In the ongoing series, Conversations with Singaporeans, I relay some of my more entertaining Singlish exchanges with the locals.

You might need to have some previous exposure to the concept of Chinese superstitions to understand while the following interaction is hilarious, but I will relate the conversation to you regardless:


Tuesday evening, at the apartment. S and I are sitting down with the landlord and the agent to sign a new lease. They’re both friendly Singaporean men. [Disclaimer: we may have flirted a little bit in an effort to convince them to give us a TV].

Landlord: (to me) So, I just need to see your passport or your work permit to verify your personal details are correct, and then we can finish oreddy.

Me: (fishing for my passport) Oh yeah, of course. No problem. Let me just…pull it out…okay here you go (handing over the passport).

Landlord: (opens my passport and takes a look) Ok great thanks…oh… oh …woww!!

[The landlord and agent look at my passport in awe. The agent whispers something to the landlord, looks at me and smiles].

Me: (turning to S in a whisper) I know we were a little flirtatious, but really??

[The men continue to admire my passport]

Me: (with a beaming smile) Yeah, it’s a pretty good photo, right?

Agent: Wahlau! You have a great passport number!!

Me: Thank y-…wait, what?…I have a great passport number?

Landlord:  Got passport so lucky lah! In our dialect, this is a really lucky number!

Me: (totally dejected) oh. uhh thanks, I think…


later in the day

S: (to me) Hey baby, wanna check out my passport number?


So after my ego was totally crushed, I decided to look up my passport number online. It turns out that it is indeed a very lucky number!

Obviously I can’t share the actual number with you, but you can read up on superstitions about Chinese numbers here.