Thursday, August 11, 2005

Singlish, 山歌 and no "jeem"

Stef asked me the other day how come my English is er… understandable to her. Huh? Then she explained herself. It turns out that she is teaching in the university. In her class for this semester, there happens to be quite a number of Singaporeans. I suppose these formed a clique amongst themselves and "self select" everytime there is a need for group discussions. During such discussions, Stef CANNOT understand much of what they're saying. She said that she can catch snatches of English here and there but it doesn't seem to be exactly English. To quote her, “有點兒像在唱山歌的感覺!”

I was amused. I have many China Chinese friends and I always told them how I enjoy listening to their spoken Chinese, especially that of 北方人 (Chinese from the northern part of China). It sounds melodious unlike the typical Singaporean counterpart. Like comparing an uncut diamond to the finished product. So it is amusing to hear a Chinese's views on our Singlish. Apparently, it sounds melodious to them as well.

I explained to her that I've long trained myself to suppress my Singlish when speaking to my non-Singaporean friends. Then I broke into a 5 second oratory of Singlish to make my point. Her reaction has to be seen to be believed. She must have thought I've morphed into some alien.

As previously mentioned, the day before yesterday was National Day and also my niece's 3rd birthday. Being the doting gu gu that I am, I called home to sing the obligatory birthday song to her. 慧 was already well engrossed in watching the new Pingu VCDs and playing with the new Pingu figurines her mum bought her (see pic below).
When it was time to go, my mum asked 慧 to give me a "kiss".

"慧慧 kiss gu gu, ma ma 就放電話"

3 seconds silence...

"Gu gu 在電話裏面, 不可以 jeem (hokkien for kiss)"

Akan Datang: Beckonings

232 days to go.


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