I’ve been having some pretty entertaining conversations in the local dialect lately: shop owners, taxi drivers, bank tellers , etc.  The folks here speak a version of English called “Singlish,” which basically sounds like English in a Chinese accent (think Mrs. Swan).  It includes little oddities like instead of saying “yes” they say “can” and instead of saying “no” they say “cannot.”  And they add “lah” to everything.  I’m not sure exactly why – maybe someone can get back to me on that one.

At the advice of a friend (thanks, S) I’m starting a series called “Conversations with Singaporeans” where I will relay some amusing convos to you all.  May you chuckle as much as I do!

Sunday afternoon: I walked into the 7-eleven to buy a box of chocolates for a dinner party, and I asked the Singaporean man behind the counter if he had any stamps:

Me: “Hi, do you sell stamps?”

Man: “Oh nooo lah, I don’t have stamp.”

Me:  “Oh you don’t?”

Man:  “Cannot.  I no carry stamps here, la.  On Monday you go to cornah pos office.”

Me: “Oh, ok great thanks.”  I turn to leave…

Man:  “Why you want to buy stamps?  You send Christmas cahd?”

Me:  “Yes, something like that.” I turn to leave…

Man: “Where you send Christmas cahd?  You send to international?”

Me:  “Yes, local and international.”  I turn to leave…

Man:  “Tsk…Why you not send email, lah?  Ees fastaaahhhh.  Eet no cost you monaaayyy.”

Me:  “Well, I think people like to open cards.”  I start backing away from the counter…

Man:  “Yes this what I saayy.  Why the people send emails?  The people not liking to open emails.  Very cold.  The people no listen to me, lah.”

And then I left the store slightly puzzled…with no stamps…

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