In increasingly cosmopolitan Singapore, languages can be really fun across culture and usage. Here are ten examples which I encountered myself:
1. Kani Nabe.
In Japanese, it refers to delicious crab hotpot. In Singlish, Kani Nabe means “fxxk your father”.
2. Paul Lampard
In English, Paul Lampard is the name of an ordinary English lad. In Singlish, it is used to refer to any lad who likes to carry balls and ass lick.
3. Chicken Pie or Cheese Pie
In English, the former is a pie with cooked chicken filling while the latter is a dessert pie. In Singlish, they are both euphemism for “Cheebye (vagina in hokkien)”. The former was popularised by online comedian, Steven Lim when he cursed someone as a Chicken Pie in one of his videos.
4. Go Fly Kite
In English, it would literally means going to fly a kite. In Singlish, it is a term used when asking someone to buzz off and go do something else instead of standing around being a busybody.
5. Blue Bird
It’s the name of a cab brand in Indonesia. In the English world, it can refer to Twitter, whose company logo is that of a blue bird. In Singapore, it’s translated as “lan jiao” in hokkien, with the same pronunciation for a penis.
6. Ne Ne
In Korean it just means “yes yes” and there is a popular fried chicken chain called Nene Chicken. In Singapore, ne ne is breasts in hokkien, which makes Nene Chicken, Chicken breasts.
In English, it refers to humming of music. In Singlish, it refers to cockles. The term is popularised by Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong and his catchphrase, “Mee Siam Mai Hum (malay noodle with no cockles)”.
Pronounced as Shaun in English, it is a common female name. In Singlish, it is read as “si-an” which means bored.
9. Michael Jackson
In English, refers to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, famous for songs like Black or White. In Singlish, you can order it as a mixed beverage consisting of soya bean milk (white in colour) and grass jelly drink (black in colour) at the local food centre.
In English, it refers to a tropical fruit. In Singapore, it is also a derogatory name for supporters of the ruling party, PAP (People’s Action Party). The party’s colour is white though, not orange.
If you have more such interesting terms to share, do share them in the comments. If there are enough interesting shares, I will put up a part 2 for this post or maybe even serialise it. 🙂