An English friend came to visit some years ago, and she went away thinking that Singaporeans were such loving people… all because we had the habit of ending each sentence with love, or so she thought.
What she really heard was…
Thank you, lah
Too expensive lah
Singlish is rooted in Singapore’s short but tumultuous history.
In the early 19th Century, immigrants of three major ethnicity – Malay, Chinese and Indian came to Singapore to establish trade.
As all of them spoke in different languages and dialects, over time, these tongues affected each other and, in a much stronger way, the English language.
This resulted in Singlish, a colourful and unique Singaporean English that lives by the rules of Chinese grammar and is generously sprinkled with words from Hokkien, Malay and Indian dialects.
Singlish in written form is no less puzzling – complex phrases are avoided, verbs may be left out, definite articles generally ignored and indications of plurality and tenses are optional.
The most common Singlish word any visitor learns first is “lah” – a particle that’s frequently used at the end of a sentence for emphasis!
While purists may bemoan the Queen’s English, there’s no denial that Singlish is the first building block of Singaporeans cultural identity and a distinct legacy of the country’s unique story
Established in 1956, Kampong Buangkok is the last surviving village in mainland Singapore
Thanks to our founding fathers, we’ve come a long way from the days of living in kampongs – often characterized by dilapidated attap houses or wooden houses with leaky zinc-roofs, and limited water and electricity supply.
Hidden away … off Yio Chu Kang Road, the forgotten rustic and rural Kampong Buangkok is nestled amidst lush, flowering tapioca, papaya, guava and yam plants
The occasional crowing of a rooster is what shatters the silence in the kampong’s tranquil atmosphere
In contrast to the high-rises that carpet Singapore, there are about 28 single-storey, wooden, zinc-roof houses, situated in a land about the size of three football fields
In addition to the wooden houses, another rare sight in the kampong is the mess of electric cables suspended overhead
It’s also not uncommon to see dogs, cats and chicken roaming about …lizards and squirrels scurrying past the dirt roads, or find guppies swimming in the nearby Sungei Punggol Canal
As to whether this 40-plus year-old kampong will survive the rapid urbanisation of Singapore still remains a question mark
So better go see it before it’s gone… especially if you’re heading near Gerald Drive, off Yio Chu Kang Road
Merlion (combination of “mer” meaning the sea and “lion”)
If there’s one thing that shouts Singapore, it’s the Merlion – a mythical creature with a lion’s head and a body of a fish
While the fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village back when it was called “Temasek” meaning “sea town” in Javanese
The lion head represents Singapore’s original name—”Singapura”—meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”
If you can recall… the original Merlion statue used to stand at the mouth of the Singapore River, at the tip of the current Fullerton Waterboat House Garden with Anderson Bridge as its background
But after the completion of the Esplanade Bridge in 1977, it blocked the views of the Merlion from the Marina Bay waterfront, so the statue had to be relocated to the current Merlion Park
There are five other Merlions in Singapore btw
So be sure to check them out soon!
The two-metre-tall cub statue standing behind the original statue
The 8.6-metre-tall original statue at Merlion Park
The 37-metre-tall gigantic replica at Sentosa Island
The three-metre-tall glazed polymarble statue at Tourism Court
The three-metre-tall polymarble statue placed on Mount Faber’s Point
And just in case you were wondering, the Merlion is a male
It has… over the years become a marketing icon used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore