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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Things I do when I miss home (I)

I get very homesick for Singapore every so often.

In my university days, I used to wander down to Chinatown and Bayswater on the weekend, just so that I could listen to all the Singaporean students as they lahlehloh-ed their way to lunch. I watched as they instinctively sought out the resturants with the best asian fare. I queued up with them for half an hour just to spend ten minutes eating the best duck rice/char siew noodles/dim sum/toufu. I smiled when they kiasu-ly bought twenty extra portions to bring home with them or complained about the service. It was almost like being at home.

Things have changed since I've moved away from London. Singaporeans living outside of the major UK universities (London, Oxbridge) are few and far between. I had to look elsewhere for a 'fix'.

It sometimes helps to read Singapore-grown blogs - peppered liberally with 'lah' and 'can or not' and other Singlishisms. It seems to me that Singaporean bloggers such as
this fine man have made it to *dramatic pause* FAME AND FORTUUUUNE *trumpets, please* on the international blogging scene.

mr brown is undoubtedly my favourite blog author, although I do check out
these other blogs on a regular basis as well. (And yes, occasionally I do creep into this blog for a peek to satisfy my kay-pohness - but I'll never admit it in public, NEVER!!!)

The use of Singlish adds to the character and charm of these blogs. It brings out the flavour of Singapore that I'm after; It's probably one of the reasons why these blogs are popular in the first place. Singlish is part of Singaporeans - it somehow binds us together, gives us identity. My use of Singlish has become more pronounced since I left Singapore - it's probably my way of hanging onto my roots. I don't use Singlish much when I talk to my British mates, but I welcome the opportunity to 'air' it every so often.

I don't believe that Singlish inhibits communication and using it doesn't make a person sound any less intelligent. In fact, some of my British mates and even MDH started using Singlish here and there ("Aiyah, you!", "Don't be like that!") just because it seems to help them express themselves. MDH loves reading mr brown too and the use of Singlish doesn't seem to impair his understanding of the blog at all.

I was so thrilled when mr brown decided to
make podcasts. I tune in to each new episode as MDH rolls his eyes. "He's more funny when he's writing", MDH says. I have to agree that the podcasts are not as belly-achingly funny as his journal entries. But that's not the point. I just want to hear accents of home.



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