The word is "aisey" or sometimes spelled as "aiseh".
At first, I thought it was some new Singlish expression, either a Malay word or a phonetisation of a Hokkien word. A variation of the Hokkien expression "ho say" perhaps.
There's even a website called Aiseyman.
But then I said it out loud and realised it's not a new expression at all.
It's the old British expression "I say".
Oxford defines it as "used to express surprise or to draw attention to a remark".
So why are people misspelling it like it's a Malay or Hokkien word when you can spell it with proper English words?
To co-opt a British expression as our own?
My guess is the people using it aren't aware of its origin and are unwittingly preserving archaic language from our colonial days.
May the sun never set on the empire.
I received this tweet:
@sm0ng Aisey is actually the Malay equivalent to "Wah!", "Wah piang!", "Wow!"; 'to be amazed'.— SMRT Feedback (@smrtsg) June 4, 2015
That pretty much describes what "I say" means too.
I don't think "aisey" is a Malay word, although it has been described as "Manglish", the Malaysian equivalent to Singlish. Hence the confusion.
But it further supports my theory that "aisey" is the localisation of an old British term as peninsula Malaysia was once British Malaya.
God save the Queen (the fascist regime).