New Bus Company Uses Singlish & We’re Loving It

Don’t play play, Singlish has its own usefulness when it comes to bringing Singaporeans together. This new bus company is using Singlish to its advantage and guess what? We’re loving it. 

Singlish signs on new Tower Transit bus

Image: straitstimes.com

Step into Tower Transit Singapore’s new double-decker bus and you’ll realise that there are so many new features you need to take note of. There are even new USB charging ports on board, now you do not have to worry about running out of batt on a long bus ride home.

As much as the new features are appealing, there is something else that will capture your attention like no other. Introducing new passenger signs, these eye-catching green stickers gives you a little form of entertainment through their usage of Singlish. 

“Here can charge phone!” How about, “Sorry, exit the other side can?” These Singlish headlines are supposed to grab your attention, so you’ll read what’s beneath. The use of Singlish could inject some fun and in fact, create more awareness of the information being transmitted. 

While all the notices have explanations in standard English, there will be at least one commuter that will disapprove of it. One example would be theatre director Charis Vera, who is in her 20s.  In an interview with The Straits Times, she stated that while the signs are localised and relatable, they might perpetuate an excuse to not use good English.

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But I sure we can codeswitch one, right?

Mr Zaqy Mohamad, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications and Information, pointed out that some leeway has to be given for creative advertising. Also, noting that there were also standard English explanations, it is not entirely filled with Singlish. 

Using Singlish doesn’t mean that we do not encourage the use of proper English. In fact, it gives us Singaporeans a sense of unity. It’s unique to us and it is part of our identity. Imagine communicating with our elderly with proper, standard English! What will that make of us? As long as we happy can liao right? 

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Vanessa Ong

Vanessa Ong

An eighteen-year-old girl who is fond of words and the wonders of the world. Perpetually lost in her own thoughts, easily excitable and appreciates a great deal of humour.
Vanessa Ong