Singlish is a unique language that is deeply rooted in our culture, and it seems impossible not to speak a single sentence without it.
This made us wonder: "Is it possible to live a day without singlish?"
Youth.SG writers Raphael and Ai Xuan challenged themselves last weekend to see if it was a plausible feat. Their mission? They must not use a single word of Singlish in texts and in real life. Their conversations must be grammatically correct for the whole day too.
Scroll down to find out who failed the challenge!
THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY.
12am to 3am: On my bed, busy yet forgetful
This may come off as shocking, but I totally forgot that I had to do this challenge in the first place when I went to bed (LOL!!).
Fortunately, I hardly spoke to anyone.
STRIKE COUNT: 0
11am: Lunch table, recharged and ready to survive the day
I only realised after I chanced upon my calendar while having brunch. It dawned upon me that I already said "Walao!", "Can anot?", and "Ok lor…" while having a conversation with my brother.
To save myself from epic failure, I decided to tell my friends to nudge me whenever I use Singlish. Unsurprisingly, they weren't very helpful, and wanted to see me fail.
WHAT GREAT FRIENDS I HAVE!
STRIKE COUNT: 3
4pm: Friend's house, just chilling with a guitar
At this point, I am struggling to string proper sentences because I am so used to speaking in Singlish.
I find myself talking in a very forced manner to keep the strike count low. When my friends tell a joke, another strike comes: "Damn funny sia!". A dozen more screw-ups happened in the next two hours.
STRIKE COUNT: 15
7pm: Church, having band practice
Being in a band can frustrate you at times, especially when people make silly mistakes. I end up saying "Walao!", "Play again lah!", and "You never learn properly is it?" throughout the whole session.
I think I should just give up.
STRIKE COUNT: 23
11pm: Home sweet home, texting friends
Freedom is near. I can feel it. Sadly, I still end up with a few more strikes thanks to some wonderful friends who enjoy calling me "Raffy Kor Kor (RKK)".
*shivers in disgust*
It has been a fruitful day, to say the least. I wonder how Ai Xuan will fare tomorrow…
RAPHAEL'S TOTAL STRIKE COUNT: 25
Ai Xuan (Sunday)
Since I come from a Mandarin speaking family, not using Singlish will be tough. It is hard to stick to one language when your entire family is using a mixture of two languages and two dialects.
12am to 2am: Bedroom, chatting with friends online
This is harder than I thought it would be.
I found it frustrating when I couldn’t express myself with words like "lah", "leh", and "sia". Despite my constant checks on my texts before I hit send, I only took 16 minutes into the day before going "Thanks ah".
16 MINS PAST MIDNIGHT AND.... BOOM.
Then Raphael launched an attack… and he succeeded.
WHEN YOUR FELLOW WRITER SABOTAGES YOUR SINGLISH COUNT…
Nope, getting agitated was not good at all.
STRIKE COUNT: 2
10am to 12pm: Brunch
Similarly, I forgot about the challenge too after I woke up. Fortunately for me, I only spoke Mandarin to my family members. What a relief!
I chatted with my friends online for a while, and I found it difficult to structure sentences.
Since most online conversations tend to be really fast, you usually send whatever you have on your mind instantly. And most of the time it is not in proper English. Sigh.
STRIKE COUNT: 5
3pm: Living room, chilling with my family
It has gotten really hard to talk. You have to filter whatever you want to say before saying it, and doing this stifles me. #WHEREISMYFREEDOMOFEXPRESSION
I can't even use "Is it?" (my favourite catchphrase) as a snarky retort. #sadface
One question I found myself asking was if mixing languages or dialects counted as Singlish, or is that just embracing my culture. Hmm…
STRIKE COUNT: 9
7pm: Having a break before dinner
It’s been a frustrating day, so I decided to read a book. Sadly, I couldn’t do that in peace because my mother was talking to me at the same time. So when your brain cannot multi-task efficiently, the Singlish count goes up.
I thought I was doing really well. I phrased the sentence before saying it, I delivered it well, and the next moment my tongue accidentally slips a "lah".
*takes a deep breath*
All that planning for nothing.
STRIKE COUNT: 15
9pm to 11pm: K-drama time
At this stage, it is no longer accidental. You can't blame me for this when I'm watching my favourite Korean drama. A few "Wah piangs" left my mouth during certain scenes. Oh gosh.
And if I used just one language, I sounded unnecessarily formal, which is definitely not suited for the mood at home.
I ended the drama with four more strikes.
AI XUAN'S TOTAL STRIKE COUNT: 19 (Ai Xuan wins!!!)
Our advice for those who wish to try a Singlish-free weekend? Don't do it.
It's an impossible task to fight against a culture that is deeply embedded in our own very souls.
Sorry lah, but at least we tried.