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Speaking Singlish

July 30, 2012

I have to say that when we got Kevin’s orders to report to Singapore, I was equal parts excited and terrified. Move to the other side of the world?? Does anyone even speak English there? Luckily, they do. English is actually one of the four official languages here in Singapore, along with Chinese, Malay, and Tamil (who knew Tamil was a language?!). Yes, English is an official language, but Singlish is the language of the people. It’s an odd combination of English and probably a dozen different Asian languages and dialects, and people will intersperse non-English words into their English conversations. Now, we’re talking more than just saying “y’all” every once in a while.  Singlish permeates speech on every level, and is most common in casual conversation. Saying “lah” and “leh” is as common as taking a breath – but why do they do it? Lords knows I don’t want to say something unwittingly inappropriate and be the outcast of the teachers’ lounge.To try to learn more, I’ve done a little research and have found some helpful websites. I think my best bet, though, will be camping out in a hawker stall an eavesdropping on the locals!

 

a hawker stall in Bugis Village

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“A journey of 1,000 miles …”

July 19, 2012

“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu

I typically think that this quote is somewhat trite and overused, but I think it’s an appropriate opening for my first blog post. Lao Tzu was a Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism, which is one of the more common religions practiced in Singapore today. This course has allowed me the time and attention I desperately needed to focus on what I will actually encounter when my husband and I move to Singapore next year. As I learned in my research, one can never over-prepare, and I am grateful I had this opportunity to find out more about Singaporean culture. Also, the study discussed the importance of journaling and reflecting. By starting this blog, I hope to train myself to regularly pause and think about my experiences and what I can learn form them.

Singapore Flyer in Marina Bay