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Singaporean Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings

Singapore - Singaporean Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings

Singaporean Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings

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“Better poverty before wealth than poverty after wealth.”
– Singaporean Proverb

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“On a big tree, there are dead branches; in a big clan, there are beggars.”
– Singaporean Proverb

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“Not all stones are blessed to become diamonds.”
– Singaporean Proverb

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“If there are no fish, prawns are just as good.”
– Singaporean Proverb

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“A given excuse that was not asked for implies guilt.”
– Singaporean Proverb

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“Smart people put forth their mouth, dumb people put forth their hand.”
– Singaporean Proverb

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“Clapping with only the right hand will not make a noise.”
– Singaporean Proverb

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“Incremental efforts have an impact as benefits accumulate.”
– Singaporean Proverb

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“Never take a quiet person for granted. He might have great qualities underneath his quiet nature.”
– Singaporean Saying

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“Where there is a sea, there are pirates.”
– Singaporean Proverb

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“The person who can see a house in China is unaware of an elephant on his nose.”
– Singaporean Saying

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“If you plant grass, you won’t get rice.”
– Singaporean Quote

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“Those who speak aloud are boastful. Those who speak softly are unsure. Those who don’t speak are dangerous.”
– Singaporean Quote

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“Keep a snake, and the snake will eat your chicken.”
– Singapore Proverb

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“You don’t need to teach a young crocodile to swim.”
– Singapore Proverb

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Singaporean Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings

Singlish

Colloquial Singaporean English, better known as Singlish, is a blend of Singaporean slang and English.

Singlish also consists of words originating from Malay, Cantonese, Japanese, Hokkien, Teochew, and Tamil.

American and Australian slang has also come into Singlish through imported television series and films.

As English is one of Singapore’s official languages, Singlish is regarded as having low prestige.

The Singaporean government discourages the use of Singlish in favor of Standard English. Singlish is also heavily discouraged in the mass media and schools.

However, such official discouragement and censorship are countered by routine usage by ordinary people.

The Oxford English Dictionary announced that it had added new “Singapore English” items.

Singlish Phrases

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“Can or not?”
– Singlish Meaning – “Can you do this?”

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“Can”
– Singlish Meaning – “Yes I can.” or “Yes, of course.”

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“Can lah!”
– Singlish Meaning – “Yes, of course!”

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“Can meh?”
– Singlish Meaning – “Are you sure?”

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“Catch No Ball”
– Singlish Meaning – used by the listener to indicate that they did not understand what is being said

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“Die Die Must Try”
– Singlish Meaning – expression that something is so unique that the other person must try it

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“Ang Moh”
– Singlish Meaning – originating in Hokkien, it translates to ‘red hair’

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“Lah”
– Singlish Meaning – used to emphasize the sentence or word before

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“Come, I clap for you.”
– Singlish Meaning – a sarcastic way of praising someone.

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“Arrow”
– Singaporean Expression – To order someone to do a task

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“Chop-chop”
– Singaporean Expression – Hurry up

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“Eat Snake”
– Singaporean Expression – refers to the act of skiving

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“Kiwi”
– Singaporean Expression – to polish

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“Lobo”
– Singaporean Expression – without assignment or lazy person

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Learning Singlish

Singapore Museums

  • City:                   Singapore
  • Country:            Republic of Singapore
  • Malay:               Republik Singapura
  • Chinese:            新加坡共和国
  • Tamil:                சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசு
  • Population:       5.6 million

Languages of Singapore

According to the Constitution of Singapore, the national language of Singapore is Malay, and the four commonly used languages of Singapore are English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.

The three languages other than English were chosen to correspond with the major ethnic groups present in Singapore at the time of the constitution.

Mandarin had gained status since the introduction of Chinese-medium schools. Malay is deemed the choice for the Malay community.  Tamil represents the largest Indian ethnic group in Singapore.

English became the lingua franca due to the British rule of Singapore and was made the primary language upon Singaporean independence.

Thus, English is the medium of instruction in schools and is also the primary language used in government departments and the courts. 

Almost all Singaporeans are bilingual since Singapore’s bilingual language education policy promotes a dual-language learning system. 

How to Speak with SINGAPOREAN Accent

Museums in Singapore – Map

SINGLISH WORDS & PHRASES

A Tour of Museums in Singapore

Ultimate Singlish Guide

Famous Singaporeans

  • Lee Kuan Yew – Founding Father Of Modern Singapore
  • Lee Hsien Loong – Third Prime Minister Of Singapore
  • Tila Tequila – (Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen) Television Personality
  • Tony Tan – Seventh President Of Singapore
  • Amos Yee – YouTube Personality, Blogger
  • Lee Hsien Yang  – Singaporean senior management executive,  formerly a Brigadier-General in the Singapore Armed Forces
  • Goh Chok Tong – 2nd Prime Minister of Singapore from 1990 to 2004 for 13 years
  • Teo Chee Hean – Senior Minister, prior Deputy Prime Minister also served as the Coordinating Minister for National Security
  • Chin Han – Singaporean actor
  • Henry Golding – actor and TV presenter 

Things Only Singaporeans Understand

A Tour of World-Wide Proverbs and Quotes

Crazy Rich Asians – Do You Speak Singlish?

The Worlds Greatest Proverbs – Ancient Wisdom

Explore Asian Museums

American VS Singaporean

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“Better poverty before wealth than poverty after wealth.”
– Singapore Proverb

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Photo Credit: Basile Morin / CC BY-SA (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0); Erwin Soo from Singapore, Singapore / CC BY (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

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