Singlish brought to life in new photo book

CANNOT MAKE IT: This expression literally means not being somewhere on time. But, in a colloquial context, it can also mean something that is unexpected or falls below expectations.
Singlish brought to life in new photo book

KIASU: This word means "afraid to lose". A person who is described as kiasu would have a grasping, selfish attitude.
Singlish brought to life in new photo book

SI GINNA: This Hokkien term refers to bratty behaviour but is not necessarily a derogatory term. It is often used in a light-hearted manner.


    Sep 21, 2015

    Singlish brought to life in new photo book

    PHOTOGRAPHER Zinkie Aw has given Singlish, or colloquial English, a visual spin in her new coffee-table photo book that depicts Singapore expressions.

    The 80-page self-published hardcover book titled Singaporelang - What The Singlish? features 40 photographs; a glossary with translations in Chinese, Malay and Tamil; three language essays and a postcard.

    It also comes with 55 speech-bubble stickers - including expressions such as "catch no ball" and "alamak" - that readers can paste on the photos to create their own scenes.

    Ms Aw, 30, told My Paper of her first book: "I was toying around with the idea of whether it is possible to transpose a language - particularly Singlish, which is (part of our) intangible local culture that gives me my sense of national identity - with something that I do best, photographing moments in a quirky manner."

    Ms Aw's book project was supported by the SG50 Celebration Fund as well as friends and strangers. Even though she does not expect to make much profit, she does not mind as "money can be earned back but passion happens and you just have to go do it".

    The book is available at $60 from Objectifs at 155 Middle Road as well as online from stores such as BooksActually, Select Books and Naiise.

    Photos from the book are also on display in a free exhibition at Objectifs between noon and 7pm tomorrow and Wednesday.

    For more reports on the go, check out the "MyPaper" iOS and Android apps.