Eight thousand years of Chinese civilization has nothing on us. When you cannot beat them, you 敢敢 invent new words. Read on for our top 10 Singdarin (Singapore Mandarin) words and their “proper” terms. What shall we teach our kids?

Press Money

(1) 按钱

Press already money come out.

What it should be: 提款

Share Eat

(2) 公司

Either you know this or you do not. Cannot guess. It means share, as in 公司吃。

What it should be: 分享


Straw Visual

(3) 水草

It is not always 水 and it is never made of 草. But this probably came from the English word straw. The straw inside got water. Geddit?

What it should be: 吸管

Boiling water


This really means boiled water, or boiling water.  I still remember my Grandma reminding me to “lim goon zui”.

What it should be: 开水/温水

Percent latest

(5) 巴仙

Frankly, this is so much easier to remember and articulate. It even sounds auspicious, as in 八仙 (Eight Immortals).

What it should be: 百分比


(6) 巴刹

Sounds a bit sinister, if you think about it. A long time ago, chickens got slaughtered in the market. Not any more. Time to move on.

What it should be: 菜市场


(7) 沙爹

This one is my favorite. Before Masters of the Sea, there was Daddies of the Sand. Direct translation from the Malay word, satay.

What it should/can be: 烤肉串



Dragon ditch. Trust the Chinese to put an auspicious spin on the dingiest of things, the water drain or ditch。

What it should be: 水沟/沟渠

Backside Itchy


If someone has an itchy palm, you grease it. If a Singaporean has an itchy backside, he gets into trouble.

What it should/can be: 自找麻烦/吃饱饭没事儿干!

Gan Gan Lai

(10) 敢敢

Be brave. Be courageous. Don’t scared.

What it should/can be:使劲一点/用力/加油



Leave Your Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *