Monday 29 June 2015

He's so over the rainbow: 'Would you be truly happy if your children declare they will marry the same gender?'

I think this could be the first time Singaporeans ever cared about a US Supreme Court decision.

Even Ho Ching, wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (who is so fond of pink shirts), shared this:

After the court legalised gay marriage in America last week, many used the rainbow filter on their Facebook profile photo to celebrate, including Singaporeans.

Well, not everyone.

Yesterday, a Facebook friend posted this:

Reading this, I'm not sure if he's anti-gay marriage or just anti-bandwagon jumping.

At first, I thought, "Oh, he's gonna get it."

To my surprise, he wasn't flamed. The replies to his comment were civil and, uh... thoughtful?

I would also like to reply to his comment here.

Will I "genuinely be truly happy" if my son or daughter "declare that they will marry the same gender"?

No, I will not.

Because I know the discrimination they will face. The whispers behind their back.

Because I know you can't legally marry someone of the same sex in Singapore.

I will not be happy because gay marriage may be legal in America but not everywhere else. Not every Singaporean can go to London to get married like Ivan Heng.

And if you're not legally married, you can't get an HDB flat and you can't move out and your mother and I will still have to take care of you.

You would think that with all these rainbow-coloured HDB blocks, HDB would be pro-gay marriage.

But I will be happy that my son or daughter has found someone he or she want to spend his or her life with, even if it's someone of the same sex. I just hope they'll be rich enough to afford private housing.

I may not have jumped on the bandwagon and switched my profile picture to the "rainbow hue", but I sorta got the shirt.

A photo posted by SM Ong (@sm_ong) on

Sunday 28 June 2015

Feeling old & inadequate because of Joseph Schooling, pull-up guy & our first woman general

I celebrated my 49th birthday this month.

“Celebrated” is perhaps the wrong word. It was more like a wake for my lost youth.

As if to rub it in, national swimmer Joseph Schooling’s birthday is on the same day as mine.

He celebrated his by donating $10,000 to charity. I “celebrated” mine by drowning my sorrows in Korean fried chicken wings at Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory in 313 Somerset.

Apart from sharing June 16 as our birthday, Schooling and I have little in common.

He has six-pack abs. I eat a lot of Korean fried chicken.

Days before turning 20, Schooling won nine gold medals in the SEA Games.

Last year, I received the finisher medal for completing the Hello Kitty Run on Sentosa.

At least I can brag that my medal is shaped like Hello Kitty whereas Schooling can’t say the same about his boringly round SEA Games medals.

At 20, my greatest achievement was getting a trophy for being on the team that won a tug-of-war competition when I was in polytechnic.

When I was 20, Madonna was singing Papa Don’t Preach.

Today, Madonna has to remind people who she is by singing Bitch I’m Madonna. It’s time someone told her, “Mama, don’t bitch.”

But Schooling isn’t the only one who has made me feel inadequate and that I’ve wasted my life.

At 25, National University of Singapore undergrad Yeo Kim Yeong got into the Guinness World Records by doing 44 pull-ups in a minute.

Sure, it can’t compare with Schooling’s nine gold medals, but at least Mr Yeo didn’t defer his national service (NS) to accomplish his feat.

But why only 44 pull-ups? Would it have killed him to do six more for SG50?

Remember those two guys who ran 50km every day for 50 days for SG50?

Did they stop after running 44km on the 44th day and say, “That’s it. I’m done”?

Not that I could even do 44 pull-ups myself.

When I was 25, I went AWOL in the canteen during my NS, which I mentioned in last week’s column.

Speaking of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), a woman also made me feel emasculated in my birthday month.

At 40, Colonel Gan Siow Huang has broken the camouflaged ceiling by becoming the first woman in the SAF to be promoted to Brigadier-General last week. She will assume her rank on Jul 1.

And I’m still a corporal. Maybe it has something to do with me going AWOL in the canteen when I was 25.

Wait, isn’t SAF celebrating its 50th anniversary this year?

So it took the organisation half a century to give a woman a star on her epaulette?

How come the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) didn’t complain about this during those five decades? Was Aware unaware?

Is it because soon-to-be BG Gan couldn’t do 44 pull-ups in a minute?

Pull-ups aren’t even part of the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) any more.

At 40, I didn’t get a promotion but received a Hamilton watch instead from the SAF and was told to go away.

A photo posted by SM Ong (@sm_ong) on

I was finally done with NS.

Although I’m relieved to no longer have to pass my IPPT, looking back, I sometimes miss those days because they represent a bygone era before I became middle-aged and ate too many Korean fried chicken wings.

But you know what really made me feel old?

After breaking the national 50m freestyle record during the SEA Games, Schooling was quoted as saying: “It’s a huge relief to break Uncle Peng Siong’s record.”

Huh? Who is “Uncle Peng Siong”?

You mean Ang Peng Siong?

Since when did Ang Peng Siong become “Uncle Peng Siong”?

I remember when Ang set the record 33 years ago, he was Schooling’s age.

Ang was the guy every Singaporean guy wanted to be and every Singaporean girl wanted to meet.

He was the guy with the abs then. Now he’s “Uncle Peng Siong”?

Did he eat too many Korean fried chicken wings too?

Ang will be 53 on Oct 27.

Uh... happy birthday?

As for me, all I have to look forward to now is the big Hawaii Five-O next year.

If only I was born a year earlier, I could be celebrating my 50th birthday this year along with SG50. I couldn’t even get that right.

I blame my parents.

But as I embark on the final year of my 40s, I’ve come to terms with all of that.

Just don’t call me “uncle”.

- Published in The New Paper, 28 June 2015

EARLIER: Am I the 'sex pervert uncle' of Choa Chu Kang?

Friday 26 June 2015

What gives? Amos Yee now in IMH, but his Facebook posts still refer to prison

How is it that I am in prison, yet I am still able to post something on Facebook? Well… If you want to fuck with the Government, fuck with them all the way.
Posted by Amos Yee on Thursday, June 18, 2015

It has been a bit of a mystery how the Facebook page of Amos Yee continued to be updated even though he supposedly had no access to the Internet in Changi Prison.

Some have speculated that it was his mother doing the updating. Others think they are pre-scheduled posts.

Then on Tuesday, Yee was remanded to Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to undergo psychiatric assessment.

But his Facebook posts still talk about prison life and make no reference to IMH.

In prison, my cell mates would become so bored that they became immensely excited when they saw a little fly, hovering...
Posted by Amos Yee on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cellmates, often thinking about the implications of them being in jail, or getting frustrated by the tedium of being in...
Posted by Amos Yee on Thursday, June 25, 2015

One time, quite inexplicably, the toilet bowl suddenly broke down, and we couldn’t flush the toilet.I went to the...

Posted by Amos Yee on Thursday, June 25, 2015

A glitch in the Matrix?

This suggests that the Facebook posts were scheduled prior to anyone knowing that Yee would be sent to IMH.

Mystery solved?

If Yee did pre-write these posts beforehand, wow.

That took a lot of work, creativity and forward planning plus an obsessive determination to continue trolling everyone even from behind bars.

He is supposed to be out of IMH in two weeks from Tuesday.

Sunday 21 June 2015

How I went AWOL & almost got 18 months’ detention because of a girl

Just in time for SAF Day next month.

Last week, The New Paper reported that a guy had his sentence extended from three weeks of detention to 18 months for being absent without leave (AWOL) from the army to study medicine in the UK.

In other words, his punishment was increased by about 25 times.

Uh… happy SAF Day?

Would this have happened if not for Melvyn Tan?

’Memba him?

2015 will be the 10th anniversary of classical pianist Melvyn Tan getting fined $3,000 for defaulting on his national service (NS) to study music in the UK.

So it’s not just SG50 this year - it’s also MT10.

For many who did their NS (including myself) and didn’t get to go to the UK to study anything starting with the letter M, a $3,000 fine for a draft dodger was not fine.

Following the outcry, then Minister of Defence Teo Chee Hean said in Parliament:
“Mindef does not consider it necessary at this time to seek a minimum mandatory jail sentence for Enlistment Act offences, as the circumstances of the cases vary widely.

“However, from now on, Mindef will ask the prosecutor to press for a jail sentence in serious cases of NS defaulters, and explain why we consider a jail sentence appropriate in a particular case.”

In the end, Tan never went to jail, unlike the AWOL guy, who at least did some NS, although Tan did have a concert cancelled here because of the controversy at the time, the poor thing.

But fret not for the NS defaulter who renounced his Singapore citizenship to become a British citizen.

Since causing a national uproar in 2005, Tan, now 59, has performed numerous times in the country where he didn’t want to be a citizen

To quote his website:
“After an absence of two decades, Melvyn Tan made a triumphant return to Singapore. He played to a full Esplanade Hall in January 2011 and has since returned regularly to Singapore for orchestral and recital performances and to teach young musicians.

“Since September 2012, he has shared his knowledge of pianos old and new and of the art of interpretation as Artist in Residence at Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.”

Meanwhile, operationally ready NSmen have to pass their IPPT every year.

If only I had practised the piano more instead of working on my sit-ups when I was young, I could’ve also skipped NS and made a “triumphant return” like Tan did.

And I wouldn’t have almost got 18 months’ detention for going AWOL myself.

Oh yah, did I mention that I once almost got 18 months’ detention for going AWOL during my NS?

I was a medic at the Brani Medical Centre at Brani Naval Base on Pulau Brani.

It was so long ago that both Brani Medical Centre and Brani Naval Base don’t exist any more.

Pulau Brani is still there, but as I discovered, despite what the name sounds like, it’s not the island where they grow briyani rice.

I was back on Brani to complete the last few months of my full-time national service after “disrupting” to study journalism (which doesn’t begin with M) in the US (not the UK).

I had only a few weeks left to stay out of trouble. I was, as they say “mood” and restless.

As with everything else in life, it was because of a girl.

I had become infatuated with a female orderly at the medical centre, but my feelings weren’t quite requited.

Feeling depressed and a little more self-destructive than usual one morning, instead of reporting for duty at the medical centre, I went to the base canteen and called the medical centre to tell my Encik that I was going AWOL.

“Where are you?” he asked.

“At the canteen,” I said.

“Having breakfast, is it?”

“No, I’m going AWOL.”

“But you’re on base, right?”


“Then just come to the medical centre. We can just say you’re late.”

“No, I want to go AWOL.”

There was some confusion at the other end of the line.

A few minutes later, a vehicle from the medical centre was sent for me.

I figured I had been absent long enough to make my point and so I accepted the ride.

Also, it was a long way from the canteen to the medical centre and I didn’t want to walk.

My Encik didn’t know what to do with me. Neither did the officer sent to interrogate me about the incident later that day.

“On the one hand, going AWOL in the canteen is not really AWOL,” he said. “On the other hand, it can still be considered AWOL since you’re not at your assigned post which is the medical centre.”

He wanted to know why I did it.

I was too embarrassed to admit I was trying to get the attention of a girl.

So I told him I wanted to see what detention was like and “test the system”, which was partly true.

“Oh, in that case,” he said, “I’ll send you in for 18 months so that you can get the full experience.”

That was when I panicked slightly. “Can’t I just go for one week or so?”

“No,” he said firmly. “Since you want to test the system, it’s either the whole 18 months or nothing. Your choice.”

“Oh, in that case,” I said, trying to sound disappointed, “I choose nothing.”

“Good,” he said. Case closed.

And that, my friends, was how I almost got 18 months’ detention for going AWOL.

And it wasn’t because I went to medical school in Britain but because I didn’t go to the medical centre on Brani.

I wonder whether I would’ve been given the option of skipping detention if I had gone AWOL after the Melvyn Tan case.

Someone should ask him to give a concert on SAF Day.

You know, for MT10.

- Published in The New Paper, 21 June 2015

To S M Ong

Loved your article on AWOL. Maybe the SAF should ask the doctor wanna be whether he plays a musical instrument. Can be a mitigating factor.


Tuesday 16 June 2015

Post-Pink Dot: PM Lee wears pink in updated Facebook profile photo

Thousands showed up for the Pink Dot event at Hong Lim Park on Saturday wearing pink.

Families of all shapes, colours and sizes came down to Pink Dot to support the values that all families embrace - Unconditional LOVE. Feel free to tag yourselves in this photos!
Posted by Pink Dot SG on Sunday, June 14, 2015

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was invited to attend.

But he was out of the country.

PM Lee has recently said:
There is space for the gay community, but they should not push the agenda too hard because if they push the agenda too hard, there will be a very strong pushback.

Meanwhile, the Faith Community Baptist Church led by pastor Lawrence Khong urged its members to wear white to its weekend services.

So happy and proud to see my FCBC family wear white today at both Suntec and Marine Parade as a reflection of our stand...
Posted by Lawrence Khong (FCBC) on Saturday, June 13, 2015

I don't know if PM Lee was invited.

But on Saturday evening (same time as Pink Dot), he posted on Facebook a picture of him with other Singaporeans in Japan. Look at the shirt he's wearing under the jacket.

Arrived in Hokkaido, and have already run into two families from Singapore! Here is one of them. Taken in Furano, a...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, June 13, 2015

Then last night, PM Lee updated his Facebook profile photo to one of him wearing a pink shirt with a pinkish tie.


For a supposed Man In White, he has quite a few pink shirts in the closet.

Saturday 13 June 2015

Amos Yee 'suicidal' & 'strapped to bed' in prison: 4 shocking allegations by lawyer

The Online Citizen has posted a letter written by Amos Yee's lawyer, Mr Alfred Dodwell, to District Judge Jasvender Kaur dated yesterday regarding the criminal charges against Amos Yee, who has been in remand since June 2.

Buried in page five of the six-page letter is a paragraph containing four shocking allegations by Mr Dodwell about Yee's incarceration in Changi Prison:

Yee had "suicidal thoughts".


Yee informed the prison psychiatrists and was subsequently "strapped to a bed in a medical facility for approximately one and a half days".

Yee found it "extremely difficult to urinate and defecate" as he "could only sit up or lie down". Yee had to "bend down painfully against his straps" to "urinate into a jar at the side of the bed", which would be left there and "pungent odors" would emanate.


Yee was "surrounded by patients who were mentally unsound". One was "constantly jerking against his chains" and another would talk to himself.

Yee is scheduled to be in court again on June 23.

Friday 12 June 2015

Why is Sharon Au's mock accent 'racist' but Dim Sum Dollies' is not?

So I went to see The History Of Singapore Part 1 by the Dim Sum Dollies a couple of nights ago.

In the show, the Dollies - Selena Tan, Pam Oei and Denise Tan - and Hossan Leong (whom I believe are all Chinese) play characters of different races - Malay, Indian, Ang Mo and... uh... Chinese.

Leong played an Indian character at least twice.

His first Indian character reminded me of the Indian character in this controversial New York Times cartoon drawn by a Singaporean last year.

Later, Leong put on a bald cap and an Indian accent to play Mahatma Gandhi. It was just one can of shoe polish short of black face.

Judging by the laughter I heard, the Chinese-dominated multi-racial audience thought it was hilarious.

But I was a bit discomforted by the Indian impersonations because days before, Sharon Au was just called "racist" for putting on an Indian accent at the SEA Games opening ceremony.

Was Leong's act racist?

By that measure, was the Dollies impersonating other races racist too?

Or is it because the context is different, the mock accents are acceptable?

What are the rationalistions?

You can say it's just part of the show.

You can say the Dollies are not racist because they're just trying to entertain and not offend. But you can say the same thing about Au.

Well, Au was also talking to an Indian girl when she did her Indian act.

More importantly, Au's interaction with the girl was witnessed by an AFP journalist named Bhavan Jaipragas who was offended enough to demand on Facebook that Au and the SEA Games organisers apologise. And Au has.

'Insensitive remark' at SEA Games pre-opening ceremony activity: EDIT: Sharon Au has apologised for what she described...
Posted by Bhavan Jaipragas on Friday, June 5, 2015

Hi everyone, it was truly a magnificent SEA Games Opening Ceremony and I was really honoured to be part of it. Some of...
Posted by Sharon Au on Friday, June 5, 2015

So is it another case of if no one had complained online and the complaint hadn't gone viral, then it wouldn't have been racist?

After all, entertainers impersonating other races for laughs has been going for a long time in Singapore and elsewhere. We have Gurmit Singh playing Phua Chu Kang, Michelle Chong playing Leticia Bongnino and so on.

I know! It's not racist because it's satire.

So far, I haven't read about anyone accusing the Dim Sum Dollies of being racist. Yet.

But the show runs until June 21. So there's still time.

Mr Bhavan Jaipragas should go.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

To mourn or celebrate? Kinabalu tragedy versus SEA Games medals

Friday was the opening ceremony of the SEA Games in Singapore. On the same day, the Sabah earthquake happened.

This resulted in a bipolar Straits Times front page the next day with the headline "Sabah quake: 8 S'pore kids, 2 teachers missing" and a giant picture of fireworks below it.

So was ST telling us to be concerned about the missing Singaporeans or happy about the SEA Games?

The two emotions sort of cancelled each other out.

Of course, by now, we know that eight Singaporeans have died in the quake, six of them schoolchildren from Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS). Two people are still missing. (UPDATE: Their bodies have been found.) It's a national tragedy.

But the Games must go on.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared Monday a Day of National Remembrance for those killed in the quake and that "one minute of silence will be observed at the beginning of the day at all SEA Games venues", thus conflating the two major news events of the day.

This gave ST the opportunity to make up for the awkward earlier front page with a great front page photo yesterday of players observing a minute of silence before the Singapore-Cambodia football match and spectators holding up signs that said "Prayers for TKPS" in the background.

In a way, that minute of silence gives us permission to enjoy the rest of the SEA Games even as we mourn the quake victims.

And by dedicating their wins to the quake victims and their families, the athletes also help alleviate some of the guilt.

But that doesn't make it any less weird to see on my Facebook news feed celebratory stories about Singapore's medal tally in between heartbreaking stories of those who perished on Mount Kinabalu.

It got me wondering, what if Mr Lee Kuan Yew had died just before the SEA Games? Would the Games be cancelled?

I know a number of events, like a Heartland Chingay Parade, were cancelled or postponed after Mr Lee's death in March, though none of them were as big as the SEA Games.

I think LKY's death was also the last time flags were flown at half-mast until the Kinabalu tragedy.

But to compare Mr Lee to the eight quake victims would be inappropriate. All life is precious. More so than medals.

Not that I'm advocating that the SEA Games should be cancelled or postponed. It would be like trying to stop a speeding non-MRT train. I mean, the organisers have already produced an album of SEA Games songs and everything.

Plus, you know, SG50. The people like their BreadTalk and circuses.

So my sincere condolences to the families and friends of quake victims.

And also... uh... go, Team Singapore?

Sunday 7 June 2015

History on repeat: The Government and The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

Someone once said: “Learn from history or you're doomed to repeat it.”

I think it was George Santayana, the late Spanish writer and philosopher.

Or Jesse Ventura, the American former professional wrestler, star of the original Predator movie and philosopher.

I always get the two men confused.

I must be a pretty slow learner because history appears to be on auto-rewind.

First, a little history.

Actually, there has been a lot of history lately.

Call me crazy, but I suspect it may have something to do with SG50.

Last Sunday, I wrote about Singapura: The Musical, which retells the history of Singapore’s struggle for independence from the Filipino perspective with some Pinkerton Syndrome thrown in for romance.

Because, you know, who doesn't want to learn Singapore history from the people we just trounced 84-12 in netball in the SEA Games?

Then we have the official music video of this year’s official National Day Parade theme song called Our Singapore by Dick Lee.

At least I think it’s a music video. It looks more like a compilation of Singapore history’s greatest clips interspersed with shots of Lee lip-syncing at the piano.

Let me tell you it’s no Taylor Swift facing off with Selena Gomez as the world explodes in massive fireballs around them.

To show the passage of history, the NDP video starts in black and white, and ends in colour.

That’s all the SG50 magic you get when you hire a visionary local film-maker like Eric Khoo to direct the video.

Still not enough Singapore history for ya?

You can read local comic book artist Sonny Liew's graphic novel, The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, launched last month.

That is, if you can find a copy.

The book sold out after it was reported that the National Arts Council (NAC) is withdrawing its $8,000 grant from the publisher to fund the project because “the retelling of Singapore’s history in the work potentially undermines the authority or legitimacy of the Government and its public institutions, and thus breaches our funding guidelines”.

The publicity alone is worth more than $8,000.

It’s history repeating itself. Once again, the Government has created publicity and demand for a local work by making things difficult for the artists.

It happened with film-maker Tan Pin Pin’s To Singapore, With Love when MDA classified the documentary as “Not Allowed for All Ratings”, effectively making it illegal to be publicly screened in Singapore.

It happened in December with the Dim Sum Dollies’ The History Of Singapore Part 2 when the Media Development Authority (MDA) gave the show an Advisory 16 (Some Mature Content) rating three days before the show’s opening.

I don’t recall a time in the history of Singapore when the Government got so touchy about the history of Singapore.

But at least it generates some free publicity for the artists.

Yes, I know I’ve written about the Streisand effect before. I’m repeating myself because history is repeating itself. Someone's not learning from it.

Luckily for Liew, his graphic novel wasn’t banned. Unlike the case of To Singapore, With Love, you don’t have to brave a trip to Johor to buy a copy of The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.

So it’s win-win for Liew and his publisher, Epigram Books. They can reap the benefits of the publicity from NAC withdrawing its grant and sell the book without any restrictions from the Government. Not even an Advisory 16 rating.

So what’s $8,000?

Heck, I can give Epigram the money.

The boss of Epigram, Mr Edmund Wee, once gave me a freelance job after I was retrenched in 2001 and desperate for income and validation. For that, I will always be grateful.

To pay him back, now that I’m a big-time columnist for The New Paper on Sunday (ahem), I believe I can afford to part with eight measly grand to help Epigram out of the poorhouse (if my wife lets me).

All I ask is a free autographed copy of the book once it’s reprinted — and a cut of the movie deal if the book is turned into a feature film.

Eric Khoo can even direct it.

He can do his black-and-white to colour thing again.

Maybe there will also be The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye: The Musical.

Just keep the Filipinos away from it.

We don’t want history to repeat itself, do we?

- Published in The New Paper, 7 June 2015

Hello Mr Ong,

Enjoyed your "$8,000" story today. Can you please do one of similar vein on childish (or farcical" if I am cruel) antics of the three MCs of the ceremony. I have seen better MC performances in my daughter's secondary school concerts.

And I am not even referring to one of them's silly imitation of an Indian accent.

While you're at it, go count the number of times the word "extraordinary" was used by the ang moh commentator, especially.

We need some improvements in the closing ceremony commentary!


UPDATE: I got this nice little shout-out from Sonny Liew after the column was published:

From the Newpaper!During research for the book, I discovered that SM's dad was a cartoonist too!

Posted by Sonny Liew on Saturday, June 6, 2015

Saturday 6 June 2015

SEA Games opener: Even before racist Indian accent, Sharon Au was 'annoying'

So Sharon Au has apologised for having a little fun with an Indian girl at the SEA Games opening ceremony last night.

According to an audience member:
In an audience interaction segment before the start of the SEA Games opening ceremony at the National Stadium, emcee Sharon Au approached an Indian girl seated in the stands. The girl did not properly perform the act -- saying aloud a line welcoming foreign contingents (others before her didn't get it right too). Au, speaking into a mike and with the cameras trained on her, shockingly put on a strong Indian accent, and while shaking her head from right to left asked the girl: "What (Vat) happened? What happened?". Earlier, she made fun of the girl's name, Kavya, referencing " caviar".

'Insensitive remark' at SEA Games pre-opening ceremony activity: EDIT: Sharon Au has apologised for what she described...
Posted by Bhavan Jaipragas on Friday, June 5, 2015

Hi everyone, it was truly a magnificent SEA Games Opening Ceremony and I was really honoured to be part of it. Some of...
Posted by Sharon Au on Friday, June 5, 2015

But the accusations of racism have overshadowed earlier complaints on Twitter that as a co-host, Au was "screaming" and "shrieking" and just plain "sucks".

The criticisms about her voice is ironic considering that she's set to play Mrs Lee Kuan Yew in a musical.

Read the tweets:

EARLIER: Sharon Au talks about herself (a lot) at Tony Tan's rally

Wednesday 3 June 2015

'Aisey' or 'aiseh': What did you say?

Lately, I've been noticing the recurring use of an unfamiliar word on social media.

Indian National Names His Baby "Lee Kuan Yew"LKY fever hits India: A baby boy is named after him, statue to be...
Posted by on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

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.

Rule, Britannia!


I received this tweet:

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).