Don't ask us why we speak English so well. If you must know we're pretty talented people – most of us are bilingual or even trilingual, plus we have our own creole language called Singlish. Besides borrowing words from Hokkien, Malay and more, we also appropriate some English words to make it our own. It can be a little confusing if you're a rookie Singlish speaker But don't be confused – or blur – just yet, all you have to do is to keep up with this nifty list.
Elsewhere: "I cut off all the circuit breakers in the house but I can still hear a buzzing sound."
In Singapore: "I tell police you go to your boyfriend's house during circuit breaker!"
Meaning: A prolonged period of mostly staying indoors, not socialising and abiding by a set of rules for everyone's safety.
Elsewhere: "You need to step up if you want that promotion."
In Singapore: "Don't step like you social justice warrior, yesterday you queued for bubble tea till closing time."
Meaning: To pretend, be someone you're not.
Elsewhere: "I don't remember much about the event. I had too much to drink so everything was a blur."
In Singapore: "He's so damn blur, I told him to do it so many times already!"
Meaning: Dim-witted, birdbrained
Elsewhere: "We need to take action if we want to see change."
In Singapore: "Don't so action, can? Just cos you from elite school no need to flex your English so much."
Meaning: To show off, be arrogant or haughty.
Elsewhere: "So what's happening in the city this weekend?"
In Singapore: "The new restaurant at Ann Siang damn happening, got DJ on some nights."
Meaning: Cool, exciting or wild.
Elsewhere: "The money will revert back to the general funds if not claimed by today."
In Singapore: "Hi there, please revert my email. Thanks."
Meaning: To reply or respond
Elsewhere: "Cock it and pull it."
In Singapore: "Damn cock, I kena fine for parking illegally for just one minute."
Meaning: To screw up or make a mess
Elsewhere: "We had Mexican food for dinner the last time we ate out."
In Singapore: "Last time my parents stay in kampong in Malaysia."
Meaning: Long, loooooong ago.
Elsewhere: "Can you handle this while I'm gone?"
In Singapore: "You want me to handle for you? Sure can one."
Meaning: Another word for yes.
Elsewhere: "Careful when driving, you don't want to die in an accident."
In Singapore: "She's so stubborn! Already know cannot but die die want to try!"
Meaning: Desperation and stubbornness.
Elsewhere: "Steady, hold your balance."
In Singapore: "Wah you still on diet ah? Steady!" or "Want to go steady with me?"
Meaning: A compliment, like 'awesome!' or also another word for boyfriend/girlfriend.
Elsewhere: "Let's some toast for breakfast."
In Singapore: "What you want for breakfast ah? Nasi lemak, prata, kaya toast, mee siam, mee rebus or fried carrot cake?"
Meaning: The first meal you take for the day which contains all food groups and dishes. Everything is breakfast food.
Elsewhere: "I've got to go, see you again next week."
In Singapore: "Where got say? Don't anyhow fake news hor."
Meaning: Used with an element of denial or defensiveness.