Travel

Singlish is English!

Now, as the Phase 2 Heightened Alert has kicked in, here comes a new round of social distancing measures and an uptick in boredom. To get my brain cells up and running again, I have decided to try my hand at something a little bit out of my comfort zone. You’ll now see my latest piece, my submission for mothership’s inaugural essay writing competition about “sounding local.”

Becoming a “bona fide” local is not about merely inhabiting in a particular city nor is it defined by whether you are Singaporean or not. Especially coming from someone who considers herself a “pseudo-Singaporean.”  While the pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world with restrictive border policies, we have become “forced” to start to appreciate what happens in our own backyard. Pre-pandemic, hearing the Singaporean accent characterised by the syllable timed words, the “th’s” being replaced by “d” ’s instead brought a smile to my face. Sure, I may be a temporary visitor in that foreign country but hearing the oh-so-famous Singaporean accent is akin to finding rice within the depths of a place where rice is not their staple food. It is simply comforting. Reminds me of home and that wherever I go, there is always someone else of my kind.

Singlish is undoubtedly the hallmark of sounding like a local— in fact, I think that is the most identifiable trait aside from the syllable-timed accent which we are familiar with. My personal trifecta of Singlish consists of the three Ls as I choose to term it. “Lah, Lorh, Leh”, to non-locals it is expected that hearing these will raise eyebrows and elicit puzzled looks. However, for anyone who has had enough time to acclimatise themselves to the surrounding culture in Singapore, I am fairly certain that Singlish no longer seems so foreign to them.

Aside from this “trifecta” as previously mentioned, there is something else about Singlish which is undeniable. Singlish at its core is simply efficient and snappy. Sentences are reduced to a single word and the different inflections signify different meanings even though it is just one word. For example, “can”, that word already signifies agreement. No need for “Sure, that works” or perhaps an “I agree.” Just “can” will suffice. While there may be slangs and other initialisms in other languages which may share some similarities to Singlish, it is not something which can be replicated.

Singlish gives us a bit of a glimpse into Singapore from an outsider’s point of view. By definition, Singlish is an informal variant of English which draws on elements from a wide array of languages. It is representative of the eclectic mix of cultures considering that the realm of Singlish stems from initialisms to borrowed words from other languages. Singlish has been often been touted as “improper” which has since culminated in various efforts to squash the use of Singlish. Especially on the premise that Singlish isn’t really considered lingua franca in most cases. I’m pretty sure most of us would probably remember those “Speak Good English” campaigns with examples of “proper” English emblazoned on buses and other forms of media. While laudable, it inevitably becomes reduced to something which one may look at with a fleeting glance.

Although most of us are competent in “code switching” depending on the social context, the Singaporean accent may be a bane to some. While I have never really felt the need to change the way I speak personally, sometimes, people may choose to put on a “fake” accent when outside the confines of Singapore. Even though there is nothing inherently “wrong” with the way that we currently speak, I guess it boils down to being an outlier and perhaps feeling insecure over one’s linguistic ability. When in Rome do as the Romans do, which is human instinct. We all want to conform to society in one way or another to gain acceptance. As much as we might remind someone to be themselves and take pride in their roots, there is a propensity for one to attempt to emulate the manner of speech or pick up some of the local slang for the sake of fitting in.

Even so, it begets another question, “why do we still feel insecure about our Singaporean accent?” even though we clearly identify ourselves as Singaporeans when asked where we are from. It is an official language here, and most of us who are millennials or Gen Z would have definitely grown up with English as our main medium. Perhaps it could be a lack of representation of people who sound like us? Over the years Hollywood has made a concerted effort to step up in diversity and greater representation of Asians in film and TV. While this has been a welcome move, there is something else you can’t really deny about Singlish: Singlish and the Singaporean accent is not really something which you would see on the top 10 Netflix shows outside of the Southeast Asian Region. We see people who look like us, but they still have a foreign accent or at best a stereotypical accent of a non-native English speaker.

My best guess is that Singlish is not something which is intuitive and can be easily deduced from context. Case in point, “wah! I kenna scolded for sending the wrong email.” To a local or basically someone who has lived in Singapore for a decent amount of time, you would be able to deduce it easily. Even though to a non-local it may seem like gibberish, there lies the beauty of Singlish.

If you were to pick out specific words in that one sentence, simply changing the tone can bring about a different meaning. Furthermore, if you go deeper into it, you would realise that with Singlish, one sentence can consists of words from at least three to four languages. In some ways, perhaps Singlish could be a reflection of Singapore’s society in some ways? We pride ourselves on the efficacy of Singlish in communicating emotions and different sentiments. In the same vein, I guess we might even relate this to the efficiency of many processes in Singapore. Coupled with the latest round of social distancing measures, Singlish becomes even more integral in bringing us together. With social interactions largely reduced to text or perhaps an occasional zoom call, all the more we would expect defaulting back to Singlish. Simply because it gets the point across in just a few words, barring exceptional circumstances where the need for “proper” English arises.

As 9th August draws closer, we are soon reminded of the need for national pride and a strong national identity to help us weather through this crisis. One thing remains for sure though, Singlish is here to stay. No matter how many posters are plastered around Singapore to discourage us from using Singlish, it is who we are as a local and the nature of Singlish itself possesses highly unique qualities which cannot be easily replicated. After all, “something like this can find outside meh?”

Standard
Travel

The Circuit Breaker Diaries: An unfavourable turn of events and positivity amidst this crisis

As expected, Singapore has entered a lockdown circuit breaker as they choose to term it. Now, all of us were hoping that it would just be a month long circuit breaker as promised, but given the spike in cases, looks like the curve does not show signs of plateauing in the next few days to come. The inevitable came, an additional four week extension to the circuit breaker. Who knew that in a few months our friends and family who were just a bus ride or MRT ride away in this compact city would turn into long-distant friendships and the adage “so close yet so far” has become a reality for many of us right now. Sure, it might be painful for the time being but there is always a sliver lining in any situation, I have started getting used to a new routine at home, and am definitely appreciating the extra hours in a day from not having to commute to work or class. Admittedly, it took quite a bit of getting used to, definitely felt as if I was getting cabin fever from spending extended periods of time at home and barely going out (longing for the day I can go out and do whatever I want with no qualms though) .

Prior to this pandemic, I did spend a fair bit of time with family, but now we spend 24/7 with each other. quite literally so. Initially, I found it as a welcome change but it progressed into becoming slightly disconcerting seeing the same few faces everyday. We definitely have had our fair share of ups and downs, but in times like these, I appreciate the witty sarcastic comments among each other and the renewed sense of camaraderie. Now, I get that not everyone has this luxury and this situation makes me cherish it even more. No doubt I definitely miss the in person interactions with the friends and even though COVID19 has put a damper on some of my plans, embracing this new normal for the time being has honestly been going pretty good for me.

Given the extra spare time we have, I’m sure most of us have things planned out which may resemble age old new year’s resolutions. Healthy diet? Check. Workout? Check. Read books? Check. As much as I would like this to be the reality, this is not quite the case for me, and probably a good number of you readers out there. Circuit breaker has consisted of a diet of stress eating because there’s deadlines, readings and online exams to prep for even in a pandemic. Life still goes on for us students, just in the form of zoom lectures and Microsoft Office to keep us sane.

I hope you have enjoyed my personal musings regarding the COVID19 situation. For now, hang in there, wash your hands, be socially responsible. Stay home and stay safe.

Standard
Travel

Chelle’s travel diaries: Ticking off a bucket list item in the frigid cold

The highlight of my trip has now arrived, scaling the Great Wall of China. I will be honest and admit that I did not complete the entire stretch of Mutianyu that day. Nevertheless, it might have been the most adventurous thing I have done thus far, and I’ve fulfiled a life goal! Hooray to killing two birds with one stone! For anyone travelling to Beijing, keep in mind that Mutianyu is about an hour away from central Beijing and it is advisable to book a day tour to Mutianyu for the convenience of transport to this section.

Mutianyu is renowned for the stunning views of the Great Wall, and to get an aerial view, there is the option of either the cable car or the chairlift or the cable car. Not to mention the added fun of taking a toboggan ride down from the Great Wall which is undoubtedly a big plus for travellers with kids ( or even adults looking to relive their youth).Half a day would be a good amount of time to allocate towards this trip once you factor in the hike and the time taken to get there (especially with the notoriously bad traffic in Beijing.)Additionally, it is the longest and the most fully restored section of the Great Wall which lends weight to the authenticity of the place and emphasises the amazing architecture.

canva-photo-editor

The mountains along MuTianYu

Built in the Ming Dyansty, Mutianyu was meant to serve as a northern protective screen which guarded the capital and the imperial mausoleums. Home to 23 watchtowers with short intervals in between them, a strategic hideout for the warriors thousands of years ago. Presently, most of the wall has been rebuilt and restored to accommodate for the large influx of tourists and retain the authenticity of the wall.

Prior to getting to the entrance, there’s a hike up the hill which leads to the starting point, if you will be going during the winter, be sure to stay warm because the journey there is going to be ice-cold even though the sun is out. However, once you get to the top, you will feel comparatively warmer compared to the starting point (It is the opposite during the summertime, unfortunately I currently do not have a scientific explanation as to why this is so).

It is worth mentioning that the Great Wall is not a very easy climb, and for anyone with new year’s resolutions to get fit, maybe this could give you a shot of motivation! A reasonable amount of fitness is required if you want to scale a larger portion of Mutianyu considering that the whole stretch covers 5.4 km. Might not seem that long initially, but coupled with the steep steps between the watch towers, it makes this climb challenging even though it is not as steep as Baidaling or Jiankou, of which the latter is considered to be the steepest section of the Great Wall. Furthermore, Mutianyu is one of the more child friendly sections of the Great Wall which would be suitable for families with young kids looking for an adventure. Once you get to the top, you will be greeted with breathtaking views of the sheer intricacy and elaborate nature of the wall. With the woods covering most of the scenic area, the view is magnificent.

View of the Great Wall from the watchtower

The Mongols are coming and we’re still chatting away!

As an additional heads up, once you exit the Great Wall, there’s a few fast food restaurants for you to indulge in if you feel like giving yourself a bit of a reward for completing the hike. Aside from the food, you have the option to make yourself a “certificate” with your name engraved on it, as a form of “proof” that you have climbed the Great Wall. The tea house is a great place for tea enthusiasts out there who intend to get a taste of authentic Chinese tea and the variations of tea which they offer which range from Pu’Er Tea to Milk Oolong Tea. If going to the tea house is not necessarily your cup of tea, feel free to skip that section and explore the rest of Beijing if you have time throughout your day.

Climbing the Great Wall was most definitely an eye opening experience, and one which I hope to relive someday. I hope that this blog post has been interesting and helpful to those intending to travel to Beijing. Till then, happy travelling!

Standard
Travel

Jatujak: Your guide to a shopper’s paradise 

Located within the heart of central Bangkok, Jatujak boasts thousands of shops selling everything from household items, clothes, leather goods, ceramics and so on, the list is endless. Having been there several times, here are a few things to take note of and a couple of reccomended places to stop by the next time you’ll be there or perhaps during your first visit to the weekend market.

img_1791

Dried foods? Check

Band merch? They’ve got it, not exactly knockoffs and neither are they legitimate, but oh well it’s still something to display your admiration towards your favourite artists

Looking for swimwear but don’t quite wish to splash out on brands like Traingl? Here’s your fix!

Cute bags, at a reasonable price too, about 7.20SGD

1) Try to get there early before the crowds set in, that way it will be easier for you navigate your way through the market without having to battle with the hoards of people. A good timing would be around mid morning around 10am, although the market does open at 6am.

2) Make sure you find out the shops which you wish to go to before hand if you’re intent on buying certain items.  The shops can be identified by the street numbers demarcated with Soi _/_ , as a guide especially since the place is a maze . If not, you could always look out for landmarks, they won’t fail you.

Jatujak condensed into one t shirt

3) Do check out the food and perhaps some of the services they have to offer. The coconut ice cream is a must try it’s truly heavenly. Along with a free cup of coconut water, it’s the prime combination to provide you with a refreshing boost amidst the sweltering heat. Priced reasonably at 40 Baht which is equivalent to about 1.60SGD, keep CoCo JJ in mind as a stop on your visit to Jatujak. It’s conveniently located within the vicinity of exit 2 of the Khampeang Paet MRT station if you’re coming here via public transport. The ice cream comes with nata de coco on the side and complements the ice cream which might I add isn’t overly sweet and has the right amount of coconut tinged flavour within it. 

A must try among the many edibles that Jatujak has to offer

4) Bring along sufficient cash, most shops only accept cash and there are only a select few that accept credit cards, and you’ll have a really fun time attempting to locate these shops. So do ensure that you have enough cash to fund your splurge because your plastic friend is unlikely to save the day.

Fancy a caricature of yourself? They have it, plus you can get it framed

That sums up my post for now, do stay tuned for future posts and happy Travelling!

Standard
Travel

Restaurant review: Reservations @ Vicki’s

Reservations@Vicki’s is the perfect place if you’re looking for some good teppanyaki to fill your stomach. In addition, the seafood there is considerably less pricey compared to other restaurants. This place is a must go for seafood lovers or any food lover in general.

The meal starts off with Canadian lobster with garlic butter sauce. The lobster was well cooked and tender combined with the rich garlic butter sauce, it creates the perfect combination for  good lobster meal.

  

Next up is tofu and shiitake mushrooms with teriyaki sauce. Combined with the sweet and slightly salty terriyaki sauce, it creates the perfect tantalizing dish. The tofu was soft and silky, and just melts in your mouth when eaten with the terriyaki sauce.



The next meal is chilli lobster, this is a must try for seafood lovers and anyone who likes spicy food in general. The lobster was tender and well cooked, furthermore, the rich and creamy chilli sauce is the perfect deal with the right amount of spice and a good mix of various flavours.

  

All good things must come to an end, and here’s the last meal for the day, medium well wagyu ribeye beef with garlic butter sauce.The presentation alone is enough to get your mouths watering and your stomach growling. The beef was tender and juicy, together with the garlic butter sauce, it creates an explosion of tastes within your mouth.
  

THE FINAL VERDICT

Food: 8/10

Service:8 /10

Ambience: 7/10

Head over to Reservations at Vicki’s if you’re looking for some good teppanyaki to fill your stomach, and look out for a chef named Mark! He’s bound to dazzle you with his “culinary gymnastics” and leave you in stitches with his sense of humour.

Reservations @ Vicki’s
Vickis 315 TAJONG KATONG ROAD SINGAPORE 437098.
 

OPENING HOURS:

Tue – Sun: 16:00 – 23:00

Closed: Mon

RESERVATIONS:

+65 68846884

PHONE:

+65 63489939

http://vickis.com.vn/

Standard
Travel

A neophyte’s manual to blogging

As a heads up, I’m by no means a professional blogger, however, as a fellow aspiring blogger like many, I hope that this post would be of some help.

  • Start off by sifting out what you wish to write about or what your blog will be about. That sets the foundation for your blog.
  • Don’t be disheartened if you don’t receive many views, common sense tells you success doesn’t come overnight. If it truly does, kindly inform me and I shall apologize.
  • Try to update regularly, this is where the irony comes in on my part. I’m attempting to advise fellow aspiring bloggers but in reality this blog has gone through a dry spell of nearly 3 weeks. Updating regularly does keep readers interested, and racks up those views.
  • Share your blog with your friends and family or promote it though social media
  • Draw inspiration from successful bloggers and pick up a thing or two when you visit their sites. A few of my favourite blogs includes the blogger who goes by the name “HeroineinHeels”. I’ll leave the links to these blogs below.
  • In any blog, a good theme is one thing to take note of. Depending on the nature of your blog, a nice theme adds to the overall aesthetic of your blog and makes it look more appealing to readers.
  • Improve on your photography skills, try to attach photos where possible as a wordy blog puts people off. No need to cash out on a fancy new camera, there are numerous ways to take good pictures even with an Iphone camera. Those picture editing apps exist for a reason, it’s not that difficult, and many of them come for free too! Hooray for technology!
Standard
Lifestyle, Travel

New Year’s Resolutions

Dear Readers,

Happy New Year! It’s time to start on  a clean slate and hopefully become a better person. As always, the New Year means New Year’s resolutions, however, most of the time, they are left dusty and unloved like the dusty teapot in your kitchen cabinet. Ah, poor new year’s resolution, I do not wish to set your hopes up on fulfilling your resolutions, but it’s the bitter truth.  Hopefully, 2016 will be your year and you’ll be able to fulfil those resolutions for once. If you’re unable to do so,hope that 2017 will be your year, as we continue to tell ourselves. However, for now be optimistic and here’s to a wonderful year filled with new adventures!

-Chelle

 

onlinelogomaker-060617-1250-1139

Standard
Travel

Food Review:Lord Stow’s bakery egg tarts 

Alas, I finally have something to fill in the food section of this blog. Lord Stow’s Bakery is famed for their Portuguese egg tarts, and their egg tarts truly live up to its name. I’m no Anthony Bourdain nor a certified food critric, so bear with me as I attempt to review the egg tarts.

My verdict: The egg tarts were really nice and creamy, and not overly sweet too. Which is the magic in these egg tart since the egg custard is usually too sweet for my liking most of the time. The flaky crust was well cooked and slightly crunchy which makes it even better. These egg tarts and a hot drink is the perfect combination.

Priced at MOP 10, it’s not pricey for a single egg tart. For an entire box of 6 tarts, it costs MOP 60. Reasonably priced, it’s definitely a must eat in Macau. Regardless if you’ve left the casino empty handed or not, these egg tarts will serve as a consolation. Attached are a few pictures of the famed egg tarts.

Where to find them: Lord Stow’s bakery has a branch in Senado Square,The Venetian Macau and Coloane Village. For the entire list of branches,feel free to visit their website at  www.lordstow.com

    I hope that my food review has been of good use to you and have an enjoyable holiday season!

Standard
Travel

A trip to the Emerald Buddha Temple ( Wat Phra Khew)

The Emerald Buddha Temple is one of the pull factors of Thailand, being deemed as the most sacred temple,it’s a hot spot among tourists. People from all over the globe flock to this temple to get a glimpse of the most sacred temple in Thailand. It gives you a chance to pay your respects and well, hopefully be gifted with lots of luck and prosperity.

Here’s some advice for future visitors

  • Make sure that you’re armed with sunblock and a hat,this’ll keep you from looking like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer ( this actually legitimately happened to me once).  The scorching sun shows no mercy and it’s akin to being placed in an oven while over there.
  • Ensure that you’re dressed appropriately, this way, you’ll avoid having to squeeze through hoards of people to borrow clothing which is acceptable. Mind you, it’s quite a long walk from the entrance to see the Pagodas to the building where they store acceptable clothing.
  • Entrance to the temple is free, but you won’t have access to the Pagodas, the Emerald Buddha and other monuments. You’ll be greeted with the sight of the grand palace, which is the former residence of the King. However, to see the actual Emerald Buddha, you’ll need to pay a fee of 500 Baht to access these features. So keep in mind whenever you go traveling to any country, there’s forever hidden costs and dual pricing. They just don’t reveal the hidden costs for the sole purpose of not repelling tourists.
  • Remember to stay hydrated in the scorching heat, bring along a bottle water or purchase one while you’re at the temple. There’s a variety of food opposite the temple, so just stop by and get a meal there. The food is of reasonable price too.

Side View of The Grand Palace

 

Shophouses which comes with a plethora of stalls ranging from food to clothing, no need to go scouring for a nearby shopping mall.

View of the entrance of the Temple

 

I hope that my supposed attempt to model the lonely planet traveller’s guide will be of use to you and happy traveling!

Standard
Travel

Trip to Art in Paradise museum

An overview of the Art in paradise museum : A 3D art museum for you to put your wannabe acting skills to use and your chance to be a supposed professional photographer for a few hours. In addition ,you’ll feel like a model for a short period of time.

My take on the museum

I did indeed have a blast there, the illusions there are legitimate 3D paintings and they aren’t rip off illusions where the supposed illusions are actually real life figures. The museum consists of two floors, I know what you’re probably thinking, a possible rip off of my money. I assure you, it’s not , the pricing was reasonable and the paintings were well done. The museum did not consist of figures with chipped off paint unlike the Trick eye museum in Singapore which has the audacity to proclaim itself as a bona fide 3D art museum. The interactive media section of the museum is definitely the pull factor of this place. It consists of a room with flashing images and 3D images. The objective is that you’re meant to writhe around the floor and strike poses in order to fit the illusions. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to let loose and writhe around the floor without any objections and not look like a deranged person.

There is also a plus side to it, the museum has a cafe too, so you can enjoy something to eat after striking poses with paintings. The prices are rather reasonable, it’s 300 Baht for adults and 200 baht for children(this price is for foreigners). Beware though, foreign countries have  a penchant for a dual pricing system. Basically with the dual pricing system, there are two sets of prices for locals and foreigners respectively. So don’t set your hope too high only to be told that you’ll have to pay a higher price. The next time you’re going enter a tourist attraction anywhere, ensure that you check the prices carefully.

 

These are just my thoughts on the museum, others may have contrasting views on it. I’m not in any way sponsored by anyone to write a good review of this place.

Here’s some outtakes from the trip.

 

Sliding down a slope, or so, we think.

IMG_6387

IMG_6391

Attempting to be models, when in reality, we need to update our style ASAP.

IMG_6384

Just casually sitting on a giant thumbtack that has created a crack in the floor.

Standard