Saturday, March 01, 2014


Singaporeans will recognise this word. It isn't by any means the English of the Queen. Yet
this is the singular word that comes from that variant of English known as Singlish. Maybe some linguist might want to deconstruct and trace the root of this word. To the rest of us Singaporeans, we just use it in our unique eateries known as Foodcourts, but actually was, and still is, known as hawker centres.

For those foreign to this word, it means reserving a seat at a hawker centre. This is usually done by placing a packet of tissue paper on an empty seat, which in effect is saying to one and all would-be diners that the seat is taken. Well this is not the only Singlish word listed. There are others such as 'teh siu dai', 'kopi o', 'Michael Jackson' and others. Hold on, 'Michael Jackson' is Singlish? Well of course not. Its one of those lingoes that has entered Singaporean coffeeshop speech that refers to a specific concoction of drink - mixed Singapore style, of course. This 111 page book is very informative, even for an old Singaporean like me. There are pictures in all pages and words are used sparingly only to explain the word or lingo. This serves as a manual of sorts, particularly for those of us who are often bewildered by the names of various concoctions of drinks available at Singaporean heartland coffeeshops.

If you are foreign to these terms, and I don't just mean a foreigner in Singapore, this will be a good book to leaf through before you head down to the coffeeshop to demonstrate solidarity with the heartland crowd.

No comments: