City Travel Tip #1126

What is “Singlish” and how do you use it in Singapore?


When conversing with people in Singapore, most likely you will encounter bits of Singlish. Singlish is not an official language, but it is often used in informal occasions. Singlish comprises of words from English, Chinese and Malay languages. Here are some common Singlish words you may hear when out and about in Singapore. Try them out when chatting with your friends in Singapore:

1. Lah – used at the end of a sentence for added emphasis. Eg. “The weather is so hot today lah.”

2. Shiok – delicious. Eg. “This chicken rice is very shiok.”

3. Kiasu – extremely competitive. Eg. “She is so kiasu that she left three packets of tissue paper on the table and on each seat.”

4. Aiyoh – an exclamation to express exasperation or surprise. Eg. “Aiyoh, why is the weather so hot today?”

5. Alamak – an exclamation similar to “oh my goodness”. Eg. “Alamak, I will be late if I do not hurry.”

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  • I love this tip! I wish I had read this before my last trip so I could interact with a little local lingo.

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