Singapore

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The Malay Language (Bahasa Melayu)

This video is all about the Malay language (Bahasa Melayu), one of the most most important languages in Southeast Asia. Thanks to Anwarul Adzizi Adeni for volunteering to read the Malay sentences!

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Bukit Pasoh (left) and Keong Saik (right) shophouses. 

All Rights Reserved, fqwimages.

Collages of shophouse facades in Bukit Pasoh and Keong Saik streets. These old shophouses have distinctive architectures and have changed over the years. The vintage facades contrast intriguingly with the modern artefacts like cars, recycle bins etc. 

Looking at the facades of these shophouses invariably brings this book titled “How Buildings Learn” to my mind - which is a study of how buildings change and mould over time. I suppose, in a way, the collages above are a form of “How Streets Learn”.

Another collage of the shophouses in the Spottiswoode can be seen here.

If you know of areas with a bunch of interesting old shophouses of Singapore, please tell me in the comments below!

Joseph Schooling’s Diary 2008:

“Met Michael Phelps at a careers event. He was nice, asked me if I wanted to be an astrophysicist or a biologist. I said neither, but I did want to beat him to Gold in the Olympics. He laughed, and I laughed too.”.


Finally got to achieve his ambition - August 2016.

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This year’s ramadhan felt more meaningful for me alhamdulillah and that made Eid all the more special this year. I’m so blessed to celebrate it again with my family. I know I’ve said like 2 times before but Eid Mubarak from my family to you! I pray that we will see ramadhan again next year insyaAllah. 

bbc.com
The language the government tried to suppress
Most of Singapore’s population speak the unofficial language or dialect known as Singlish. But why would the government rather it went away? James Harbeck takes a look.
By James Harbeck

An article about Singlish by James Harbeck, going into more grammatical detail than you typically get in a news article. Excerpt: 

Jerlyne Ong, a Singaporean now living in Canada, sends a message to a friend back home: “Cannot imagine sia. In Singapore, you strike, you lose your job. But ya, the postal service stopped liao. Cannot agree, buay song, so liddat lor. No postal service for now. Also dunno how long some more. So pek chek.”

Is that English or not? Most of Singapore’s 6 million people speak it, but they don’t agree either. What they do agree is that it’s Singlish. Singlish is the unofficial language – or dialect? or slang? – of Singapore, born out of the contact between the several cultures that make up the city state. It’s a living example of how languages can change and develop. It is also an expression of the Singaporean character and culture, a national treasure – or a detriment and danger to the country, depending on whom you ask. […]

All syllables have approximately equal length and stress. It sounds almost like a tone language in places. Some sounds are changed, and consonants at the ends of words are often dropped or reduced – “like that” becomes liddat. Conjugational and plural endings often disappear. There are quite a few loanwords, such as kena, ‘get something bad’; kiasu, ‘fear of losing out’; shiok, ‘very good’; sian, ‘boring’; buay song, ‘not happy’; pek chek, ‘annoyed, frustrated’; and sia, which is used as an emphatic rather as we might use ‘man’. […]

Lah is surely the most famous word in Singlish, and is emblematic of a whole class of words that set Singlish apart: pragmatic particles – a kind of verbal equivalent of an emoji. These words inserted at the ends of sentences are mostly borrowed from other languages (especially Chinese dialects), and they have to be said with the right tone, as if in Chinese. Lor (mid-level tone) expresses resignation (So liddat lor, “It’s just like that, what can you do?”); meh (high tone) expresses a proposition in need of confirmation (Cannot meh, “You really can’t?”); liao (low falling-rising) indicates a completed action (The postal service stopped liao). 

Even wut – which is to say, what – when said with a low falling tone at the end of a sentence expresses objection (if you are asked to buy something you have already bought, you might say Got already wut). And lah? It can be said with different tones to express different things; quite a bit of linguistic analysis has been done of just what it means – Jock Wong of the Australian National University has done a study teasing apart its different uses, which he boils down to “impositional”, “propositional”, and “persuasive”.

Read the whole thing.

Another article, in Unravel Magazine, looks at Singlish and food