Sunday, 8 November 2009
Singlish 'sounds like chattering chimpanzees fighting over bananas'
As a narcissist (a pre-requisite for being a columnist), I frequently go to YouTube to read the comments on the videos of Phua Chu Kang episodes that I produced.
The comments are usually positive because it’s mostly only fans and narcissistic columnists who would search for PCK videos on YouTube.
So I was taken aback a week ago when I came across this comment by someone called KaydenKolldy.
He wrote: “What kind of language is this? It sounds like chattering chimpanzees fighting over bananas. Do Singaporeans speak this? I don't know how you gooks understand anything.”
For the kicker, he ended with: “PS You Asians are fucking ugly.”
KaydenKolldy posted this same comment on at least three different PCK videos, which suggests that he was trolling for a fight – and found it.
One YouTube user responded in kind: “You Australians are fucking stupid.”Another wrote: “Fuck you asshole...don’t be a racist douche bag.”
Another managed to address KaydenKolldy’s query without any expletives: “This is ‘Singlish’, a kind of English mixed with Hokkien and Malay.”
To which the alleged "racist douche bag" responded: “Geez, it sounds horrible. You Asians seem to rot everything you touch. Languages included.”
According to his YouTube profile, Kayden John Koldy is 23 and from Australia.
He reminds me of someone I know from university in the US who called me “ricehead” all the time. His name is Darren and he became my best friend.
I was too young and innocent then to know that “ricehead” was a racial slur. I just thought it was funny.I was more offended when supposedly “politically correct” Americans referred to me as “people of colour”. I have a colour?
For all his white supremacist posturing, Darren had befriended me because he was interested in Asian martial arts and thought that since I'm Asian, I could teach him some kungfu.
Unfortunately for him, the only Asian art I know is the traditional Japanese art of paper-folding, origami. I don’t want to brag, but I can fold a mean paper crane - blindfolded. So you really don’t want to mess with me.
Darren and I used to shoot pool with a couple of freshmen from Japan whom he called "nips". He explained to me that "nips" was short for Nippon, which was another word for Japan. I didn't know that. I thought Nippon was a brand of paint.
I believe Darren learned these, uh ... "nicknames" from his father who fought in the Korean War. I have met both Darren's parents and have become very fond of them.
I lost contact with Darren for a few years after I returned to Singapore, but he got in touch again recently through the miracle of Facebook.
To my surprise, the guy who used to call me “ricehead” is now not only teaching English in Taiwan, he even married a Taiwanese woman. My guess is he doesn’t call his wife “ricehead”.
I can only hope that one day KaydenKolldy will see the light too. What troubles me about his comments isn’t so much his vicious bigotry, but the viciousness reciprocated by those attacking his comments. Hate begets hate.
Even PCK would be appalled.
- Published in The New Paper, 8 November 2009
TRENDING POSTS OF THE WEEK
When I learnt that Vernetta Lopez ’s autobiography Memoirs Of A DJ: Life In Progress was published last week, I rushed to the nearest major...
Okay, I surrender. I admit it. I was wrong. In April last year, I wrote a column called “ So is Joanne Peh really going out with Qi Yuwu? ...
I dread Christmas. Because Christmas means Chinese New Year is lurking around the corner like a mugger disguised as the God of Misfortune....
On Friday, former White House official K.T. McFarland , who was picked by President Donald Trump to be the US ambassador to Singapore, withd...
Two years ago, when celebrity radio deejay Glenn Ong revealed that he was dating fellow MediaCorp deejay Jean Danker after splitting fro...
Lately, I've been noticing the recurring use of an unfamiliar word on social media. Aisey. Posted by SMRT Ltd (Feedback) on Wedne...
I first met Darryl David at Gurmit Singh's wedding dinner in 1995. David's date was a woman named Lynette Pang , who was a stag...
A few days ago, my former employer, MediaCorp, announced the surprise resignation of its chief executive officer, Lucas Chow. So what ...
Last month, it was reported that Nike would stop supplying to smaller shops like those in Queensway Shopping Centre and Peninsula Plaza. ...
Dear Wikipedia, I woke up last Sunday morning to shocking news. And I’m not talking about the death of Whitney Houston, although that wa...