Sunday, August 20, 2023

"Woman charged $608 for lobster la mian"

SingPoWriMo 2023 Day 3.

The prompt is to write a poem in Singlish. I will try. I speak it everyday.

photo by Pexels at pixabay

"Woman charged $608 for lobster la mian"

I never said that hor, it was in the news. Or some social media feed. Then if you look at the picture, the dish does look like a plate of vomit. The eater said one hor. Also cannot see the lobster. For that price? No wonder the woman kao pei kao bu. But never ask the price in the first place meh? Or look at the menu? Die die must eat here meh? I think some people are blur like sotong, or so rich till dun care. I wish I am rich liddat hor. Then can eat lobster noodle also. But liddat in the picture, I also complain one even if I got money to burn. Talking about money, that 600+ can fly budget to Oz and eat the lobster there. Lagi more fresh. Maybe can also throw in scallops, prawns and if you want, hum. (hum very expensive now, the char kway teow uncle told me). Okay lah, the kopitiam downstairs just renovated and open, let me see what I can get there. La mian?


Notes :

blur like sotong : used to describe a clueless person. Sotong is Malay for squid, which squirts ink to escape from predators. The ink makes it hard to see.
char kway teow : a stir-fried dish of rice noodles.
die die must try : something so great the person must try, no matter what.
hum : blood cockles.
kao peh kao bu : complain. Usually a big complaint. From Hokkien literally meaning 'cry father cry mother'
lagi : Malay word for more, greater or further.
la mian - "pulled" noodles, i.e. hand-made noodles.
liddat : like that
uncle : a male who is middle-aged or older, not necessarilly a relative and especially not well acquainted. The female form is auntie.
hor, lah, meh :(also mah, leh, siah as other examples) these are discourse particles occurring at the end of a sentence. It does not change its grammatical meaning, but how it is spoken changes the meaning or tone of the sentence, for example indicating annoyance, disbelief, amazement , etc.

CNA Insider - How Singlish Went From 'Cannot Make It' To National Hero | Singlish: Why We Talk Like That? - Part 1

(It's a bit longish, but interesting.)

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2023

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Anonymous Sunra Rainz said...

This was such fun to read! And I really appreciated the glossary at the end, it really helped me take in the Singlish when I read it the second time! Now I've also got a craving for noodles... :-)

20 August, 2023 07:14  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I love this! And did even before reading the glossary (which I was glad to have).

A Greek-Australian poet called Pi O has made a career out of attempting to put on paper, in his poems, the way people actually speak, actually sound, transcribing what he hears around him. This reminds me of that; I hear it as I read.

20 August, 2023 08:31  
Blogger colleen said...

I'm fascinated by that language. It reminds me of how my friends and I spoke gibberish in school so that we could speak freely and not be understood!

20 August, 2023 10:24  
Blogger Jim said...

Tell the Wizzard hello for me, Dwight. Yes, he likes scallops but for me they have not taste. Most fish do not, the price I paid for having COVID I guess. I was going to answer in your kind of language, but time doesn't permit now.

20 August, 2023 11:10  
Anonymous Jewish Young Professional "JYP" said...

I love this. The narrator voice is so perfect. Even to a non-Singlish reader, I felt like I got this.

20 August, 2023 20:01  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you!
I am glad the glossary helps.
Talking about noodles, we have many creative ways of cooking them. 😀


Thank you!
I thought you would cringe at the grammar. 😁 Glad the glossary helps too.
On a side note, perhaps that's why sometimes the grammar in my English poetry is going sidewards. 😅


Thank you!
I think Singlish evolved out of a need for the various ethnic groups that made up the population (especialy the lesser educated ones) to have a language that most of us will understand and communicate with. It's main vocab will be English, but there will be words from borrowed from Malay, Hokkien, Cantonese and Tamil.
Yes, in school, we too use some code words or slang (Singlish too, which the teachers all frowned upon) to escape the teachers' attention. 😄

20 August, 2023 21:13  
Anonymous Mrs.Trellis said...

When I was at school I had a friend who made a passable attempt at speaking English backwards. After a bit one got used to not trying to understand him, but merely listening was delightful. Example. One of our classmates was called "Gordon Mellor' who came out as "Roll'em Nodrog." I'm sure you get the idea.
In passing, anyone agree with me the the monoglot British are well on the way to becoming the worst English speakers on Earth?

20 August, 2023 21:28  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you!
Hello, Wizzard! 😄
Yes, some lost their sense of taste after COVID, but don't worry, it will slowly return.
There are some good videos of our language on youtube. It's quite easy to learn. 😃


Thank you!
It's great to hear that. 😀

Mrs. Trellis,

Thank you.
That takes skill, I don't think I can speak English backwards.
Your monoglot British may not be the worst English speakers on Earth. You haven't heard our Singlish yet. 😄

20 August, 2023 22:09  
Blogger Helen said...

Got to say a huge THANK YOU for the notes! This was a fun read. If I attempted it, it would have to be own time own target!!

21 August, 2023 08:33  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Helen!

Oh Wow! You know how to speak like us. 😮😁

21 August, 2023 20:36  
Blogger Priscilla King said...

I've tried writing down a few things older people have said, from memory, as "The Poetry of Real Appalachian Speech." Very different from this, but the idea is similar. The way people used to talk, and the things they used to say, deserve to be remembered.

22 August, 2023 00:03  
Blogger Cad said...

Where Ada leads, I often follow, and I'm delighted she lead me here. Playing with words, in any shape or form, is what gives every language is own array of colours and musical tones...'Play it again, Sam!', eh?

22 August, 2023 17:57  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you.
That's very true. Some of our Chinese dialects are in danger of dying because the younger generations don't speak them anymore, and no one makes any attempt to record them.
I understand Appalachian English is often sterotyped as unsophiscated and uneducated, because of the way it is spoken, but it is not true.
Your " The Poetry of Real Appalachian Speech." hopefully will be a way to preserve the language.


Welcome, Cad!
Man, I shouldn't be calling you that!. 😄
But you're right about playing with words, it's so much fun.

22 August, 2023 22:02  
Blogger Rajani Rehana said...

Beautiful blog

24 August, 2023 20:58  
Blogger said...

This was fun to read; glad the meanings were provided below.

25 August, 2023 08:41  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Sara! :)

25 August, 2023 21:38  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Rajani. :)

25 August, 2023 21:43  

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