My friend, Rebecca, shared this video on her Facebook some time back: “Malaysian English: The Most Colourful English in the World”. It is funny and peppered with lots of localized English.

After watching it, I was inspired to write something about Singlish, our own variation of so-called “Broken English”. I think the title of this post is a good start, don’t you agree? I bet you aren’t surprised to see a WittyCulus acronym for “SINGLISH” 🙂

Let’s Get Started with Singlish

Whether you would admit it or not, Singlish is much rooted in Singapore and is largely influenced by the Chinese language. It’s sort of “Think in Chinese, Say in English”, the reverse of “English In, Chinese Out”, something I touched on earlier.

Are you worried that your English would soon become “Ingerrish”? Fret not. Many of us grew up listening to and using Singlish, yet we managed to strike a fine balance between learning proper English in school and mingling with friends using our native version of the language. (BTW, this blog is good proof of this.)

Singlish — Lesson One

If your knowledge of Singlish isn’t that rich, you are not to blame; and you are not alone. It may not be so easy to understand the constructs of Singlish, but with the lessons we’d roll out, soon you can qualify as an expert. So, let’s get started with the basics…


This word is perhaps the first (pun here) we should start with, and aptly so. “One” is so commonly used in Singlish, sometimes like a “punctuation mark”. It comes mainly from the Chinese word ; in some cases, it’s from .

You’d hear it often, like in “This is my one.”; “I don’t like this one.”; “This one more better!”; “This is his one, you cannot choose that one meh?”; etc. Let’s analyze:

  • This
  • is
  • my
  • one.   
  • 喜欢
  • I
  • don’t
  • like
  • this one.   
  • 更加好!
  • This one
  • more better!   
  • 这是
  • 不可以
  • 吗?
  • This is
  • his one,   
  • you
  • cannot
  • choose
  • that one
  • meh?   

Speak Good English

To make sure we stay balanced, here’s the same in English:

Don’t say this: This is my one.
Say this instead: This is mine.

Don’t say this: I don’t like this one.
Say this instead: I don’t like this.

Don’t say this: This one more better!
Say this instead: This is better!
Say this instead: This is much better!

Don’t say this: This is his one, you cannot choose that one meh?
Say this instead: This is his, can’t you choose another?

Don’t Shy Lah

Do you feel inferior using Singlish? Don’t like that, can or not? As the saying goes: “When in Rome, do what the Romans do.” Ours may be that Little Red Dot, but we have a chilli-padi red-hot quirky variation of English we can uniquely call our own.

See I No Good, Lousy Inggerish; So How? Don’t shy lah — add a little personal touch to your conversations and have fun with Singlish 🙂

Tune in to Lesson Two, in a while…

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>