I can't believe I've been saying it wrong

I've always said I have a limited command of Singlish because I don't speak Hokkien. I didn't get the humour in Money No Enough and other Jack Neo classics because of that, and even my swearing is limited to a couple of common phrases I picked up on the school bus.

Now it turns out that I've been getting a bit of my Singlish-of-Malay-origin wrong too. I've been saying "pasar", as in "not my pasar", which I thought meant "it's not my concern" or "it's not part of my job" --- but it turns out the correct word is "pasal". "Pasar" means "market", which I knew but never spotted as being at odds with the phrase, while "pasal" means "business", which is where the phrase comes from.


Interestingly, no one's ever corrected me till a few days ago, and the Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English lists "pasal" as a variant of "pasar". Even so, I'm going to try and say the right word from now onwards.

Oh, and "Sarawak"? Is pronounced "suh-RAH-wahk", not "SAIR-ruh-wahk". Damn my Americanised pronunciation sometimes.

Edited to add (March 7): I recently learned that I've been getting "hentam" wrong as well. It's not my fault --- my mother and many people I know say "hantam" instead!

Oh wait ... they're all Chinese ...


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At 1/07/2008 2:53 am , Blogger Jess said...

My Malay friend once told me that too many people say "sia" instead of "sial" - as in, "Wah! The nasi lemak is damn good sial!"


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