Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Legal Janitor

Shianux or Han of The Legal Janitor is one of the sharpest bloggers in Singapore today. His areas of writing cover politics and economic theory, as well as the general frisking of very stupid beliefs of the Establishment and their spokesmen.

This is a very rare case of the undergraduate law student slipping up, though.

"Anyone of my generation would recall the copious amounts of indoctrination being applied upon us in school" is very frightening, very woolly, and very unwieldy. We humbly suggest "Anyone from my generation would recall being forcefed copious amounts of indoctrination in school".

Full disclosure: Shianux is on my blogroll at Illusio, and I read his blog on a daily basis.

Friday, July 28, 2006

ST Forum letter

As the Straits Times operates behind a subscription firewall for articles more than 3 days old, we have to do a cut-and-paste, line-by-line frisking.

26 July 2006, Straits Times Interactive forum

Is Singapore's level of English internationally recognised?, by Stephanie Yeo Sing Ling (Ms)

An error, even in the title! "Recognised internationally" more appropriate. Visa is accepted worldwide, Web2.0 is a buzzword everywhere, we are contactable anytime at

You can have a high level of English or a high standard of English. However, only your standard of English can be recognised internationally...

I AM a Singaporean currently pursuing higher education in Australia. If there was one word that I could describe the experience thus far, that would be 'humbled'.

"If there is one word I can use to describe the experience thus far". If you still hold the opinion of the experience even now, then you should use "is" instead of "was".

Having grown up in Singapore and nurtured by the excellent Singapore education system up to the level of a diploma, I have always felt comfortable with my ability to communicate in English. If fact, it is my main medium of communication when I am with my friends and family. Not to mention that I am really proud of our bilingual policy and to be part of a vibrant multi-racial community.

"In fact, it is..."
"... and family, not to mention that..."
Your main mediums of communication are speech, writing, or body movements. But if you're Stephanie Yeo Sing Ling (Ms), your main medium of communication is the English language. Suggestion: medium -> language

English is our first language, and according to a poll on the Channelnewsasia online forum section, we are quite confident of our English language skills.

Unhelpful. Either:
"according to a poll conducted by Channelnewsasia"
"according to a poll conducted by XYZ and cited at Channelnewsasia's online forums"
According to the poll, those who responded were confident of their skills. The poll doesn't say if their skills merit such confidence, though.

I have only been here in Sydney for a short period of five months. Understanding what the people say and getting my message across in English was all right.

"I have been here in Sydney for just five months, but..."

When I attended a seminar about the issues of Australian permanent residence application for students, I was quite surprised to know that despite English being our first language, we still require to be assessed by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

"When I attended a seminar on Australian permanent residence applications for students"
"we are still required"

Currently, there is no such requirement for Singaporeans applying for student visas. The applicant need not take the IELTS if his first language is English and his passport is from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, United States or the Republic of Ireland.

Personally, I am most willing to be assessed to have an idea of my level of competency in the language internationally because my highest level of English assessment is the Cambridge O levels.

Competence in English is competence in English. Whether you speak or write it in Singapore or in Australia, your competence is still the same everywhere. Perhaps you mean to say you wish to have your competence in English tested by a more credibile body?

Your highest assessed level of English competence is the GCSE O Levels, administered by OCR, the Oxford Cambridge and RSA examinations board.

However, it set me into thinking if it means that we are still not on parity with at least the Australian standard; or recognised internationally?

"we are still not on par".

The English language is of economic importance and I would want my children in future to learn it well.

"I would want my child to learn it well in the future"

Stephanie Yeo Sing Ling (Ms), you fail the test of English competence, as administered by the Poblemengrish Board of Examiners. Similarly, the editor and sub-editors of the ST forum page fail to meet the basic requirements of their job.

D- to all parties!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Nothing wrong with the English...

...just a little strange.

Location: Kopitiam, Plaza by the Park

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Same Writer, Same Page

Location: Karen Tee, in Digital Life, 25 July 2006. On the same page as her error in "Broadcast Blues". TWO ERRORS BY THE SAME WRITER ON THE SAME PAGE?

'Bloggers desire to express themselves than to give their opinions on politics'.

Are we missing a 'more' or a 'rather' there somewhere?

Karen Tee, O Karen Tee - TWO such mistakes on the same page? I think we should tell your primary school English teacher. Either that or your editor doesn't like you one bit.

The Straits Times could used an editor right now!

Karen Tee. "Broadcast Blues", in Digital Life, 25 July 2006.
Bertha Hanson's definitely sleeping on the job.
The RIAA of Singapore doesn't understand "blogers" either.

Monday, July 24, 2006


We got mentioned in Tomorrow!


From Mr Paul Tolton, who says: Where's the punctuation when you need it? According to this, I think shops are forced to sell cigarettes to under 18s.'

Working On Height!

Asians are short?

Sent in by Mr Paul Tolton, who says: Marvelous Singapore is so pro-active. Recently, a casual comment was made by Indonesian Army Chief, General Ryamizard Ryacudu , inferring that the Singapore Army were rather short. The Government immediately whipped into action with a campaign. Magic!


Location: an office toilet somewhere.

Sent in by Mr Paul Tolton, who says 'An excellent word. Somehow grossly descriptive and polite at the same time.'


Location: RAW, a sauna and 'health club' along Ann Siang Hill, for gentlemen who are of... erm... the like-minded persuasion, shall we say.

This one's hilarious, not so much for the quality (or lack thereof) of its English, but more for the amazing mental images it conjures up.

[credit to Buay Tah Han]

A Palpable Hit!


CP, the GP teacher who runs weekeegeepee, has our respect. We took several swipes at his GP blog for his students, and he good naturedly acknowledged our potshots before his students. CP - would that more teachers had your integrity!

There was a comment on his blog which we feel requires a response:

yamies said...

ahh -.- they seem too caught up with hammering in perfect english into a nation who doesn't even speak the language at home. Many (i would say most) singaporeans don't speak english that much, except when they have to use it professionally. it's going to take a while for singapore to even reach a stage where english is spoken by the average person on the street more than his mother tongue.

Unfortunately, the blog only allows blog members to comment, so we are thus moved to reply here.


yamies - you're quite right about Singaporeans generally speaking a mother tongue more than English, and we don't hold it against them. This blog exists not to correct the average man's English. We know that to be a futile and unfair exercise. Poking fun at the efforts of those who have not had the benefit of a thorough schooling in the English language is not only unfair, it is mean-spirited and nasty. That's why we consider signs in kopitiams written by the mee rebus makcik and the char kway teow uncle to be naturally exempt. Also exempt are private blogs and materials not intended for the general public. Handwritten makeshift signs are not posted as examples of poblem engrish here, except where the mangling leads to exceptionally hilarious unintended new meanings.

What we *do* object to is bad English in print and public places, where legions of copywriters and proofreaders have been unable to notice simple errors of logic and grammar. Errors from those who ought to know better is the point of this blog. Such errors abound even in the Straits Times and are inexcusable. Any sign in a public place, professionally printed, mounted or produced to last and be a semi-permanent feature, falls within the purview of this blog. Commercials, advertisements, flyers, and other materials made for public perusal, are ergo fair game for us.

We're not at all concerned about 'hammering in perfect english' into a nation - we're cynics who point and laugh sardonically. This is an important point. We're not crusaders or fighting a cause.

Ticket required...

Location: Golden Village Cinema, Plaza Singapura.

Do not adjust your screen, spectacles or contact lenses - you *are* seeing double!

Then there's the infelictous use of 'kids from the height'. Does that mean children being suspended a certain distance off the ground? If so, children levitating less than 90 cm off the ground don't need a ticket...

Halal Certified

Location: Delifrance, Bukit Panjang Plaza.

We speak often of this or that premise, but now you know what one looks like in the flesh. Halal Certified too!

Be A....?

Location: Isetan supermarket, Lido.

While I enjoy being the centre of attention, I'm not sure being a main dish is one of my talents. Can I be dessert instead? *cheeky grin*

Passenger Cum Goods Lift

Location: Church of the Holy Family, Katong, Singapore.

If you don't find this funny, I'm very glad for you.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wanted: S - Dead or Alive

Location: Causeway Point
They're open for only one hour?

Location: Somewhere in Woodlands
Parking lot for lorries and bues

Location: Outram Park MRT station entrance
Push-chairs and a wheelchair.

Oh dear, what will our foreign talent think?

Location: Overhead Bridge at Buona Vista MRT Station

Let's procefd this way to bord the shuttle bus to Bio Polis

This reminds me of Salvatore (played by Ron Perlman) from the 1986 film, "The Name of the Rose".

Monday, July 17, 2006

Paging for Pubert from the Addams Family!

Short tenor of 3 years? Surely they meant tenure, in the sense of "A period during which something is held."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


(thanks Morgan!)