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Bamboo Star » Blog Archive » Ding! Ding! Ding! You Win a Prize!

Ding! Ding! Ding! You Win a Prize!


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Singaporean English is commonly known as Singlish because it is practically a distinct dialect. I won’t get into the sociolinguistics of it all even though I rocked the course of that name in the McGill linguistics department back in my undergrad years because I’m not prepared to make an arse out of myself. I can’t even quite remember important theoretical details in the fields in which I specialised (one for team Oxford!) let alone dig into the deep recesses of my mind and bust out the linguistics knowledge.

While I generally don’t have a huge problem understanding Singlish (minus some Malay vocabulary that I have yet to learn), I don’t really understand some of the grammatical structures adopted from Chinese and Malay.

Take for example the use of the word “correct.” In Singapore, it often replaces a simple “yes.”

Being a good candidate for those ubiquitous Dove ads even in my home continent and having the gargantuan feet to match, I often have to ask for the biggest size in both clothing and shoes at local stores. Here is what ensues:

Sales Maven (SM): Hi there. Can I help you?
Me: Hi. Yes, maybe…do these only come in purple?
SM: Correct!
Me: And all of the remaining sizes are on display?
SM: Correct!
Me: So you don’t have anything bigger than a 40?
SM: Correct! But they fit big, lah. Try, lah. Can lah!
Me: Sure, but they might be too small. *Thinking that there is a conspiracy here because European 40s in Singapore are so not the European 40s we get back home. Slides foot into superchic and supercheap shoe only to find a few mm hanging off the back edge*
SM: Okay? Fits, lah. Very nice, lah.
Me: Um, they don’t quite fit, but thanks.

That example is a bit off since you rarely even find these pseudo 40s in stores! Try a max of 38 or 39. Sigh.

At least with clothes, even if I have to wear the largest size available, those items will be available to both crush my self-esteem and account balance!

Perhaps the use of the enthusiastic “Correct!” in place of a simple “Yes. Sorry about that.” serves to make customers like me feel better about themselves: I may be 10x tubbier than the average Singaporean girl, but the salesgirl just confirmed that I’m smart enough to deduce important retail facts all on my own! Sweet!

I don’t know if I find it all that uplifting since I got immense satisfaction from buying such wonders as clothes in size M at an American store Forever 21. I don’t care if the whole world thinks North American sizes as inflated as the tires posing as our waists; but I like our sizes! If I ever make it into S in North America, no European or Asian store is going to tell me otherwise. Hmph!

And on that note, I’m off to bed since my morning swim is in fewer hours than I’d care to acknowledge.

This post was brought to you by the letter C and is dedicated to one of my favourite people in the whole world, the Coopmeister of Henry Farm, who sent me a quick e-mail that included her express hope Singers shopping was good.



4 Responses:


  1. juci Says:
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    last week i had this crazy ordeal at the doctor’s that lasted three hours (2. 95 hours of which consisted of waiting for the doctor) and consisted of excessive amounts of tear shedding. the funny part of the meeting was when the doctor was taking my blood pressure and i was sitting there still in tears and he said “you see? here you are in tears and i can’t even do anything right. i used the little asian woman cuff on you instead of the regular sized one”. i couldn’t help but giggle. the point of the story is that the doctor knows that asians are generally tiny….or maybe the point is that he’s entertainingly inappropriate?


  2. Coop Says:
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    This reminds me of shopping in France, when I tried on size 40 pants which turned out to be too small- freak out city! I couldn’t even get my thighs in. Ah well.
    In other news, the diet at camp (read: some form of potato at every meal, usually in fry or chip form; inordinate amount of burgers) didn’t really do me any good. Blah for weight gain. It didn’t help that everyone there (girls) was gorgeous and skinny and at the same time disgusting. More than one was anorexic. But I was jealous all the same.

    Anyways, keep the lovin’ comin’!
    see ya


  3. gino888 Says:
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    Hey, I like peameal bacon as much as the next person, eh! Oh, there is a Chinese percussion thing I want to go to at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in the next month. I think it sounds really cool.


  4. mintchoco Says:
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    Forever 21 kicks ass man!!!

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