are some little updates.
I’m currently away from Singapore so please be patient with me. I have so much to share with you especially my new Nike street styles and my Stripped Bare confessions but they’ll have to wait till next week when I’m back. Meanwhile I’ve scheduled a few posts to be released while I’m away.
Which brings me the topic of today’s post – Singlish (or for the benefit of my foreigner friends, a hodgepodge of English, Malay and Chinese Dialects that has become distinctively known as Singaporean’s version of English).
Do we consider it an accent or is it a slang? Maybe a bit of both. In recent times it’s been the hot topic of discussion because of Ris Low and her infamous “BOOMZ” or the Singlish speaking computer game character Bolo Santosi (if you have yet to hear it then click on the video below).
But this Singlish issue isn’t new. Puah Chu Kang has been around for years and phrases like ” Don’t pray pray (play play)” and ” Use your blain (brain)” has been integrated into our society even before Ris Low appeared. In fact, who could forget the episode of “Amazing Race” with Mr Puah Chu Kang himself representing Singapore!
We have at some point of time felt disgusted or embarrassed when we hear someone on TV speak Singlish but Singlish is inherently a very distinct identity of Singaporeans. My uncle who is an American couldn’t understand all the ‘lah, lah, lor lors’ when he came to visit and found that Singaporeans can generally write pretty good English but are terrible at annunciating words properly or use too much local Chinese or Malay words in the mix.
I think it’s important to be able to speak both proper English as well as Singlish and to know the difference. There is nothing wrong with Singlish because we are a multi-racial country and how we’ve integrated that to our language is amazing. Every country has it’s own slang from ” Yo matey” to “Whatssup”. So I think it’s perfectly fine to use ” Alamak” or “can lah” in our causal conversations. The key is to know when NOT to use it. Just like how it’ll be weird to use ” Yo, matey, whatssup with ya these days.” in a formal business meeting or a public speech; Singaporeans should learn not to use Singlish or local slangs with lahs and lors in formal presentations, interview or anything proper.
My issue is with the Singaporeans lack of discretion in using the right words at the right occasion and the inability to switch to proper English rather than at Singlish itself.
A non-Singaporean friend was complaining about how terrible Singaporean’s English have become and how Singlish is probably the worst accent/slang to have because no non-Singaporean can understand us. I felt that it was an extremely bias statement. Our neighbor country has their version of English, known as the Manglish… but they don’t get the same international criticizing we get. And as for worst accent/slang, my vote goes to the Scottish. If you have ever heard a Scot (especially from Glasglow) speak in their accent, you probably wouldn’t think it’s even English. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, see the clip below.
So what’s your take?
Yay to Singlish for local identity or Nay – Singlish has got to be the most embarrassing Singaporean hallmark.