We all speak English differently. Some of us speak “Singlish”, “Chinglish”, “Manglish”, “Konglish”, “Frenglish” or “Spanglish”, variations of the language incorporating a mish-mash of non-English words.
I am no stranger to flitting around with the overseas crowd here in Melbourne. Whenever I latch onto one of the, say, Singaporean or Malaysian cliques, I hear them spout one of these colloquial forms of English among themselves non-stop.
English is spoken differently by different people of different backgrounds. Photo: Mabel Kwong
Funnily enough, on many occasions when a Caucasian friend or acquaintance joins us, I hear them drop their usual accent and immediately put on a Westernised English one. When the white person toddles off, they revert back to their normal way of talking.
“Why didn’t you get full marks on the test?” “Why do you always come home so late?” “Why no discount on the chicken today?” These sentences are often the music to the average Asian kid’s ears, the average Asian kid who lives with Asian parents.
Sometimes what our parents say to us might actually be meaningful and make a lot of sense. If we stop to listen. Photo: Mabel Kwong
Truth be told, a lot of things Asian parents often say are weighed with negative undertones. It’s downright demoralising to chide a kid when they tried their best on a B-graded test, isn’t it? What’s wrong with buying a kilo of chicken when it’s not on sale? Nothing. At the same time, what Asian parents say can be rather humourous.