English

I’ve always thought that if you have good command of the English language, it will be enough to make you “global”. Hence, I did everything within my mighty power to learn English even though I abhor the intricacies of its “technical” aspect.

A lot of people say I speak and write English well… Hmm.… I might have succeeded in a certain way but I know in my heart that I still have a long way to go.

My accent turned topsy-turvy after communicating with people having various mother tongue such as:

  • Filipino (Ilokano, Tagalog, Bisaya, Ilonggo, etc)
  • Dutch
  • German
  • French
  • Singaporean Mandarin
  • Chinese Mandarin
  • Cantonese
  • Hokien
  • Bhurmese
  • Bhutanese
  • Nepalese
  • Indonesian
  • Malay
  • Arabic
  • Ethiopian Language
  • Hindi
  • Tamil

I usually adapt the most prominent accent but my tongue seemed be confused on what accent to follow. Strange huh? Even so, I did manage to improve my accent  slowly and it got better when I worked at HSBC. We were dealing with American clients, so, we were taught to neutralize our accent to minimize communication barrier. After a few months, I can already speak English with that American twang.

However, when I went to work in Singapore, I needed to unlearn that American twang and speak English the “local” way inorder to get the message across and minimize receiving blank stares. (See related article -> Singlish).

Now, I need to unlearn the Singlish and bring back the North American way of speaking English. It’s a work in progress and it’s a bit difficult because I’ve also adapted the unresponsive nature of Singaporeans. It’s a total struggle!

Looking at the brighter side of things, I know things will work well in the next couple of months. The naturally bubbly, giggly. and chatty me will soon surface.

How to think English is also added in my to do list. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not removing Ilokano and Tagalog in my system. I’m a Filipino and will always be. I just want to improve myself and make my Mama proud (wherever she is now).   (Note: Writing is given. :p)

Thus, my mantra now is:
“I must speak English and think English.”

Why don’t we do this together? Aja! 🙂

ang moh

It was rush hour at the train platform and everyone were anxious to get a seat. I was in the group who boarded the train first so I managed to have a seat without “fighting” with anyone. :p I was working on a blog entry while I was on board the train when something caught my attention.

A not so old lady, skillfully blocked the Caucasian guy (a.k.a. ang moh – see singlish article) and took the seat where the ang moh was eyeing to take. With my mind diverted, I was discreetly observing the two. The ang moh seem to be pissed off and muttered “ladies!” while shaking his head. The lady just ignored him and he went on to seat at the empty chair next to me and began reading a novel.

ang moh novel…

When the lady alighted at the next station, the ang moh looked at her, shook his head and whispered “see”. He must have rolled his eyes but I did not dare look at him. I was thinking on what’s so special about the seat that made him look so grumpy early in the morning. It must be his favorite spot while reading a novel. Hmmm…

He looked irritated as well while he kept glancing at the guy who was conversing loudly with someone. Looks like his “love cup” must be nearly empty waiting to be filled. The only thing that I can do for him was to keep on smiling hoping to radiate and sprinkle (like a magic wand) positive aura on him.

Hopefully, he had a good day after the train ride. Aja! :p

singlish

Singlish a.k.a Singapore English is widely used in Singapore (haha…but of course. :p ) and you have to be very alert in order to understand what it means. At first, I had no clue (usually, my blank stare gave it away) on the meaning of the majority of the words and statements used. Thankfully, my new found friends are patient enough to explain the meaning of the commonly used Singlish.

Below are some of the words and statements that I’ve heard (the meaning is as explained to me by my new found Singaporean friends):

1. lah, leh, loh, mah, meh
These are expressions commonly used at the end of a statement or sentence. But it can’t be used all at once.
e.g. “ok lah!”

2. ang moh – refers to Caucasians
e.g. “So many ang mohs in East Coast park leh.”

3. blurblur
Meaning: not clear or can’t understand
e.g. “The ang moh talk so fast, I was blurblur mah”

4. wait long long
Meaning: it takes forever.
e.g. “So stingy, we need to wait long long for him to buy us lunch meh.”

5. busybody
Meaning: not busy or nosy.
e.g. “Kenkoy’s so busybody loh, kept talking about his client’s marriage life.”

6. eat snake
Meaning: Go gallivanting
e.g. “After training, let’s go and eat snake leh.”

7. cook yourself
Meaning: you cook your own food
e.g. “You cook yourself mah?”

8. can
Meaning: yes
e.g. “Let’s watch Shrek? Can!”

9. cannot
Meaning: no
e.g. “You go kopitiam? Cannot!”

10. borrow me
Meaning: lend me
e.g. “Borrow me money can? I’ll pay tomorrow”

Very interesting eh? You can “bring” these singlish terms with you when you visit Singapore.

Don’t wait long long, can? Aja!