Sunday, April 17, 2005

We also have wat!

I was reading an article titled “Kitty Litter: Japanese Cute at Home and Abroad” by Christine R. Yano and was fascinated by the various meanings of kawaii and how it means a lot more than cute in the Japanese context.

Then I think about my beloved home country, Singapore. Do we have words that communicate multiple meanings? No, “Chinese, Malay, Tamil or Others” words don’t count. Something “Uniquely Singapore” yet not promoted by the government nor the tourism board is Singlish. Recently, Big Fuck plugged our charming language in his post. Here, I have a crash course for Singlish[1] with 3 alphabets[2]:

Den (say “dend”)
English meaning: “So” or “And”
Use: Usually as an opening/reply/prompt. Can exhibit a defensive/hack-care/challenging tone
Example: "Den?" after your girlfriend tells you she cannot fit into her jeans.

Hor (say “hore”)
Meaning: Similar to the effect of a question mark or as filler to let recipient knows you are going to continue
Use: At the end of a question where you usually know or anticipate an answer but still want confirmation or a negation/in conjunction with other Singlish such as Den
Example: “I look fat hor?” as a question put to the boyfriend.

Lah (say “la”)
Meaning: Exhibits exasperation/frustration
Use: At the end of a statement
Example: “Not fat lah!” when your girlfriend asks you if she looks fat for the nth time.

Leh (say “lay”)
Meaning: Exhibits a persuasive/cajoling tone
Use: At the end of a statement
Example: “Tell me the truth leh.” when your boyfriend tells you for the nth time that you are “not fat lah”.

Lor/Loh (say “law”)
Meaning: Exhibits resignation
Use: At the end of a statement
Example: “Ok lor.” when your girlfriend requests that you tell her the truth about her fatness but you know you really shouldn’t or mustn’t.

Meh (say the first syllable of “merry”)
Meaning: Similar to the effect of a question mark. Exhibits disbelief.
Use: At the end of a question
Example: “Really meh?” when your boyfriend tells you “ok loh” after you wanted to know whether he thinks you are fat.

Mah (say “ma”)
Meaning: Exhibits exasperation/frustration or an inquiring tone
Use: At the end of a statement or question in conjunction with a Chinese word such as “hao”
Example: “I’m telling you the truth mah!” when your girlfriend seeks affirmation about her fatness and you have denied it for the nth time.

Orh (say “awe”)
Meaning: Exhibits compliance/obedience
Use: As a single word reply
Example: “Orh...” when you know your boyfriend is really getting pissed after you asked him for the nth time about your fatness.

Wah (say “wa”)
Meaning: Exhibits exclamation or incredulity
Use: At the start of a statement
Example: “Wah. Finally going to stop asking huh?” when your girlfriend really stopped asking you if she looks fat.

Wat (say “what”)
Meaning: “What”. Exhibits displeasure
Use: Same as how “what” is used
Example: “Wat?” when your boyfriend asks if you are going to question him about your fatness after you are finally appeased by his nth “not fat lah” reply.

Wei (say “way”)
Meaning: Exhibit a persuasive/cajoling tone or exclamation
Use: As a single word.
Example: “Wei…” when your girlfriend gets pissed after you teased her about not interrogating you further on her fatness and refuses to answer to your pleads for sex.

So, blacks have their Ebonics, Japanese have their Engrish, we also our Singlish wat!

[1] I realize some of these may not be applicable only in Singapore or to Singaporeans but whatever.
[2] This is not an exhaustive list. Feel free to leave a comment if you have more 3-character Singlish to introduce.

***Update: 18 Apr 2005, 12.34AM
In response to hai~ren who asked, "BTW, is this "Am I fat?" a girl thing or something?", I have the following:

Highly accurate

Why hai~ren (a.k.a guys) will never get it:

Without a doubt


Hai~Ren said...

Haha damn funny. I'm quite sure Adrian is in a tight spot now.

BTW, is this "Am I fat?" a girl thing or something?

jllt said...

You can check the latest update on the post. Illuminating pictures.

Hai~Ren said...

Ack. My eyes.

CELLE said...

bwahahhaha.. yes yes.. guys always think theyre damn fit..girrls otherrwise.. funny pics..

starstar said...

heh, u taking js/if3225 ah?

jllt said...

celle: At least like that fair. Both sexes are delusional.

starstar: Yep. Sadly.

jllt said...

Eh Star, I'm your groupmate leh. Studio Ghibli. ^-*

starstar said...

OMG KNS! and i was just blogging about the world being small 1+hours ago. wth??? hihi btw ^^"

jllt said...

Haha... Tiny circle, esp. with hai~ren amongst our midst. Hello!

jUnE said...

damn hilarious! LOL