By Vincent Tan
Feature image belongs to Abhi Sharma
Get a new dictionary for 2016. 19 Singlish words are now officially ‘real’ English, thanks to the Oxford English Dictionary which included them into their lexicon this year.
Here’s a quick trip through most of the additions:
Wah! Char siu got, teh tarik got, chilli crab & hawker centre also got! Shiok! Why still blur like sotong? Don’t lepak at HDB lah! Later killer litter sabo you. Bring your ang moh friend, we go makan.
And now you’re pretty much up to date.
The OED even provides helpful examples which will no doubt be of great benefit to ang moh readers (such as the Queen of England):
1) ANG MOH
1899 Singapore Free Press Permit thy humble servant to approach thee by the way of my friend Tan Tan Tiam, who knoweth the Ang Moh‘s speech, and kindly consenteth to write to him.
1995 Business Times (Singapore) Ah Fatt, why you blur like sotong [i.e. squid]?
3) CHINESE HELICOPTER
1985 Army Daze The story goes that a recruit, when asked what school he came from, answered ‘Chinese helucated’, which went down in the army annals as Chinese helicopter.
1977 New Nation (Singapore) Fantas. Ooh-la-la. Phew-whew. Wowie. Shiok. Jazzy, man. Beaut.
Now more weird little things we say have the stamp of approval, the thinking goes that Singapore’s students can write more naturally in their essays, and travellers to the UK might feel more at ease in the birthplace of English. Perhaps someday soon, the Queen might even sneak in a “shiok!” over tea and crumpets.
Here are the 19 local terms that, together with “Lah” in 2000 and “Kiasu” in 2007, the OED judged will stand the test of time.
- ang moh
- char siu
- chilli crab
- Chinese helicopter
- hawker centre
- killer litter
- lepak, n.
- lepak, v.
- sabo, n.
- sabo, v.
- sabo king
- teh tarik
- wet market