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Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
[Mal., extraction by force, but not with needless violence (Wilkinson);
draw (a sword, a card), pull out (hair, tooth, plant) (Winstedt);
compare chabut lari to clear out, hooking it (Wilkinson);
lari to go at a run,
escape, evasion (Wilkinson); run,
run away, abscond, desert (Winstedt)] Also
formerly chabut. Leave or go off from a place, esp. in a
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 52 chabot (cabut) to flee; to pull out]
cake lapis var. of Kueh Lapis 1.
campong var. of Kampung.
/kah-lah-fair, kair-lair-, kɑːlɑːˈfɛː,
n. [Cant., origin uncertain: see 2008 quot.] Also cair-lair-fare,
calefare, callafair. 1 An actor playing a minor role or
bit part in a film or television programme, an extra. 2 fig. An
idle person, a layabout; a supporter, a hanger-on.
1 2008 “Are you sure this is how you spell calefare?” Calefare [blog for Mediacorp TV comedy series], 30 July. There is truly no such word in the dictionary. Pronounced as “care-lair-fare”, the term refers to bit-role actors, or extras in the entertai[n]ment industry in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. No one can really agree on how to spell the colloquialism, some spell it as “Callafair”, some spell it as “Cair-lair-Fare”. According to the producers, the term “calefare” – literally translated from Latin means to “keep warm”. And since the producers decided to spell it as “Calefare”, we, the calefare, are sticking with it. Nobody really knows for certain how we extras came to be referred to as “calefare”. One theory is that the term evolved from a Cantonese phrase (“chia li fei”) that referred to the lunch packs served to us – tomato rice, curry rice and coffee.
[Eng.] An exclamation expr. fatigue, esp. after some difficult or
1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 can die – said as the result of some taxing activity.
make it a. [Eng.] Also abbrev. CMI. Falling
below the expected standard, not up to scratch; fig. unattractive, ugly.
2005 Renee Tan The Sunday Times, 27 February, 38 .. CMI (“cannot make it” – used to refer to people who are ugly or pathetic. 2006 Zul Othman Today, 20 July, 37 A noble effort but somehow the only words that came to mind were “cannot make it, lah”.
var. of Chatek.
2009 The Straits Times, 5 January, B12 Incensed that first-time host Laos.. has dropped Olympic sports such as gymnastics and hockey, but included events such as fin swimming and shuttlecock kicking (capteh), he said the biennial regional sports fest [the South-east Asia Games] will no longer be a priority for Malaysia.
cari makan see entry under Makan.
[Eng. mistransl. of Mand.
radish cake or pudding:
luóbo radish (luo
trailing plants (Chi.–Eng.
bo a term applied, in
combination, to such roots as the carrot, turnip, radish, etc. (Mathews);
hóng luóbo carrot:
hóng red) +
gāo cake, pudding (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] A Chinese steamed savoury pudding made chiefly of grated
radish and flour and sometimes with minced pork, mushrooms,
often served diced and fried with egg and salted vegetables.
2000 Cheong Suk-Wai The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 22 June, 10 Singapore carrot cake is carrot in name only, made as it is of white radish and rice flour, steamed to form springy, jelly-like slabs. Hawkers then toss the chye tow kuay about in a wok with egg, bits of chye por (salted white radish) and chilli.. Decide whether you want it black or white – that is, with copious dribblings of thick dark soya sauce or just a dash of it. 2000 Chua Lee Hong The Straits Times, 20 December, H15 He knows where to find good fried carrot cake (in Ang Mo Kio), kaya bread (Killiney Road) and chicken rice (River Valley). 2006 Melissa Sim The Sunday Times, 6 August, 3 If you think nothing tastes better than lard-fried carrot cake, taste again. In a blind taste test carried out last Thursday, four out of five Sunday Times readers said carrot cake fried in vegetable oil was tastier, overturning the popularly held belief that the dish must be fried in lard, or not at all. 2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 15 October. Pan-fried carrot cake: Again, Crystal Jade comes up tops with its aromatic cakes.. that are soft without being mushy. They taste great too.
[Eng. transl. of Mal.
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 72 You are all trying to ‘carry’ me, right?
Phrase: carry balls v. phr. [Eng. balls the testicles < transl. of Mal. bola ball]. Angkat Bola.
cartoon a. [Eng.] Idiotic, ridiculous.
ball v. phr.
Liak Bo Kiu.
2001 Suhaila Sulaiman The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 4 January, 5 Catch no ball? If your phone works like a natural extension of your arm, you’d have no problem at all deciphering the above paragraph. 2004 Janadas Devan The Straits Times (Very! Singapore), 20 August, 20 ‘[C]atch no ball’.. someone who misses the drift of things.
CB abbrev. of Chee Bye.
CB leaf abbrev. of Chee Bye Leaf.
n. [< Eng. century a group of a hundred things; a hundred] A
Chinese item of food consisting of a duck egg (or, less commonly, a chicken egg)
cured in its shell using a mixture of quicklime and ash, clay and water, or
other materials, supposedly for about a hundred days, and coated with straw. The
process causes the egg to solidify, with the white of the egg becoming dark and
translucent and the yolk taking on a dull greenish hue, and imparts it with a
sharp flavour and odour. Century eggs are used in various dishes, including rice
porridge, and are also eaten as an appetizer with sliced ginger and soya sauce
¶ Century eggs are known in Cant. as 皮蛋 p‘i t‘an pickled eggs (literally ‘an egg with a skin’) [p‘i skin of the body, a hide, fur; a wrapper, a covering + t‘an egg (Eitel)] and in Mand. as pídàn preserved egg [pí skin + dàn egg (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)].
2005 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 2 October. The poached chicken, which is flanked by century egg and noodles, sits in a spicy sauce of chilli and Sichuan pepper that will set you tingling with delight as a numbing fiery sensation takes over your tastebuds. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Chan Chen Hei) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 1 October. Which are the best restaurants in Hong Kong? / No restaurant is good in everything. Most specialise in one thing. I’d say Yung Kee for their pei dan (century egg). It’s so fragrant, you won’t be able to find it anywhere in Hong Kong. 2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 15 October. Century egg with meat congee: Crystal Jade’s porridge.. is a little too thick and comes with cubes of pork. Imperial Treasure’s.., which is thin and smooth with strands of pork, is tastier. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Benjamin Seck) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 31 December, L28 Just three shops away, there’s another zhi char (restaurant-style coffee shop) place that does a vegetable with century egg and salted egg dish.
peng /chah thow peng,
tʃɑː θaʊ pɛŋ/
ch’hâ fire-wood +
t’haôu the head +
a weapon of war; a person who uses such a weapon, a soldier (Medhurst);
firewood + tóu
head + bīng
Dict.)] A soldier who is dull and uncomprehending, thick-headed
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 305 cha thau peng. ‘Deadwood soldier’: Hokkien. The phrase is conferred on a soldier who neither responds nor comprehends, ie a typical end-product of the present educational system. Equivalent slang in Malay is kayu.
chabut var. of Cabut.
chai poh var. of Chye Por.
chai sim var. of chye sim.
cham sheung /chum siong, tʃʌm sɪɒŋ/ v. [poss. < Cant. 斟 cham to adjust, to choose, add to, deliberate + 商 shéung to deliberate (Eitel); Mand. 斟(酌 zhēnzhuó consider, deliberate (zhēn pour (tea or wine) + zhuó pour out (wine), drink; consider, think over, use one’s discretion) + 商 shāng discuss, consult (Chi.–Eng. Dict.); compare Gwee who suggests Hk. 参 cham + 详 siang; Mand. cān join, enter, take part in; refer, consult + xiáng detailed, minute; details, particulars; know clearly (Chi.–Eng. Dict.): see 2006 quot. below]
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 53 cham siang [參詳] to discuss and deliberate]
Co-operate with, negotiate with.
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 117 Oi! Peng yu, eh! Cham seong tam poh! 136 cham seong tam poh. Compromise (or negotiate) a little.
n. [Mal.] Opium that has been prepared for consumption.
1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 258 The preparation of opium, i.e., its conversion into chandu, as it is called when it is fit for smoking, is as follows.. Chandu is prepared opium. .. 1865 John Cameron Our Tropical Possessions in Malayan India 214. In the condition in which it is imported from Calcutta and Bombay, opium is a very different article from that which administers to the sensual enjoyment of the consumer, and the conversion of the imported article to chandoo, or the treacly consistency required for smoking, is one of the monopolies secured for the protection of the farmer. [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 184 chandu .. Prepared opium..]
parade n. [Eng.] mil. slang A form of collective
punishment where the soldiers in a platoon, etc., are ordered to change
into different sets of uniforms, equip themselves and fall into parade
formation, all within short periods of time.
2002 Koh Boon Pin & Lee Geok Boi Shoulder to Shoulder 14 The tough training of BMT [basic military training] is still the same but the unreasonable punishments are gone. The notorious change parade has been banned.
underwear v. phr. [Eng.] mil. slang Replace a
Talc sheet overlaying a map with a
fresh, blank sheet.
2002 Koh Boon Pin & Lee Geok Boi Shoulder to Shoulder 26 Change underwear. Change the exercise telt sheet. “I cannot see the map underneath. Change underwear.”
n. [Mal., poss. < Arab. جنكل changul talons, claws; a hook, a
fork] A tool similar to a hoe consisting of a rectangular iron blade fixed
transversely at the end of a short or long handle, used in agriculture and
gardening, and by soldiers for digging trenches.
1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 71 Changkol. – The hoe with which all agricultural and planting work is performed by Klings, Malays and Chinese in the Settlements and Peninsula. A long or short handle is fitted according to the work to be done. [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 186 changkul. Hoe for digging and breaking up earth (Ht. Abd. [Hikayat Abdullah] 42, Sid. Rama [Hikajat Siddha Rama (Batavia: Balai Poestaka)] 22). 1963 Richard Winstedt An Unabridged Malay–English Dictionary 63 changkul, hoe (Malaya’s spade)] 2008 April Chong (quoting Abdul Rahman Mohamad) The Straits Times, 10 November, B1 When Abdul Rahman Mohamad started out as a gravedigger three decades ago at the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery, he had more than 30 colleagues. Now, the 45-year-old is just one of nine left. .. “Tak sama (Malay for not the same),” he exclaims, “It was all changkul last time. Now we have machines!” he said in Malay with a smattering of English.
chao /chow, tʃaʊ/ a. [Hk. 臭 stinking; rotten; ill-favoured (Medhurst); Mand. chòu smelly, foul, stinking; bad smell, stink, notoriety; stink, smell, emit a bad odour; disgusting, abominable, detestable, disgraceful; suffering decay, unwelcome (Comp. Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] Dirty, foul, smelly, stinking; detestable, disgusting, unwelcome. Used in the following comb. forms.
chao chee bye /chee bı, tʃiː bʌɪ/ int. [see Chee Bye] vulg. & offensive An exclamation expr. anger, contempt, derision, frustration, etc. Compare Kan Ni Na.
k’hang a hole (Medhurst);
Dict.)] Mean, nasty.
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 35 He was the most chao kang instructor one could have. 68 Sie-eh chao kang. Just because you don’t like me, is it ..? Say so, lah! 136 chao kang. Literally, dirty hole.
see quot. 2006 below); Mand. kuǎn sincere; receive with hospitality,
Dict.)] Unfair, unscrupulous.
2004 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 1 August, L16 [A] knight without honour in the savage land of chao kuan (unscrupulous) restaurants. 2004 Chua Mui Hoong The Straits Times, 20 October, H6 As Hokkien-speaking Singaporeans have been wont to say, the PAP government can be chao kuan (not playing fair, stacking the odds in its own favour). 2005 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 December, L12 .. Jose had left Christmas cards with every single neighbour.. It was less a sharing of season’s greetings than a not-so-subtle hint that he wanted an end-of-year tip. .. There’s the chao kuan (miserly) factor which we Singaporeans know too well about, and that may be why Jose felt he had to drop a fat hint rather than rely on our altruism. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 54 chau kuan [臭款] bad habit]
A derogatory form of address for a soldier of the rank of private.
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 58 We hooted, threw our caps into the air and congratulated one another on becoming ‘chou privates’. 80 The only kind of satisfaction for us chou privates. 136 chou private. ‘Dirty’ private. A supposedly derogatory term for the image of a private.
chap chye /tzahp chı,
杂 chap to mix, to blend together +
ch’haè vegetables (Medhurst);
Mand. zá mixed + cài vegetables
Peranakan dish consisting of mixed vegetables including cabbage,
black fungus and lily flower buds, and other ingredients such as transparent
rice vermicelli and tim chok (dried sweet beancurd strips).
2004 Justin Cheong Today (Festive Special), 10 December, 2 One tends to associate turkey and ham with Christmas. But for Ivan’s family, there would be.. chap chye (mixed vegetables).. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 54 chap chai [雜菜] mixed vegetable stew; in disarray] 2006 Eveline Gan Weekend Today, 22–23 July, 24 I used to think that nobody could rival my nenek’s (grandma) delicious chap chye, but I changed my mind.. While the mixture of cabbage, vermicelli, black fungus, lily flower buds and tim chok (dried sweet beancurd strips) may not look very appetising, this dish is what I’d call comfort food, and it’s very tasty, too. 2008 Huang Lijie The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 23 November, 28 [S]he began whipping up Peranakan food.. and enjoyed success with dishes such as Nonya chap chye (mixed vegetables).. 2011 Marc Lim The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 28 August, 16 Being of Peranakan (Straits-born Chinese) heritage, I feel blessed to come from a culture whose cuisine features so much of other cultures. For example, .. chap chye (a vegetable stew) is very much influenced by the early Chinese settlers who came to South-east Asia.
chap go mei
/chahp go may, tʃɑp gɒ meɪ/
n. [Hk. 十五 chap go (chap + go)
+ 暝 mei; Mand. shíwǔ fifteen; fifteenth (shí ten + wǔ
five) + míng (of the sun) set; (of the sky) grow dark; dusk, evening
Dict.)] The 15th day of the first month of the Chinese calendar,
which is also the first full-moon day of the new year and the last day of the
Chinese New Year; the Lantern Festival. Traditions associated with the festival
include the carrying of lanterns by children and the eating of
¶ Known in Mand. as 元宵节 Yuánxiāo Jié the Lantern Festival: yuánxiāo the night of the 15th of the first lunar month (yuán first, primary + xiāo night) + jié festival, red-letter day, holiday (Chi.–Eng. Dict.).
2001 Raelene Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 14 January, P12 The fifteenth day (Chap Goh Mei) of Lunar New Year is another family event. In days past, noisy fireworks were thought to frighten away evil spirits. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 54 chap go [十五] fifteen; fifteenth chap go mei [十五暝] fifteenth and last night of the Lunar/Chinese New Year festivities]
chap ji ki
/chahp jee kee, tʃɑp dʒiː kiː/
n. [Hk. 十二 chap ji (chap + ji) + 支 ki; Mand.
shí’èr twelve (shí ten + èr two) + zhī branch,
Dict.)] A gambling game popular among
Peranakans played by four players using narrow cards based on the 12
pieces in Chinese chess.
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 54 chap-ji-ki [十二支] the twelve-number betting game]
[origin uncertain, perh. < Hk.
chëăh pá láng
people who have eaten their fill:
pá to eat to the full (chëăh
to eat + pá (colloq.) to be satisfied, to be full, to enjoy
satiety) + lang a man (Medhurst);
chī eat +
bǎo full +
rén people] A person
who drifts from one activity or place to another (?).
2001 Michelle Ho The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 14 January, P6 Chapalang clubbers.. These drifters check out any scene as long as something is there for them, be it free booze or hot babes.
chapteh var. of Chatek.
char kway teow
/chahr kuay tiow, tʃɑr kʊeɪ
char fry; Mand. chǎo
Teow] A sweet-savoury dish consisting of kway teow fried with
soya sauce, bean sprouts, cockles,
1978 Leong Choon Cheong (quoting Tay Poh Hock) Youth in the Army 49–50 Not long after, to his $2 per day Poh Hock added another $2 by working from 3 p.m. to well past midnight for another hawker, this time a char kway teow man. 2002 Magdalene Lum (quoting Elisa Chew) The Straits Times (Life!), 2 April, L6 The best char kway teow can be found at McCalister Road [in Penang, Malaysia]. 2005 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Ryan Chioh) The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 2 October. What’s your ultimate favourite food? .. Char kway teow. My favourite stall is in Wei Xuan Eating House, Block 22, in Havelock Road. It’s a little bit sweet and wet, has loads of lard, and the cockles are cooked just right. My record was eating there three times a week. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Joyce Thomas) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 13 August, L24 In the 1970s, char kway teow hawkers used a lot of lard, a lot of ingredients and fried it in a way that made it very fragrant. Now, you can’t find that kind of standard anywhere. 2006 Anthony Bourdain New York Times Magazine (from Travel.nytimes.com), 24 September. The next day, he took me out to a hawker center near the airport for a Chinese-based comfort-food classic: char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles). Originally a poor-man’s lunch thrown together by fishermen, the dish has become a guilty pleasure for Singaporeans unafraid of its high-cholesterol charms. Hill Street Fried Kway Teow, Seetoh insisted, offered the best char kway teow in Singapore. A superior frying technique was of paramount importance – one must not burn the noodles. “Watch the master!” Seetoh urged, as an old gentleman tossed Chinese sausage, cockles, flat noodles and crispy pork cracklings into a sizzling wok and then poured in some dark soy. A minute or so before being unceremoniously dumped onto plates, a beaten egg was added, and it was still cooking when the steaming orders hit our table. It was an unlovely-looking brown heap, but I felt myself slowly seduced as I spooned on some chili sauce, my hangover from the previous evening’s festivities fading quickly. As with so much of the best of Asian cooking, this gooey mess was in fact a complex combination of distinct flavors and textures: sweet and savory, spicy and rich, gluey and crunchy.
Comb.: Penang char kway teow see Penang Char Kway Teow.
/chah sioo, tʃaː sɪʊ/
to fork up; a prong +
shiú to ignite, to burn,
to roast, to bake (Eitel);
chāshāo: chā fork
n.; work with a fork, fork v. + shāo burn; cook, bake, heat;
stew after frying or fry after stewing; roast (Chi.–Eng.
boneless lean pork (or, less commonly, other types of meat), seasoned with
various ingredients including sugar or honey, five-spice powder, red food
colouring, soya sauce and rice wine or sherry, and barbequed or roasted. It is
usu. sliced and eaten with a sweet sauce.
2001 David Kraal The Straits Times (Life!), 20 February, L6 Otak-otak, char siew, babi pangang and roast duck were bought from secret stalls that produce only the best. 2002 Chua Minyi The Sunday Times, 31 March, 30 From chicken char siew noodles and Portuguese food to bubble tea. 2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 13 August, L24 [L]ipsmacking dishes that are rarely found now – .. home-grilled char siew with unashamed portions of fat..
fun /fun, fʌn/
n. [Cant. 饭 fán a meal, food for one
person; cooked rice (Eitel);
Mand. fàn cooked rice or other cereals (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] A Chinese dish consisting of pieces of char siew, slices
of cucumber, etc., served with rice and a sweet sauce.
2001 Neil Humphreys Notes from an Even Smaller Island 62 You cannot go far wrong if you ask for char siew fun, which is barbequed pork rice.
char siew noodles n. [Eng. transl. of Mand. 面 miàn noodles; or cognates in other Chi. dialects] Char siew, vegetables, etc., served with noodles.
bāo] Also ellipt.
pau. A dimsum (savoury Cantonese-style snack) in the form of a
white steamed bun filled with minced char siew.
2005 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Ryan Chioh) The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 2 October. I always order char siew pau for dimsum in a restaurant. It’s the benchmark to see if the overall standard is good. 2006 Teo Pau Lin & Eunice Quek The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 24 June. Staples like har gao (prawn dumplings, $2.80) and char siew pau ($2.80) are made fresh every day. .. Signature dishes: Har gao, siew mai, char siew puff and egg tarts.. 2006 June Cheong (quoting Tan Siang Yee) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 29 October. I feel like I need something salty like char siew pau (roast pork buns) as well.
char siew rice n. [Eng. rice, transl. of Mand. 饭 fàn cooked rice or other cereals (Chi.–Eng. Dict.); or cognates in other Chi. dialects] Char Siew Fun.
char siew su /soo, suː/ n. [Cant. 酥 sò, sú crisp (Eitel); Mand. sū crisp, short; shortbread (Chi.–Eng. Dict.); compare Cant. 酥饼 sú peng short cakes (Eitel); Mand. bǐng a round flat cake (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] A dimsum (savoury Cantonese-style snack) in the form of an oblong piece of flaky pastry filled with minced char siew.
chari makan see entry under Makan.
/chah-ri poın(t), ˈtʃɑriː
find, look for, seek, search + Eng.
Act in a manner so as to give someone else a good impression of oneself; try to
score points with one, strive to get into one’s good books.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 305 chari point. It means ‘to find a point’: a favourable understanding with someone or to get into his good books: Malay/English. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 37 Chari point (Malay). To look for marks; to try and score points. Describes those trying to get into the good books of superiors.
[Mal.?] Also capteh,
A toy made of feathers attached by their quills to weights such as round pieces
of rubber, which is kicked using the inner side of the foot.
A game played with a chatek, the object of which is to try for as long as
possible to keep a chatek in the air by kicking it continuously without allowing
it to fall to the ground.
1 2001 Chan Kwee Sung The Straits Times (Life!), 29 October, L6 The dominant game was that played with a shuttlecock, a bigger version of capteh made with a thick pile of paper discs impaled with chicken feathers. This was kicked over a net by single, double or team players. 2 2000 Chan Kwee Sung The Straits Times, 1 September, 92 Dickenson Hill.. was frequented in days of yore by evening strollers equally attracted to regular chatek or shuttlecock matches by popular players in Chinatown. 2005 Lee U-Wen Today, 22 August. Another anecdote in the book came from former Raffles Girls School principal Carmee Lim, who, in her school days, earned a reputation as the “chatek queen” for her uncanny ability to manoeuvre the small feather-shuttle using both legs. But her strict expatriate principal disapproved of her behaviour and chided the young Ms Lim for her unladylike actions. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 54 chap te flat-bottomed shuttle cork [sic] for kicking (children’s game)] 2006 Jessica Lim The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 November. [T]eams from 16 primary schools feverishly chalking up hits with a chatek, plotting a winning strategy in a game of Police and Thief and cartwheeling over rubber-band ropes. .. Chatek queen Cai Xiao Dan, 15, kept one in the air for 78 hits, despite not having played with the shuttlecock-like toy for four years. 2012 Frances Ess Today on Sunday, 11 March, 8 Angry Birds? Give me hantam bola [title] .. We spent entire afternoons playing hopscotch, chapteh or hantam bola.
/chow peng, tʃaʊ pɛŋ/
n. & v. phr.
chaóu to run, to run away,
to run quickly +
a weapon of war; a person who uses such a weapon, a soldier (Medhurst);
zǒu walk, go; run +
bīng soldier (Comp.
A soldier who is absent without official leave (AWOL), a deserter.
Of a soldier: be absent without official leave, go AWOL; desert from the armed
forces, an army unit, etc.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 305 chau peng. (1) To run AWOL. (2) Soldier gone AWOL: Hokkien. Soldiers who chau peng tend to be privates and low in IQ and educational profile. By contrast, more intelligent and better-educated men and officers tend not to chau peng or go AWOL: but they skive or chiah chua.
†chaybah /chay-bah, ˈtʃeɪbɑ/ int. [origin unkn.] An exclamation expr. exultation, triumph, etc.; all right!, woo hoo!, yeah!
n. & a. [Eng.
A cheapskate, a miser.
In the manner of a cheapskate: miserly, stingy, ungenerous.
A 2003 Suzanne Sng The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 14 December, L8 The gift the Cheapo brings, if any, is recycled from last year’s gift exchange. .. [I]t can be difficult handling Cheapos, who can be male or female. 2005 Lionel Seah The Straits Times (Urban) (from Straits Times Interactive), 29 September. What is the right way to wear perfume? .. Technically speaking, the old-fashioned way is that you spritz the scent a few times into the air using an atomiser and then walk into the mist. The whole idea is that you are covered evenly in the heavenly scent. Of course, the cheapos among us would say the surroundings – not you – end up smelling lovely.
/chee bı, tʃiː
n. & int.
[poss. Hk. 雌 ch’he the female of birds (Medhurst)
+ bye (?); Mand. cí female + (?) (Comp.
Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] Often abbrev. to
vulg. & offensive
A n. The female (external?) genitalia: vulva, cunt, pussy.
B int. An exclamation expr. anger, contempt, derision,
A 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 136 C–B–. Highly vulgar, negative name for vagina. B 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 35 This type of C–B– standard, no f—g respect for me, is it? 2001 Magistrate Adam Nakhoda (quoting Cpl. Mohamed Sadri bin Farich) Public Prosecutor v. Verghese Alan, 20 January, Magistrate’s Appeal Case No. 2329 of 2000,  SGMC 7, para. 21, Magistrate’s Court (Singapore). Q. You mentioned Accused saying bad words. What were they? A. “Bastard”. A Chinese bad word “Chee Bye”, “Who bribed you”, “Get out of here”, and “Corrupt police”. 2003 Magistrate Eric Tin Keng Seng Public Prosecutor v. Koh Boo Ching, 24 October, Magistrate’s Arrest Case Nos. 6238 and 6240 of 2003,  SGMC 37, para. 6, Magistrate’s Court (Singapore). You... are charged that you on or about the 25th day of June, 2003 at or about 1.05 am at car park of Blk 136 Potong Pasir Ave 3, Singapore, did use abusive words to one, Jumarie Bin Jumahat who is a Parking Enforcement Officer of Housing Development Board, a public servant, to wit, “Kua Si Mi Lan Chau, Chee Bye”, which literally mean in English as “See What Penis, Vagina”, in the execution of his duty as such public servant, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 13D(1)(a) of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, Chapter 184. 2003 ‘Pak Cham Kai’ Talkingcock.com, 14 December. Then got one of their occifer saw me making Maggi mee in the barracks, and arrow me to come and make for them. Chee bye! 2006 Neil Humphreys Final Notes from a Great Island 28–29 As the lift doors opened, I heard a voice mutter “chee bye”. .. [I]sn’t chee bye a wonderful vulgarity? It is truly delightful and easily my favourite Singaporean expletive, precisely because it does not sound like one. It is Hokkien for “vagina”, but it is so much jauntier than its British four-letter equivalent.. 36 “Cannot tahan already, the chee bye,” one of the cleaners said. Do not hold back mate. Say what you really think.
chao chee bye see entry under Chao.
chee bye leaf n. [Eng. leaf] Often abbrev. as CB leaf. mil. slang The large, oval, prominently-veined leaf of a plant, Dillenia suffructicosa, with showy yellow flowers (sometimes called the CB plant), poss. known in Malay as simpoh (simpuh, simpur) ayer (but see quot. 1955 below), the split stalk of which is said to resemble the vulva. It is usu. avoided by soldiers for camouflage purposes.
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 2, 1109 simpur. A large tree, Dillenia sp. It bears a white flower (bunga s. [simpur]) the shape of which (conventionalized) enters largely into Malay art design.. S. is used also of other plants: s. ayer (Cleistanthus hirsutulus).. Also simpoh. [Watson [Malayan Plant Names] gives: s. ayer = Wormia pulchella..] 1963 Richard Winstedt An Unabridged Malay–English Dictionary 335 simpor, small trees with hard wood and showy yellow flowers (Dillenia spp.)]
1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 37 CB leaf. A broad leaf trainees are discouraged from using as camouflage during field training. Decency forbids the explanation of CB. [1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 52 It seemed very strange singing to an audience of CB plants, coconut trees and oil palms. 136 CB plants. Tropical shrub with leaves resembling a certain part of the female anatomy.] 2012 William Cheong The Sunday Times, 5 November, 43 [T]he rite of passage of every NSman – the introduction to the CB leaf (this being a family paper, no elaboration can be provided).
cheong fun /chee chiong fun, tʃiː
n. [Cant., pig’s intestines noodles (f. their appearance):
猪 chü the pig, one of the ‘six domestic animals’ of China +
肠 ch‘éung the bowels, the intestines +
粉 fán rice flour, crumbs (of rice) (Eitel);
zhūcháng fěn: zhū pig, hog, swine + cháng intestines + fěn
noodles, vermicelli (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] Also cheong fun. A Chinese dish consisting of broad
flat pieces of dough made from rice flour which are rolled up and steamed. They
are served plain with a dark sweet sauce, chilli sauce and a sprinkling of
sesame seeds, or cooked with ingredients such as
Char Siew or shrimp and served with light soya sauce.
2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Straits Times (Life!) (from Straits Times Interactive), 6 March. There is even chee cheong fun stuffed with shark’s fin and seafood. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Wong Hon Mun) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 30 July, L28 When I was growing up in Kampar [in Malaysia], there was this woman who sold chee cheong fun from her house. Every lunch time, there would be this long queue that formed outside her door. I really missed it when she stopped selling it in the 1970s. Her chee cheong fun was really fresh. The skin was thin and it had lots of radish and dried shrimp filling. 2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Straits Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 15 October. Shrimp rice roll (cheong fun): Crystal Jade’s smooth sheets of rice flour.., which are embedded with crunchy lumps of shrimp meat, are about the best you can find in Singapore.
/chee sin, tʃiː sɪn/
叉 (or 止)
cross (or poss.
to stop, to desist) +
a thread (Eitel);
chā cross (or zhǐ stop) + xiàn thread, string, wire (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.) (?)] joc.
An exclamation expr. that the person being addressed is mentally unsound or
1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 chee sin – crossed wire, something wrong in the head. Rose to popularity with the 1970s Cantonese Hongkong serials.
cheeko n. & a. [poss. < Eng. cheek or cheeky + –o; or Hk. 痴 chee + 哥 ko (Gwee: see quot. 2006 below); Mand. chī silly, idiotic; crazy about; (dial.) insane, mad + gē (elder) brother (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)]
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 57 chi ko pek [痴哥伯] a brazen male flirt]
A person (usu. a man) obsessed with sexual matters, a sex maniac.
a. Of or relating to a cheeko; sexually obsessed.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 164 There was the ‘cheeko’ Mr Wong who was the school’s PT instructor. When instructing the girls, he was free with his straying hands.
cheeko pek /pe,
bó father’s elder brother,
Ah Pek] Also cheeko peh.
An older or elderly man obsessed with sex, an older or elderly male sex maniac,
a dirty old man.
2005 Neil Humphreys Weekend Today, 10–11 December, 24 The criticism of Crazy Horse Paris, a topless dance revue that opened this week, has been staggering. Lest someone think I’ve started a degree course at the School of Chee Ko Peks, I’m utterly indifferent to the show. If Singaporeans and tourists want to spend upwards of $85 to watch some partially-naked women dance cheekily under flashing lights, that’s their prerogative. 2009 Phin Wong Today, 20 February, 34 Eee! You very cheekopek!
ch’him deep (Medhurst);
shēn deep; difficult,
Dict.)] Also chim. Profound, complicated, beyond
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 66 A cheem steel sculpture that resembled pieces of haphazard, strip-welded metal put together. 91 Their language was too cheem for me to understand. 136 cheem. Complex or too subtle. 1998 Koh Buck Song The Straits Times, 9 August, 2 [N]othing chim (deep) or enduring.. 2000 Kelvin Tong The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 9 April, 7 This is too cheem (deep). 2005 Jill Alphonso (quoting ‘Kumar’ (Kumar Chinnadurai)) The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 28 July. The jokes are a little more ‘cheem’. Some aren’t so raunchy but are definitely still politically incorrect.. 2006 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 4 June. The heightened cheem-ness factor.. 2009 Janadas Devan The Sunday Times, 22 February, 27 “Cheem” or “chim” comes from the Hokkien ch’him, according to singlishdictionary.com, meaning “deep, difficult, profound”. It is applied indiscriminately to anything intellectual that requires even the slightest effort to understand, as this example in The Coxford English Dictionary indicates: “You study philosophy? Wah lao, damn cheem, man!” I have heard students complain that their teachers were cheem. I have heard journalists complain of cheem briefings. I have had writers contributing to this newspaper apologise to me if their articles were cheem. Heaven forbid if anyone should think they were intellectual. Cheem originated from Hokkien but it can’t possibly reflect the attitude of a 5,000-year-old civilisation to the “deep, difficult, profound”. That civilisation could not have lasted that long if it had shunned the cheem as we do. I never heard the word in school in the 1960s or in the SAF in the 1970s. Those were tougher times; cheem was in. It was only in the Singapore of the roaring 1990s that a whole lot of things were suddenly dismissed as cheem. We will see if these cheem times produce a greater respect for cheem.
[Cheem + Eng.
2004 Wong Kim Hoh (quoting Mark Lee) The Sunday Times, 22 February, 42 Very cheemology. I don’t know.
[Mal. china, cina
Chinese] Also cina.
derog. Overly Chinese or oriental.
1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 Cheena – very Chinese in outlook. 2000 Liew Kai Khiun The Straits Times (Life!), 4 February, 5 It certainly looks foolish to queue up for some ‘cina’-looking soft toy in a neighbourhood fast food outlet. 2000 Clarissa Oon The Straits Times (Life!), 14 February, 9 Stuck in a photo studio making cheena poses. 2000 Yeow Kai Chai The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 2 July, 5 He has been accused of making Fann Wong look like a cheena ah lian. 2003 Suzanne Sng (quoting Hana Ibrahim) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 January, L10 The trendy wares she touts attract mostly young Chinese women looking for something stylish and not overtly ‘cheena’. Pointing to a chinoiserie handbag, Ms Hana says: ‘It’s not just the ‘cheena’ items like these which are selling well.’ 2007 Janet Huang The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 29 April. Love of Chinese seen as ‘cheena’ [title] .. [A]nyone showing earnestness in learning Chinese is likely to be perceived as ‘cheena’ (slang for conservatively Chinese). .. If speaking Chinese well means one is perceived as ‘cheena’, nothing needs to be said for even having a passion for learning Chinese.
int. [Mal., an interjection of disbelief or disapproval: nonsense! shame!
fie! for shame! (Winstedt)]
An exclamation expr. exasperation, derision, etc.
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 196 cheh.. Nonsense! shame! – an interjection of disbelief or disapproval; cf. chěh! kamu sěmua cheh! karna tiada adat hamba Mělayu: shame! shame on you all! we Malays are not in the habit of acting like that; Mal. Annals [Malay Annals] 123.] 2004 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 22 August, L14 ‘Tcheh,’ groused the Mother-in-Law.. 2006 Kelvin Wong (quoting Simon Chua) The Sunday Times, 17 December, 41 You never know! Chey... haha. If I have the chance, why not?
[Mal.] The plant
Artocarpus polyphema, a variety of the jackfruit or jack (Artocarpus
integrifolia); the edible fruit of this plant, similar to that of the
jackfruit but having a stronger flavour.
1865 John Cameron Our Tropical Possessions in Malayan India 397 Appendix I. LIST OF THE FRUITS TO BE FOUND IN THE BAZAARS OF THE STRAITS SETTLEMENTS [compiled by Dr. Ward]. 398 Champadoo .. Arctocarpus integrifolia .. The jack. Farinaceous, mucilaginous, and nutritive. 1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 137 Fruits. – A total list of some 63 “fruits” has been compiled as indigenous to the Malay Peninsula. Some of these, however, are repugnant to Europeans and seldom touched by Malays. The following catalogue will be found to include all which are likely to come under the notice of the ordinary resident or visitor:– .. Champadak (large jack fruit).. 234 In the fruit season, scarcely anything else is eaten, and from morning to night, man, woman, and child may be seen eating durians, mangosteens, chempedaks (a species of jack), and other fruits. 1976 Planting and Maintenance of Fruit Trees 8 Trees of the following species raised from seeds will also begin to bear fruit after two to three years of growth: Jackfruit, Chempedak, Custard Apple and Soursop. 2001 David Kraal The Straits Times (Life!), 20 February, L6 The chempedak is so good. I think I’ll eat 90 seeds to mark the occasion. 2013 Cheryl Faith Wee The Sunday Times (SundayLife), 31 March, 5 A 5m-tall chempedak tree also towers over the small caretaker’s house..
chenchalok var. of Cincaluk.
[< Mal. chendul
thin broth with cakes of dough floating in it] A Malay dessert consisting
red beans, kernels of corn,
in coconut milk sweetened with
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 210 chěndul. Cooked sago passed through a sifter and mixed with a syrup of coconut, sugar and salt. In Acheen it is a thin broth of sago or glutinous rice sweetened with coconut milk and syrup.] 2000 Chua Lee Hoong The Sunday Times, 26 November, 35 The story of the man who invented durian chendol. 2002 Magdalene Lum (quoting Elisa Chew) The Straits Times (Life!), 2 April, L6 Along Penang Road [in Penang, Malaysia], you will also find delicious desserts like chendol and ice kacang. 2006 Thng Lay Teen The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 26 February. If chendol is your thing, look for the chendol seller opposite the Clock Tower along Jalan Laksamana [in Malacca, Malaysia]. This tourist icon serves the timeless dessert the way I remember it being peddled by street vendors in Singapore in the 1960s.
/ching təng, tʃɪŋ təŋ/
n. [Hk. 清 ch’hèng pure, clear, clean +
汤 t’heng hot water; broth; any warm liquid (Medhurst);
qīngtāng clear soup, light soup: qīng unmixed, clear + tāng
soup, broth (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] A Chinese dessert served hot or cold consisting of a
clear, brownish syrup sweetened with rock sugar with a variety of ingredients
including barley grains, dried
red dates, snow fungus, and strips of beancurd skin and crystallized winter
melon [Mand. 冬瓜 dōngguā winter melon, white
melon: dōng winter + guā gourd, melon], etc.
2005 Kwen Ow Today, 7 March, 33 [D]esserts such as Malay kueh, sago with gula melaka, cheng tng, egg tarts, pandan chiffon cakes and almond cookies among others. 2005 Theresa Tan The Straits Times (Mind Your Body), 14 December, 15 Chicken rice ought to be crowned one of the seven food wonders of Singapore, along with laksa, dry mee pok, chilli crab, satay, rojak and cheng tng, in my opinion.
n. [Mal.] Also chengal, chingei. A durable, dense,
hard wood from the tree Balanocarpus heimii (also known as
Neobalanocarpus heimii) or from the Hopea sangal (formerly Hopea
curtisii); the trees themselves.
1839 Thomas John Newbold Political and Statistical Account of the British Settlements in the Straits of Malacca, vol. 1, ch. 7, 442 The trees chiefly in use for purposes of house and ship are the Chingei,.. the red and white Meranti for planks, etc. 1865 John Cameron Our Tropical Possessions in Malayan India 403 Appendix II. LIST OF THE CHIEF FRUIT AND FOREST TREES INDIGENOUS TO THE STRAITS SETTLEMENTS [From Colonel Low’s Dissertation]. (The Malay term Kayoo, wood, or Pokok, tree, should be prefixed to each name.) .. Chingei .. A high tree, from 18 to 25 feet in circumference, used for ship and boat building; stands the salt water well; is much used on the Tennasserim coast; the wood itself floats; fracture rather short; it grows in sandy grounds. 1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 420 Chingei ... ... caryophyllus sylvestris. [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 210 chěngai. See chěngal (Balanocarpus). .. chěngal. Gen. name for certain trees that give a very handsome timber, «chingai-wood». They include: (i) Balanocarpus heimii (the best; = ch. batu, ch. mas, ch. siput); (ii) Hopea curtisii (ch. pasir); (iii) H. globosa (ch. paya); and the unid. [unidentified] ch. kampong, ch. kěladi, ch. tandok. Also (Ked. [Kedah] chěngai; (N.S., Pk. [Negri Sembilan, Perak]) pěnak. 1963 Richard Winstedt An Unabridged Malay–English Dictionary 69 chěngai, K., Pk. [Kedah, Perak], chěngal, a large tree with very hard commercial timber, Balanocarpus heimii: = pěnak, Jo., N.S. [Johor, Negri Sembilan]; also Hopea spp.] 2002 Neo Hui Min The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 23 November. The Hopea sangal tree had long been thought extinct here, until nature enthusiasts surveyed the Changi area and found one. But on Wednesday, that survivor was felled, even though it was in a tree conservation area on state land. .. It is believed that this tree gave Changi its name, as the common name of the tree is Chengal Pasir or Chengal Mata Kuching. 2003 Selina Lum The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 5 March. A property management company may have to pay about $76,000 in compensation to the National Parks Board (NParks), for chopping down a rare old tree in Changi, inside a gazetted conservation area. This would be on top of the fine DTZ Debenham Tie Leung must pay for failing to seek NParks’ approval before felling the Hopea sangal tree on Nov 20 last year. Thought to be the last of its kind in Singapore, it grew on state land behind 46 Halton Road in Changi and was estimated to be more than 150 years old. Twenty of its seeds are now being grown in NParks’ nursery. .. It is an offence under the Parks and Trees Act to fell without permission any tree with a girth exceeding 1 m. The Hopea sangal tree measured 3.4 m around. .. The species, commonly known as the Chengal Pasir, is believed to have given the Changi area its name. 2003 Victor R. Savage & Brenda S.A. Yeoh, Toponymics 81. The native place-name Changi is found very early in Singapore’s history. In the 1828 map by Franklin and Jackson, the extreme southeastern tip of the island is referred to as Tanjong Changi. The local name Changi must have been a significant point for the Malay world, especially in the days of the sixteenth century Johor kingdom located on the Johor River. Vessels using the Johor Straits would have to pass Changi. There are various versions of the etymological roots of the name Changi. One source says that is comes from a climbing shrub, the changi ular (apama corymbosa), which grew in the area. Another claims that it gets its name from a tall tree, the dhengai (balanscarpus heimii), which abounded in the area in the early nineteenth century. Changi could also be a variation of the local timber named chengai. This heavy local timber is commonly used for buildings and furniture and is valued for its strength and renowned for its deep rich colour. 2008 Tay Suan Chiang The Straits Times (Life!), 4 October, E11 The extension .. is made of steel beams, unlike the old house .. which is made of chengai wood.
cheong fun var. of Chee Cheong Fun.
n. [Hk. 尺 ch’hek a foot measure (Medhurst);
chǐ] hist. A Chinese unit of length, equivalent to about ⅓
metre (more accurately, 0.37465 metre).
1970 Metrication Act 1970 (No. 52 of 1970), s. 5(b). Conversion of imperial standard units to metric system units. The values expressed in terms of .. the local customary system of weights and measures, may be converted into the values expressed in terms of the International System of Units in accordance with Schedule C. .. Schedule C .. Conversion of Local Customary Units to Equivalent SI Units .. 1 chhek = 0.37465 metre exactly.
n. [Hk. 寸 ch’hùn an inch (Medhurst);
Mand. cùn] hist. A Chinese unit of length, equivalent to
one-tenth of a chhek or 37.465 millimetres.
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 241 chun. .. Chinese inch; tenth of Chinese foot.] 1970 Metrication Act 1970 (No. 52 of 1970), s. 5(b). Conversion of imperial standard units to metric system units. The values expressed in terms of .. the local customary system of weights and measures, may be converted into the values expressed in terms of the International System of Units in accordance with Schedule C. .. Schedule C .. Conversion of Local Customary Units to Equivalent SI Units .. 1 chhun = 37.465 millimetres exactly
chia /chiah, tʒɪɑ/ v. [Hk. 吃 chëăh to eat (Medhurst); Mand. chī eat, take; have one’s meals, eat (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] Also chiah, chiak. Eat, swallow.
Comb. and phrases:
bô not, not at all
leáou finished, done; Mand.
wú not have, there is not,
without + liǎu
ended, finished, settled, disposed of (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] (That which) cannot be completed.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 305 chiah boe liau. Literally, it means ‘cannot be consumed to the end’: colloquially, it means ‘cannot be completed’. Uttered by a soldier to indicate a great number of duties or penalties that have been imposed upon him: Hokkien.
ch’hwâ, chwâ a snake (Medhurst);
Dict.)] Be absent from duty, avoid work, skive. Also transl.
into Eng. as
1978 Leong Choon Cheong (quoting Tay Poh Hock) Youth in the Army 53 We chiah chua. Every soldier does. No one is a 24-hour machine. So if you ar with the IC.. you can chiah chua a bit. 305 chiah chua. Literally means ‘eat snake: Hokkien. Slang meaning: to escape duty, to do less than others. This can be used either as a compliment or as an insult depending on who uses it and for whom it is meant. See also ‘snake-king’, ‘skive’, ‘tuang’. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 37 Chiak chuah (Hokkien) Eat snake. Play truant; to escape work and training. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 64 He warned us that we would do better than to chiak chua and ‘play punk’ behind his back. 136 chiak chuah. To be deliberately lazy.
kêw, k’hêw a globe (Medhurst);
betting When setting
odds in football betting: accept from another person a handicap of a certain
number of goals.
¶ Opp. of Pang Giu.
2004 Karl Ho The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 13 June, L6 Pang giu and jiak giu. Hokkien for ‘give ball’ and ‘eat ball’ respectively. Punter-speak for setting odds such that the person betting on the favourite team gives a handicap to the one putting his money on the dark horse. Usage: ‘Oi, I take Portugal and you take Greece. I pang zi liap for you (give you one ball) and you jiak kiu (eat ball) lah.’ 2006 Chan Yi Shen The Sunday Times, 20 August, 34 Singapore’s EPL [English Premier League] lingo [title].. Jiak giu: to eat ball (betting by accepting a handicap given to a team)
yú fish (Chi.–Eng.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 305 chiah hi. Literally, ‘eat fish’: Hokkien. Usually aimed at a superior who is very strict. Highly derogatory. See ‘ngeow’. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 38 Chiak he (Hokkien) Eat fish. Used to describe a superior who is extremely strict (see ‘ngeow’).
hong the wind (Medhurst);
fēng wind (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] Go joy-riding in a vehicle.
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 86 That insignificant signaller in the rover who gets to chya hong without having to put in any real effort. 136 chya hong. To go for a fun ride.
chia kentang see entry under Kentang.
lát strength, energy (Medhurst);
power, strength, ability; physical strength (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] Also chiah lat,
chiakh lakh, jia lat.
1 Difficult, troublesome. 2 Severe, to a great extent;
transf. very bad, terrible.
1 2004 Chan Seet Fun (quoting Joe Chua) Weekend Today, 7–8 February, 26 I thought, ‘chiah-lat! (terrible!) What if she says no?’ 2004 Wong Kim Hoh (quoting Mark Lee) The Sunday Times, 22 February, 42 [I]t’s very difficult to make someone laugh. You must tell a joke and you must tell it differently. If not, no effect. If that person is sad, lagi jialat (Singlish for more difficult). 2 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 35 Chiakh lakh sit-ups for the guy. 41 Everyone also knew that any tekan carried out there would be damn chiah lakh and tried to avoid angering the NCOs. 136 chiakh lakh. Extremely painful or costly. 2003 Gary Lim (quoting Gilbert Chan) Streats, 4 December, 46 We didn’t expect the traffic to be all re-routed here. Very jia lat (‘tough’ in Hokkien). [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 57 chiak lat [吃力] what an experience!; problematic] 2006 Tay Yek Keak The Straits Times (Life!) (from Straits Times Interactive), 28 August. Chia-lat means ‘very terrible’ in Hokkien – such as ‘This movie is so chia-lat’..
chiah, chiak var. of Chia.
chicken backside n.
A badly-done short haircut or crew cut.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 305 chicken backside. Describes a haircut which seems to have been rendered by a butcher. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 38 Chicken backside. What SAF barbers model the backs of soldiers’ hairstyles after.
a small amount of money] Occasionally (erron.)
Some job or task which is simple or which can be completed quickly and easily.
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 16 BMT [Basic Military Training] was literally ‘chicken feet’ compared to Officer Cadet School (OCS) and one had better ‘enjoy it’ as a prelude to worse.
rice n. [Eng.
transl. of Cant. kaifan or Mand. 鸡饭 jīfàn: jī
chicken + fàn cooked rice] Originally
Hainanese chicken rice.
A dish of Hainanese origin consisting of boiled or roasted chicken served with
rice flavoured with chicken stock (which is traditionally eaten with dark soya
sauce, sweet chilli sauce and pounded ginger), and a bowl of chicken broth.
2001 Neil Humphreys Notes from an Even Smaller Island 62 [I]f I had to highlight just one group of Chinese settlers [in Singapore] for their dish, it would have to be the Hainanese for their chicken rice. For my money, if one dish were to symbolise and represent Singaporean cuisine, it would have to be this one. Its tender chicken is either boiled or roasted, cut into strips and placed across the best-tasting rice in, well, the universe. Cooked in chicken stock that is also served as soup, it is the fluffiest, juiciest rice in the business. 2005 Theresa Tan The Straits Times (Mind Your Body), 14 December, 15 Chicken rice ought to be crowned one of the seven food wonders of Singapore.. As a big fan of chicken rice, I have high expectations of the bird which goes into my stomach. 2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times, 1 January, 5 Now, everyone has an opinion on what makes good chicken rice. To many, it is the chicken meat, which must be smooth and tasty. Others insist it is the fragrant and flavourful rice. Some even suggest that the chilli sauce is what makes or kills the dish. For me, it is a combination of all three. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Iain Ewing) The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 February. I love chicken rice. But I didn’t try it in my first seven years here because I thought, what could be more boring than chicken with rice? Then one day a friend dragged me out to eat it, and I discovered that chicken rice is just an excuse to eat the most fantastic chilli and garlic sauce in the world. Since then I’ve been hooked. 2006 Anthony Bourdain New York Times Magazine (from Travel.nytimes.com), 24 September. Ask any group of strangers here where to get the best chicken rice, and you will surely start an argument. If there is a national dish, it is this. An adaptation of a Chinese version from the island of Hainan, it’s deceptively simple looking, but locals passionately discuss the virtues and deficiencies of a particular rendition. Wong says the best version is at Tian Tian, in the Maxwell Road Food Centre. “It has to be a good chicken,” he explained as we sit down. “These come from Malaysia,” he continued, digging into a platter of plain-looking boiled chicken atop a heap of white rice. “The chicken must never be served hot.” It is boiled whole, on the bone, then (this is very important) dunked into ice water to separate the skin slightly from the meat. The chicken is then hacked into pieces and served on boiled rice. Chicken broth, chili sauce, pounded ginger purée and dark soy sauce are served in separate bowls on the side. You eat the dish with a fork and a spoon. To an aficionado, chicken rice is a dish with infinite possibilities. Drizzle the soy in a thin stream over it, or not. Dip each bite in broth, then brush lightly with chili sauce or soy, or dip in garlic, or all of the above. Or simply add all the condiments at once and mash the whole business together. As we were eating from the same platter, Wong and I dipped in sequence. It is a light and beautiful thing, chicken rice. Part comfort food, part Zen ritual, yet finally just a darned good lunch.
chicken rice balls
n. [Eng.] A dish of
Chicken Rice where the rice is shaped into
2006 Thng Lay Teen The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 26 February. [O]f course, there are the famous chicken rice balls at Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball at 4, 6 & 8 Jalan Hang Jebat [in Malacca, Malaysia]..
[Mal. (according to
“a Philippine word” (see quot. 1955), but not found in
poss. < Sp. chicozapote (Diccionario
or < American Sp.
chicle < Nahuatl (a language of the American Indian peoples of southern
Mexico and Central America) tzictli] A large evergreen tree, the
naseberry or sapodilla (Achras sapota or Manilkara zapota, family
Sapotaceae); its edible fruit which has a sugary flesh which is brown, soft and
slightly gritty, and shiny, black oval seeds.
1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 137 Fruits. – A total list of some 63 “fruits” has been compiled as indigenous to the Malay Peninsula. Some of these, however, are repugnant to Europeans and seldom touched by Malays. The following catalogue will be found to include all which are likely to come under the notice of the ordinary resident or visitor:– .. Chiko.. [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 225 chiku. Buah chiku: the chiku or sapodilla, Achras sapota; Pel. Akal [Pelampas Akal] iii 23. Also sau Měnila, buah sawa, buah sauh. Etym. a Philippine word; Bkl. [Burkill, Malay Village Medicine]] 1972 Planting and Maintenance of Fruit Trees 8 Grafted plants of Starfruit, Chiku, Rambutan, Pomelo and Lemon will be fruiting by then. 2006 Lin Zen Wen The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 15 February. I grew up in Jalan Ampas, off Balestier Road, where the Shaw Brothers Malay film studios were. They shot one Pontianak (ghost) film just behind my house, where there were plenty of chiku and rambutan trees. 2006 Val Chua (quoting Eric Low) Today (from Todayonline.com), 25 March. Chiku man gunning for a win [title].. So the man [politician Eric Low], who made famous his analogy of Hougang as a chiku ripe for the picking, embarked on his own ways to stamp his own identity in the single ward, which has slipped through the ruling party’s grip for three consecutive elections. .. Laughing, the man who lost out to his opponent in the last GE [General Election] by 2,188 votes said: “When residents see me, they say, ‘Chiku is here. Chiku is ripe already’.”
/chi-li pah-di, ˈtʃɪlɪ ˈpɑdɪ/
n. [Mal. ‘small chilli’: Mal. chilli, chili < Eng.
chilli + Mal. padi rice; (in names of fruits, berries, etc.)
small of its kind (Wilkinson)]
1 A small variety of the chilli (Capsicum frutescens) with a
highly acrid and pungent flavour, widely used in Asian cooking either unripe
(green) or ripe (red). 2 fig. A small person, often female,
who is very energetic or who has a fiery temperament.
1 2006 Eveline Gan Today, 31 July, 27 [C]rispy wok-fried succulent prawns with curry leaves, chilli padi and butter.. 2006 Pang Kok Keong The Straits Times (National Day Supplement), 9 August, 17 Fresh mee pok soup with lots of freshly cut chilli padi and vinegar.. 2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 24 September. [Y]ou are served a light soya sauce mixed with fragrant oil, minced garlic as well as bits of chilli padi and spring onion.
chim var. of Cheem.
/chin chı, tʃɪn tʃʌɪ/
a. & adv.
[Hk. 清 chin [...] + 采
chai [...]; Mand.
qīng unmixed, clear; completely, thoroughly + cǎi pick, pluck,
gather; adopt, select (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.) (according to
Gwee: see quot. 2006 below)] Also chin chye.
Easy-going, not fussy, undemanding.
1 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 46 Chin chye attitudes. 136 chin-chye. Anyhow. 2 2001 Arthur Sim The Straits Times (Life!), 27 January, L6 Being very chin chye (Hokkien for easy-going) folks, they did not even think about getting a designer involved because they could do everything themselves. 2005 Clara Tan (quoting Tan Ah Nie) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 6 February, L8 I’m very chin chai (Hokkien for accommodating). [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 58 chin chai [清采] not fussy or fastidious; easy-going]
/chin chow, tʃɪn tʃaʊ/
chin umixed, clear +
chow grass; Mand.
qīngcăo > Kristang
chinchau black jelly made from the juice of the tubers and leaves of a
climbing plant, Cyclea barbata (Baxter
& de Silva)] 1 Dark brown strips of agar-agar made from the herb
Mesona chinensis benth,
served in desserts or in a sugar syrup as a beverage. 2 A sweetened
drink made with chin chow.
1 2000 Lea Wee The Straits Times (Life!), 10 April, 4 Ingredients such as sweet corn, chin chow, and coloured jelly. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 58 chinchao (cincau) [清草] grass jelly; grass jelly drink] 2 2003 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times, 5 October, L38 Long regarded as a ‘cooling’ drink by Teochews, Hokkiens and Hakkas in southern China, chin chow is also known for its medicinal properties. Made from the herb mesona chinensis benth, it is said to relieve heat strokes, colds, hypertension, muscle and joint pains and diabetes.
chinchalok var. of Cincaluk.
n. [Eng. Chin(ese + In)dian] A person
of mixed Chinese and Indian parentage.
2006 Leong Phei Phei (quoting Angelene Dorai), The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 8 January, L23 You can call us the ‘Chin-dian’ family. My father is Indian and my mother is Chinese. My husband, Vince, is Chinese and I am half-Indian, half-Chinese, which makes my daughter a ‘Chin-dian’ because she is technically 3/4 Chinese and 1/4 Indian! [2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 1 October. Chindian food, anyone? You might think that only the most adventurous of fusion chefs would try to meld Indian and Chinese cuisines, given that the rich, robust spices of the former would totally eclipse the subtleties of the latter. The fact is, Indian Chinese food has been a bona fide – and very popular – cuisine in India for decades.]
helicopter, poss. <
mispron. of Eng.
see quot. 1985] Also ellipt. helicopter.
derog. A person (esp.
a soldier) who, as a result of being raised in a Chinese-speaking family or
being educated in a Chinese-language medium, cannot speak English well and is
perceived to be overly Chinese or oriental. See also
1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 42 Helicopter. The Chinese educated soldier. The story goes that a recruit, when asked what school he came from, answered “Chinese helucated”, which went down in the army annals as Chinese helicopter. Nowadays, extremely inarticulate soldiers are called Blue Thunder (named after the film and TV series about a super advanced US chopper). 1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 Chinese helicopter – a Chinese-educated type who sports a two-by-four haircut. 2004 Wong Kim Hoh The Sunday Times, 22 February, 42 [T]he self-professed Ah Beng and Chinese helicopter (local slang for a Chinese-educated person who speaks poor English).. 2009 Kor Kian Beng The Straits Times, 27 March, A28 .. Ms Lim, who went to Hai Sing Girls’ High, shares freely about how she used to dread being described as a “Chinese helicopter” during her schooling days. The phrase is apparently derived from a mispronunciation of the phrase “Chinese-educated”. It has since become local slang for a Chinese-educated person who speaks poor English.
Ching Ming Festival, Ching Ming var. of Qing Ming Festival.
(colloq.) to ornament, to adorn +
an art, an employment (Medhurst)
Gwee: see quot. 2006 below); Mand.
zhuāng apply makeup, make up +
yì skill; art (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] An annual parade held during the Chinese New Year season,
orig. to celebrate the arrival of spring.
c.1904 [postcard] Singapore. Chinese Chingay Procession. 2000 Edmund Tee The Sunday Times, 13 February, 26 Chingay Parade dancers and floats made their way through the civic district. .. [T]he parade’s 28th anniversary was celebrated by an international cast of 3,000 artistes in 21 acts taking to the streets with every prop, musical instrument and costume imaginable. 2004 Andrew Boey “Chingay dates back to early 1900s” Streats, 1 November, 18 I read a recent newspaper report which said that the People’s Association plans to turn the one-night Chingay festival into a 16-day celebration.. next year. It said the event was founded in 1973. Singapore archival records have the Chinese Chingay Procession as actually having started in the early 1900s. As a private collector of postcards, I have in my personal collection a card entitled ‘Singapore. Chinese Chingay Procession’, which was franked with a one-cent, deep-green King Edward VII stamp dated Sept 14, 1904. 2004 Nah Juay Hng Streats, 18 November, 24 Chingay in the early 1900s was likely to be a community-driven event organised and funded by the local wealthy Chinese. The PA [People’s Association] organised its first Chingay Parade in 1973, to make up for the absence of the traditional sounds and festive spirit of firecrackers, after a fatal cracker explosion in the Chinese New Year period killed two people. .. It was so well received that it became an annual event. .. Back then, Chingay was totally Chinese. While there is no official historical record of how the word ‘Chingay’ originated, it was likely to be from its phonetic Chinese equivalent, meaning ‘a decorated float’. It refers to a Chinese-style miniature stage or float borne on the shoulders of performers. During New Year processions in old China, such floats were carried through the streets on men’s shoulders while dancers, jugglers and magicians entertained the crowds. Huge animals, both real and mythical, took part in the processions, which were essentially religious in nature and aimed at honouring deities at the beginning of each new year. .. The Chingay has evolved and assimilated our multi-racial cultures, starting with Indian and Malay cultural dances in 1977. .. Today, Chingay is a cosmopolitan parade and festival with participation of Singaporeans and international performing groups.. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 58 chingay [粧藝] a New Year carnival celebration] 2007 Stephanie Yap The Straits Times (Life!) (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 January. The word Chingay is derived from the Mandarin word, zhuang yi, or ‘dressed up for a masquerade’. The inaugural parade was held on Feb 4, 1973, and included dragon and lion dances, martial arts exhibitions and Chinese opera. Since 1976, however, it has been a multi-cultural affair. The 1987 parade featured the first foreign group – Japanese pop singers serenading the crowd from a float sponsored by The Straits Times.
chingei var. of Chengai.
[Hk., pretty, smart, handsome; Mand.
attractive, good-looking, pretty.
2002 Tee Hun Ching The Straits Times (Life!), 6 April, L3 Contrary to the common belief that cheerleaders are simply chio-leaders (chio is Hokkien for good-looking), these crowd-warmers come in ‘all shapes and sizes’. 2005 Renee Tan The Sunday Times, 27 February, 38 “In my time, it was very crude when someone used the term ‘chio’. But now, it’s so commonly used and accepted,” she said. “Chio” is used to describe girls who are pretty.
Chitty Melaka /chi-tee
(che-) mə-lah-kah (-la-kə),
ˈtʃɪtiː (ˈtʃɛ-) məˈlɑkɑ (-ˈlakə)/ n. [Chitty,
Chetty an individual of any of the South-Indian trading castes so
< Malayalam cheṭṭi;
(OED) + Melaka Malacca (see definition)]
A member of the community of South Indian Tamil merchants who settled in
Malacca, on the southwestern coast of the Malay Peninsula, during the 15th
century, or a descendant living in another part of the world; a
2007 Huang Lijie (quoting Pathmavali Rengayah) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 9 September, L26 “I was telling the President that my great-grandparents were from Malacca and he mentioned that I might be a Peranakan Indian, otherwise known as a Chitty Melaka,” .. Chitty Melaka refers to the community of South Indian Tamil merchants who.. settled in Malacca during the 15th century. .. [T]here are around 100 Chitty Melaka families in Singapore today. Madam Rengayah said: “At that moment, it dawned on me why my family always seemed different from other South Indian families here despite being staunch Hindus. We spoke Malay, not Tamil, and we ate things like chap chye, and the women in my family wore sarong kebayas, not saris.[”]
[Johor Mal. chochok, chuchok pricking, stabbing, driving a point
into anything (Wilkinson);
Johor & Penang Mal. menchuchok, menyuchok pierce (beads, ears,
nose); thread (needle); prick (of thorns, for injections, a boil); stab (of
colic pains); make holes (for planting) (Winstedt);
or Singapore Mal. chochok, mengochok to incite = onyok,
mengonyok to incite, to egg on (Wilkinson);
Johor & Penang Mal. chochok, chuchok incite, urge (by a dig in the
ribs); penyuchok mischief-maker; compare ochok,
mengochok incite to a quarrel by tale-bearing (Winstedt)]
Annoy, disturb, provoke.
2 Instigate, make trouble.
1 2009 David Ngiau (quoting ‘Sazali’) Weekend Today, 23–24 May, 46 [S]ince I came out to declare I’m a Newcastle fan, I kena cocok (been teased) a lot, man. 2 1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 305 chochok. To instigate: Malay. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 38 Chochok (Malay). To instigate; to make trouble.
n. & v.
[Mal. chap imprinting with ink or colour, business seal, hallmark, trade
mark < Hind. छाप
chāp stamp, impression,
imprint, mark, sectarian mark; an instrument for stamping, seal, signet; Hind.
stamp, impression, imprint, copy, sectarian or decorative mark or design;
instrument for stamping, wooden stamp, seal; printing press (McGregor)]
A stamp used for marking items.
Affix a stamp on to something.
A Chinese business or firm.
A 1, 2 2005 Ahmad Nizam Abbas The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 10 June. If one were to ask a bank teller in another country for a ‘chop’, she would probably be aghast and call for security. However, it has become so common in Singapore to find the words ‘please chop here’ in various application forms. Well, if it is any comfort, the Reader’s Digest Universal Dictionary does have an entry under ‘chop’, which says it means ‘official stamp or permit.. in the Far East’. B 2000 Peter K.G. Dunlop Street Names of Singapore 52 A stationer who put up his name board ‘Ying Heng’ above his shop door, traditionally in gold characters on a black ground, would be trading under the chop of Ying Heng and would have a seal or later a rubber stamp bearing Ying Heng for business documents.
chop-chop kali pok
adv. & int. [Pidgin-Eng. chop-chop < Mand.
快快 kuài kuài hurry up, make haste; or Kedah Mal. chap-chap,
Johor Mal. achap-achap, Trengganu Mal. achak-achak, Minangkabau
achak-achak, achok-achok hurriedly, quickly, speedily (Wilkinson,
Kali Pok, rhyming slang] A
adv. Quick, quickly. B int. Hurry up!
A [1834 The Canton Register 13 May, 76/2 We have also .. ‘chop-chop hurry’. 1836 The Chinese Repository 434 ‘More soon, more better; sendee chop-chop,’ I told him. 1909 Daily Chronicle, 20 July, 4/7 In pidgin English ‘chop-chop’ means ‘make haste’. 1946 John Irving Royal Navalese 52 Chop-Chop! In a hurry; Hurry up!] 2005 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 17 July. Very simple set-ups, video, behind closed doors in a private house, no one’s the wiser. Chop chop kali pok, and then it’s exported.
chope /chohp, tʃəʊp/ v. [Poss. < chop A: see quot. 2004]
[2004 The Straits Times (Very! Singapore), 9 August, 6 The concept is well established, yet ‘chope’ does not have a recorded genealogy, says dons like Dr Lionel Wee from the National University of Singapore’s Department of English Language and Literature. The only-in-Singapore term doesn’t have a root word, but Dr Wee believes that it is a bastardisation of the word ‘chop’, or a seal placed on documents or products to indicate some sort of ownership. The present-day chope is generally understood as ‘to reserve’ or ‘to hold something for someone’.]
Reserve a seat, a book,
1987 Toh Paik Choo On the Buses 46 The height of pleasure is to chope a seat on the top deck. 1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 chope – to save something (a seat, a book) beforehand. 2000 Monica Gwee The Straits Times (Life!), 5 May, 12 A tour seems to trigger some part of the Singaporean brain that transforms the urge to ‘chope’ or reserve anything from a seat to a free plastic key ring into an absolute compulsion. This ‘chope’ mentality applies especially at mealtimes. 2003 Khushwant Singh Streats, 1 December, 5 [subtitle] Stallholders keep tables at Newton and Ghim Moh messy to ‘chope’ for clients. 2006 Peh Shing Huei The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 March. Everyone knows the WP [Workers’ Party] has done the most work and has the best candidates. It has every right to chope the most seats. 2008 David Kwok The Straits Times (Life!), 22 November, E6 It is not only rude but also disrespectful to use tissue paper to “chope” seats in hawker centres. Hawker centres are public places and there should be no reservation of seats, not with tissue packs, books, umbrellas or motorcycle helmets. 2008 Olaf van Duijnhoven The Straits Times (Life!), 22 November, E6 When I came here three years ago, I was annoyed with this practice of “choping” seats. But I have come to accept that it is part of Singapore culture.
[Mal. chup a cry to recall a stroke in a game not intended to count or to
call a halt when a game has gone on long enough
Mal. < Ind. chup stop! (Winstedt,
not found in
Echols & Shadily, Ind.–Eng.
1 Used to interrupt a conversation. 2 Used, esp. by a
child playing a game, to indicate that he or she is in a ‘safe’ position.
1 [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 196 chup. False stroke (in a game); «let»; «pax»; halt. A cry to recall a stroke not intended to count or to call a halt when a game has gone on long enough.] 2004 The Straits Times (Very! Singapore), 9 August, 6 [Y]ou could also be reserving a place in conversation — for instance, to interrupt, you could conceivably say ‘chope’ as a sort of punctuation: A full-stop, if you will, to the other branch of conversation. For instance: Your mate rambles on with ‘This is such a lovely deli, there are so many scrumptious choices...’ You: ‘Chope. Hungry. What do you want to eat?’ 2 2004 The Straits Times (Very! Singapore), 9 August, 6 Kids also use it in games to indicate that they are in a ‘safe’ position and cannot be tagged. Note: It is customary to flash victory signs while uttering chope in this context. Adults use it too, to indicate another kind of safety – from work. ‘Someone needs to go unclog the loo.’ ‘Chope. Not me.’ ‘Chope. Not me either.’ The last person who utters the word – thereby not guaranteeing his safety – would be the unfortunate soul sent in to do the dire task. 2004 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 17 October, L14 One is, of course, tempted to crook one’s arm at the elbow and make a flapping action while saying ‘or-bi-good’ in satisfaction that even the Tatler set cannot say ‘chope’ to justice.
[Hk. (?)] An exclamation spoken to ward off evil or bad luck; touch wood!
1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 choy! – exclamation to ward off a jinx. Often heard at mahjong table.
[Hk. 喘 chuan (Gwee:
see quot. 2006 below); Mand.
chuǎn breathe heavily, gasp for breach, pant (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] Breathless, exhausted, tired out.
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 60 chuan [喘] tiring effort]
chum /chuum, tʃʌm/ a. [Hk. (?)] Finshed, done for, dead.
[< Eng. Ch(inese
A Chinese-educated, usu. Mandarin-speaking, yuppie (young urban (or
upwardly-mobile) professional (person)).
2001 Michelle Ho The Sunday Times (Sunday Plus), 14 January, P6 Chuppies (Mandarin-speaking yuppies), professionals and girls from China. 2006 Ken Kwek The Straits Times (Saturday), 20 August, S3 In its coverage of the economy and developments in the job market, Insight popularised neologisms that, for a while, seemed to permeate the lexicon of labour analysis. “Chuppies” – or Chinese-educated upwardly mobile professionals – for example, emerged in the early 1990s..
/chuuee kueh, tʃʊɪ
kʊeɪ/ n. [Hk.
水 chwee water; Mand. shuǐ +
A round, flat, white Chinese cake made of rice flour and cooked by steaming,
2003 Elisabeth Gwee The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 19 October, L14 Chwee kueh. 2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 18 June. Before the revamp, the 50-year-old Tiong Bahru market was as famous for its chwee kueh and pau as it was for its grimy, one-storey ramshackle premises. .. Except for one lor mee stall, all of the stalls have returned to the permanent site. They include the famous chwee kueh, pig organ soup, pau, Teochew kueh, lor mee and ming jiang kueh stalls. 2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 25 June. They look dead-easy to make. So why are there so few good stalls selling chwee kueh? The traditional Teochew breakfast staple is nothing more than steamed rice cakes topped with chai poh (preserved radish). But stallowners will tell you that a lot of hard work goes into making it. Rice flour has to be mixed with the right amount of water, then poured into small cups and steamed over a carefully controlled fire. The resulting texture should be smooth, springy and not too mushy. The radish topping is seasoned with sugar and other condiments, then fried in lard, although most stalls these days have switched to vegetable oil. For all the backbreaking work, the money is not great. Most stalls sell four cakes for only $1. K.F. Seetoh, street food guru and chief executive of consultancy Makansutra, says that chwee kueh is one of the most ingenious peasant foods cooked up by the Teochews in China. ‘It’s the ultimate poor man’s food. The peasants had only rice and vegetables, but they’ve managed to turn it into cakes with a preserved, re-fried topping. It was born out of desperation,’ he says. The most famous stall here is the 48-year-old Jian Bo Shui Kueh in Tiong Bahru Food Centre, whose trademark is the super fragrant topping with sesame seeds. This recipe has been copied by many stalls, although others have stuck to the plain chai poh version.
/chı pəng, tʃʌɪ pəŋ/
菜 ch’haè vegetables +
饭 png (Medhurst);
Mand. cài vegetable, greens + fàn cooked rice (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] A Chinese dish consisting of rice cooked with cabbage,
minced pork, dried shrimp, etc.
2005 Peh Shing Huei The Straits Times, 9 December, H13 Chinese New Year was spent at the Hos’, with Mr [C.V. Devan] Nair eager to tuck into Mrs Ho’s ngoh hiang and chye png, and Deepavali at the Nairs’. 2008 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 16 November, 12 Come on, how can a Singaporean not support a guy who understands the pleasure of chai png? 2009 Thng Lay Teen The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 3 May, 25 Sometimes when I feel like eating char siew chicken ($2 with rice) at a chap chye png (mixed economy rice) stall in Whampoa, I get there early before it is sold out.
/chı bor, tʃʌɪ p̚ɒ/
菜 ch’haè vegetables + poh (Medhurst);
Mand. cài vegetable, greens (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] Also chai poh. Chopped radish which has been
salted and preserved, that is eaten with certain Chinese dishes such as
Chwee Kueh and
Chye Tow Kway.
2000 Cheong Suk-Wai The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 22 June, 10 Hawkers then toss the chye tow kuay about in a wok with egg, bits of chye por (salted white radish) and chilli.. 2006 Christopher Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 6 August, L26 Season them with garlic, chai poh (salted radish) and soy sauce, or spice them up with a dash of chilli paste, samble or bottled tom yam paste. 2007 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Sim Ee Waun) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 2 September, L28 [A] full spread of authentic Teochew porridge including salted eggs, steamed pork with salted fish, chai poh (preserved radish) omelette, pork with pickled olive and slabs of fu yu (fermented beancurd). 2008 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 12 October, 32 What fell flat, too, was the pan-fried turnip cake ($10) or chai poh omelette, which was surprisingly bland. 2011 Annette Tan Today, 23 June, T14 There is an unspoken roll call of things that most of us like with our mui – or Teochew-style rice porridge. Among them are invariably stronger tasting salty treats that pair well with the plain and watery gruel. Chai poh (salted radish) omelette? Check.
/chı sim, tʃʌɪ sɪm/
菜 ch’haè vegetables +
心 sim the heart; the mind (Medhurst);
Mand. cài vegetable, greens + xīn heart; centre, core (Chi.–Eng.
chai sim. Brassica chinensis var.
parachinensis, a variety of
Pak Choi used as a vegetable which
has thick, edible flowering shoots bearing yellow flowers and leaves with green
veins and narrow, long, green leaf-stalks; Chinese flowering cabbage.
¶ Known in Cant. as ts‘oi sam: ts‘oi edible plants, vegetables + sam heart; origin or essence; centre (Eitel) (see quot. 1991).
1991 Kok Poh Tin et. al. A Guide to Common Vegetables 38–39 Brassica chinensis var. parachinensis (Bailey) Tsen & Lee (Cruciferae) Chinese flowering cabbage.. chai-sim.. A variety of pak-choi that is grown for the sake of its thick-stemmed flowering shoots which are cut for the markets as the yellow flowers begin to open. An annual having basal leaves with ovate-rounded blades and long, clean petioles of a fresh green colour. .. This vegetable must not be overcooked to retain its crispiness. 2006 Cheong Suk-Wai The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 1 October. When he started out on 3ha in 1998, he planted only four types of vegetables – chye sim, kai lan, xiao bai chai and Chinese cabbage.
kway /chı tow kuay,
tʃʌɪ taʊ kʊeɪ/
n. [Hk. 菜 ch’haè vegetables +
t’haôu the head +
粿 köéy pastry, confectionery (Medhurst);
Mand. càitóu radish (cài vegetable, greens +
tóu head) + guǒ (literary language) powder made from rice or
2000 Cheong Suk-Wai The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 22 June, 10 Singapore carrot cake is carrot in name only, made as it is of white radish and rice flour, steamed to form springy, jelly-like slabs. Hawkers then toss the chye tow kuay about in a wok with egg, bits of chye por (salted white radish) and chilli.. Decide whether you want it black or white – that is, with copious dribblings of thick dark soya sauce or just a dash of it. 2005 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Ryan Chioh) The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 2 October. Which childhood food do you miss most? .. Chye tau kway (radish cake). I used to live in Woodlands, when it was still a kampung. On Sundays, we would take eggs to these makeshift stalls near Yew Tee and give them to the uncle. That way, you saved money. The chye tau kway was served on leaves, and the taste was so fragrant. You can’t find it any more. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 52 chai thau kueh [菜 头 粿] Nyonya white carrot cake] 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Eleanor Wong) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 11 June. What food reminds you of childhood? / Chai tow kway (radish cake). I went to Methodist Girls’ School, and it had this chai tow kway that’s so firm that you can wave it about and it won’t break. I know people say it's good only if it’s soft. But you’re a product of your history, so to me, chai tow kway is only chai tow kway if it’s tough and springy.
cina var. of Cheena.
n. [Poss. f. Baba Mal. chinchang < Mal. chenchang chop, cut finely,
+ lok (?); > Kristang
chinchaloh fermented shrimp prepared from fresh shrimp, which is mixed
with cooked rice and then left to ferment (Baxter
& de Silva)] Also
chenchalok, chinchalok. A Malay condiment consisting of
fermented prawn paste that is often pink in colour.
1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 75 Chinchielo. – A sambal made of shrimps. [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 207 chěnchalok. A relish made from small prawns or shrimps, Mysis spp. It differs from bělachan in that the prawns are not first boiled down into a paste. Also pěnchalok, měnchalok, chalok. 1963 Richard Winstedt An Unabridged Malay–English Dictionary 68 chěnchalok, a prawn pickle.] [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 58 chinchalok (cencaluk) fermented young shrimps eaten as a dip] 2005 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 30 January, L34 The accompanying cincaluk (fermented shrimp) is too salty, though. 2009 Huang Lijie The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 8 November, 26 [H]er late paternal grandmother’s chinchalok (fermented prawn dipping sauce) recipe came about because she was trying to make ends meet after the war. .. [S]he sewed mosquito nets together and used it to catch baby shrimps, which she then cured to make chinchalok and exchanged with fruit plantation owners for fruit to sell. 2010 Chris Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 21 February, 24 The natural blush of cincalok, tiny planktonic shrimp (geragau) fermented with salt and rice, depends wholly on the original amount of pigment in the shrimp, which will vary between batches and seasons. Cincalok can thus be anything from red-pink to beige-pink to brown-pink. I have been told by a Peranakan cook (who makes his own cincalok) that shrimp netted around Singapore waters used to be famous for their hue, redder than shrimp from neighbouring waters.
n. & a. [Eng. clay + pot] A n. An
earthenware pot used in Chinese cooking that is wider at the rim than at the
base. A claypot is traditionally unglazed on the outside (and therefore has a
sandy texture) and has a stubby, cylindrical handle and a lid with a flange on
top. Modern claypots may be glazed and have two small projections on opposite
sides of the rim as handles. B a. Of a dish: cooked in a
¶ Known in Mand. 沙锅 or 砂锅 shāguō: shā sand, grit + guō pot, pan, boiler, cauldron, etc.
A 2006 Wong Kim Hoh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 17 December, L16 [A] bowl of lotus root and spare ribs soup boiled for hours in a claypot over a charcoal stove. 2008 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 25 January, 25 The soups are brewed in individual claypots placed inside a huge porcelain urn with a small charcoal fire at the bottom. B 2008 Huang Lijie The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 23 November, 24 [D]ishes such as.. claypot fish head.
claypot rice n. [Eng. transl. of Mand. 沙锅饭
砂锅饭 shāguōfàn (fàn cooked rice) or
cognates in other Chi. dialects] A Chinese dish consisting of rice, meat
such as chicken and
Lupcheong, and vegetables
Kai Lan) cooked in a claypot with
dark soya sauce and other seasonings, often until the rice lining the pot is
2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting K.F. (Kok Fye) Seetoh) The Straits Times (Life!) (from Straits Times Interactive), 6 March. I took her to eat claypot rice in Chinatown. This one really scored points. 2008 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 25 January, 25 The rice.. is cooked in claypots placed inside electric heaters.. It cooks fast and even forms a crust at the bottom of the pot the way traditional claypot rice does, but lacks the aroma of rice cooked over charcoal. .. [Y]ou will find the claypot chicken rice, claypot minced meat with salted fish rice and claypot bean paste sauce spare rib rice.. quite palatable.
Take advantage of.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 305 climb on top. This means take advantage. May be given as part of a warning by a superior who has been kind to his men, as in ‘Don’t try to climb on top of me’.
A soldier in a section, unit,
whose performance is the worst.
A soldier who fools around or behaves in a strange manner. Compare
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 clown. (1) Exactly what it means. Normally used by section commanders in scolding the worst performer in the section. (2) A soldier who behaves or does things in a funny way. Variants commonly used in the SAF are ‘bozo’, ‘joker’, ‘jinx’, and ‘siau peng’.
CMI abbrev. of Cannot Make It.
ˈsiː əʊ əʊ ˌkeɪ/
[< Eng. cook,
pronounced as if an abbreviation for
C(ommanding O(fficer okay?]
An army chef or cook.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 CO OK? Not an enquiry about the state of the CO’s being, which no self-respecting soldier is supposed to do. Just a nickname for cooks.
a. & int.
[< Eng. cock penis; sense A poss. f.
Annoying, irritating; perverse, stubborn; ridiculous, stupid. B
int. Used as a general
term of abuse.
A 2007 Ken Kwek (quoting Lim Kay Siu) The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 13 July. After seeing History [The History of Singapore, a musical], actor Lim Kay Siu, noting the audacity and ludicrousness of the act, told me: ‘It was so... so cock. Yes, so cock that – would you believe it – there were moments when I was actually moved by it.’
cock stand n. & v. phr. [Eng. stand v.] A n. An erection of the penis. B v. Have an erection of the penis, be sexually excited or stimulated. Compare Steam.
talk cock see Talk Cock.
n., v. & a. [poss. < Eng. cock n. in firearms, a part of the
mechanism for discharging the piece, consisting of a lever capable of being
raised and then brought down by the trigger, so called from its original shape;
cock v. put (a loaded firearm) in readiness for firing by raising the cock
or hammer; to draw (the cock) back: see quots. 1978, 1985] Also cockup
n., cock up.
A n. A situation in which something has gone wrong, esp.
due to someone’s fault: blunder, mistake; confused situation. B
v. Bungle or mess up (a situation, task, etc.); spoil, ruin.
C a. Also cocked-up.
1 Of an activity, a plan,
a bungled, messed up,
screwed up. b
ineffective, not working properly.
Of a person: hopeless, incompetent, ineffectual, useless. Compare
A 1948 Eric Partridge A Dictionary of Forces’ Slang, 1939–45 44 He made a complete cock-up of his orders. 1964 Joyce Porter Dover One 11 George turned the local boys on it and you’ve never seen such a cock-up in your life! 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 39 Cock-up.. Refers to the jamming of the rifle mechanism but also used to describe a malfunction or problem encountered in everyday situations. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 63 An apology for ‘lunch cock-up’ and resorting to buying chicken rice from Changi Village. B 1948 Eric Partridge A Dictionary of Forces’ Slang, 1939–45 44 Cock up, to make a mess of anything. 1967 William Pine The Protectors 173 I’ve cocked up a little job... An almighty cock-up. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 39 A hopelessly inept soldier can.. cock-up his platoon’s exercise. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 25 You’d better not f—g cock up this important ceremony! 65 Don’t cock-up and sabo me. C 1 1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 cocked-up. The sexual innuendo of this slang is probably unintended. One of the mandatory things a soldier has to do when firing a rifle is to cock it. Occasionally, the rifle gets jammed leading to the vocal complaint: ‘my rifle is cocked-up’. Any event which fails because of bad organisation or system can be said to be cocked-up. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 122 An unusually sympathetic ear for their gripes about the ‘cock-up planning’ by their ‘crab’ in field logistics. 2 1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 A cocked-up person is .. one who does not function properly.
cocok var. of Chochok.
[Eng., f. the fact that the
coconut has a brown husk and white flesh inside] A person of the Malay
race who lives a Western lifestyle and who often does not or is unable to speak
Malay; a Westernized Malay person. Compare
2004 Gregory Low (quoting Art Fazil), Streats, 27 May, 28 We have always grown up listening to Western music and have the banana/coconut ‘Am I a white?’ complex.
n. [Eng. transl. of Kopitiam]
2003 Anthea Rowan The Daily Telegraph (from Telegraph.co.uk), 14 October. [M]y husband and I ventured to a ‘coffee shop’ and tucked into some tasty local fare. A ‘coffee shop’ in Singapore is quite a unique concept. Sure, you can get a cup of strong local brew there but these outlets are more famed for local food – usually an assortment of noodle and rice dishes. Fabulous I thought, great food at knockdown prices, cold beer, and eating outdoors at 11pm at night without goose bumps, surely coming here was the right decision.
mil. slang A soldier who is extremely fit.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 commando. A soldier who is extremely fit, a testimony to the standards of our red berets.
[Eng. condemn v.
to pronounce unfit for use, to reject]
Broken down, unfit for use, useless.
Having little or no prospects of promotion. Compare
1 1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 condemned. This is used extensively to describe an object or a person. A condemned object is one which has been rendered useless by overuse or abuse. .. A condemned soldier could also be one who is useless. 2002 Michelle Ho & Ruby Pan (quoting Thomas Lim) The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 12 April, L26 We can.. share our feelings about life [and] our condemned romances. 2 1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 condemned. .. A condemned soldier is one who is stuck at a certain rank with little or no hope of advancement. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 39 Condemned. Those with no future in the army.
confine v. [Eng., shut up, imprison, immure, put or keep in detention] mil. Punish an offender by restricting his movements after working hours and disallowing him from leaving camp or returning home.
n. [Eng.; in sense 2 < confinement childbirth, delivery,
An instance of being
Period after a woman has given birth during which she traditionally does not
venture out of the home. Also attrib.
2 2005 Tracy Sua & Benjamin Ho (quoting Wang Shu Zhen) The Straits Times, 11 March, H1 [A]fter Madam Wee gave birth to the couple’s second child, Mr Lee took on the role of a “confinement nanny” for about a month. “He bathed his baby daughter and cooked for his wife. It was simply amazing.” 2006 June Cheong The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 29 October. Now that your mother has put you on a strict confinement diet of meat, liver and vegetables, what do you miss eating or drinking?
cheow /koo koo chiow,
kuː kuː tʃɪaʊ/
[Hk. coo coo
(?) + cheow
[2001 Neil Humphreys Notes from an Even Smaller Island 77 ‘Okay, my children have been calling me Mr Cuckoo Bird and it makes them laugh hysterically. I have no idea what it means but it’s got to the stage where I’ve caught their parents sniggering too. Quite frankly, it’s beginning to irritate me. So if you know what it means, please put me out of my misery. ..’ ‘It’s a penis.. Cuckoo bird sounds like the word for “penis” in one of the dialects.’]
[In sense 1, an Eng. transl. of Mand.
1 Of a person’s
constitution, or types of food or traditional Chinese medicine: of a cool or
yin nature, promoting
cooling in the body; not
Causing one to feel cool or refreshed.
1 2003 Teo Cheng Wee The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 January, L13 [F]oods can be heaty (yang) or cooling (yin). Deep-fried food is heaty while quickly-boiled food is usually cooling. Eating too much of one kind will create an imbalance of yin and yang in the person, and cause him to fall sick. .. [E]xcessive cooling food, such as barley, is bad for people with a cooling body constitution. .. It’s less easy to explain the ‘cooling’ state of certain foods, doctors say, but refrigerating them makes them more ‘cooling’. These include.. pomelo, dried persimmon cake and drinks like chrysanthemum tea, barley or water chestnut, as well as winter melon candy and Mandarin oranges. 2005 Gerard Yeo The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 December, L10 In TCM [traditional Chinese medicine] terminology, .. if someone tends to have a more “cooling” body disposition, it means that the person is more prone to catching colds. He will usually show signs of having cooler hands and feet. .. [A] “cool” person tends to be averse to cold. 2008 Don Mendoza Weekend Today, 15–16 November, 36 It’s signature fu rong (fluffy egg white).. was also prepared with yu zhu and sa shen – which are “ying” or cooling herbs. 2 1990 Mickey Chiang (quoting Sim Chin Khoon) Fighting Fit: The Singapore Armed Forces 115 There is a short run to the barber who probably holds a Guinness Record for doing crew cuts. ‘It is very fast. All of a sudden it was so cooling!’
A soldier whose belt is loose and hanging too low.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 cowboy. A term often uttered by officers and NCOs at a muster parade to a soldier whose belt is loose.
[Eng., < its appearance]
mil. slang A
representation of the national crest of Singapore embroidered on to epaulettes
worn by majors, lieutenant-colonels and colonels in the armed services;
officers of the rank of major, lieutenant-colonel or colonel.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 crab. A major’s crown. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 39 Crab.. the crown worn by majors on their epaulettes. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 63 I was awed by the unusual concentration of captains and ‘crabs’ in one place. 122 The ‘cock-up planning’ by their ‘crab’ in field logistics. 136 crabs. Nickname for rank insignias from Major to Colonel derived from certain striking parallels with the physical shape of a common species of crustacean.
2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Straits Times (Life!) (from Straits Times Interactive), 29 May. .. Singapore’s own Eurasian Curry Devil. 2011 Marc Lim The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 28 August, 16 Take curry devil, for example. You wouldn’t know it from the name, but the dish is a mainstay at Eurasian homes during, of all times, Christmas. Heavily influenced by the Portuguese (who occupied Malacca in the 1500s), the dish – with candlenuts, galangal and vinegar – is the perfect marriage of East and West.
currypok var. of Kali Pok.