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Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
babi pongteh /bah-bee pong-tay, ˈbɑbi ˈpɒŋteɪ/ n. [Mal. babi pig, hog (Ridhwan) + pongteh (?)]
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 31 babi pongteh stewed pork with bean paste]
dish consisting of pork trotters stewed in a thick brown sauce flavoured with
2004 Nicholas Tse Today (Festive Special), 10 December, 18 Peranakan dishes include tahu sumbat (beancurd stuffed with shredded cucumber), udang lemak nanas (prawns with pineapple slices in coconut milk gravy) and babi pongteh (pig’s trotters in a brown sauce) to name a few. 2014 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (SundayLife!), 26 January, 24 [O]ther Peranakan delicacies that Madam Tan prepares for Chinese New Year include babi pongteh (braised pork with fermented soyabeans) and ayam buah keluak (chicken and black nut stew).
bag of balls
[Eng., origin unkn.] mil. slang See quot. 1978. Compare
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 303 bag of balls. A dirty job handed over under pressure of rank.
băh flesh (Medhurst); Mand.
meat; flesh (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.); compare Hk. 猪肉 te
băh pork (Medhurst);
Meat; spec. pork.
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 32 bak [豬肉] pork; meat]
bak chang /chahng,
chàng a kind of confectionery, made of millet, folded up with sharp
corners, and used on the fifth day of the fifth moon; it is also called
角黍 kak sé [Mand. jiǎo corner + shǔ
broomcorn millet (Pancium miliaceum) (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)], cornered millet (Medhurst); Mand. zòng]
A tetrahedral dumpling made of glutinous rice, pork, mushrooms, chestnuts,
wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves and traditionally eaten during the
Dragon Boat Festival;
a rice dumpling.
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 184 kueh chang: (Ch. [Chinese] ke-tsang) rice wrapped in bamboo-leaf..] 2002 Wong Ah Yoke The Straits Times (Life!), 3 June, L2 The Dragon Boat Festival is coming up soon, which means it’s time for Chinese restaurants to peddle their bak chang (rice dumplings). 2005 Peh Shing Huei The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 13 October. Guangxi Oblong Dumplings [heading]. At 20cm long, this is not your ordinary bak chang. The rice dumpling is a one-course meal for villagers who have to spend a day in the fields and have no utensils for a full meal. It originated in Guangxi province in southern China. Made of glutinous rice, mushroom, marinated fatty pork and shrimps, the dumpling would sustain the worker for the day. ‘A lot of work goes into the preparation,’' said Mr Yong Ah Seng, vice-chairman of the Guangxi and Gaozhou Association, as it takes two days to marinate it. ‘Only five people in my clan know how to do it.’ 2006 Vasanthan Govindasamy Today (from Todayonline.com), 24 October. [T]here was Ah Chong’s mother (I never really knew her name) who made the best Hokkien ba chang that I have ever tasted, during the dumpling festival. She always gave five huge pieces hanging from a raffia string, for she knew I liked ba chang. And I know it was tedious work, for Ah Chong’s mother used charcoal fuel for the cooking that took hours, and it was normally cooked along the corridors.
bak chor mee
/chor mee, tʃɔː miː/
n. [Hk. 脞 ch’hò
small (Medhurst); Mand.
cuǒ in small, broken bits (Chi.–Eng.
Mee] A Teochew dish consisting of noodles with minced pork.
2003 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times, 5 October, L38 What he cooks – bak chor mee (minced pork noodles) – is what he learnt himself. 2006 ‘Mr Brown’ (Lee Kin Mun) Today 36 I was the kind of guy who would order the $3 bowl of noodles if the hawker sold the basic bowl for $2, and after upsizing my bak chor mee, I would almost always order a side dish, like say, chai tow kuay. 2006 Thomas Kong The Straits Times (National Day Supplement), 9 August, 16 Bak chor mee or minced pork noodles.. My shiokest makan is bak chor mee. It’s the combination of pork lard, vinegar and noodles that makes it so special. 2006 June Cheong (quoting Tan Siang Yee) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 29 October. I also like the bak chor mee (minced meat noodles) stall in Crawford Lane. 2008 Foong Woei Wan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 12 October, 32 Bak chor mee, at its best, is a symphony in a bowl. The Teochew classic calls for a harmonious interweaving of mellow tastes (mushroom sauce, liver), various bouncy textures (mushrooms, minced pork, noodles) and zesty notes (chilli sauce, vinegar).
/kuuah, g–; kʊɑː, g–/ [Hk. kua
dry; Mand. 干
A type of Chinese food consisting of slices of barbequed glazed pork.
2001 Chen Jingwen The Sunday Times (Special), 14 January, P13 Mouth reeking of bak kwa. 2002 Leong Pik Yin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 3 February, P13 Barbequed pork jerky (bak kua). Believed to represent: Good luck. It is red – an auspicious colour to the Chinese. 2001 Philip Allen The Straits Times, 18 January, H1 Going to Chinatown to buy some.. barbequed pork or bak kwa for the Chinese New Year celebrations. 2005 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Robin Lee) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 9 October. I hear you love bak kwa (grilled sweet pork). / My family used to own one of the biggest pig farms in Singapore. We supplied pork to bak kwa shops, so they used to give us free samples. As far as I can remember, I’ve loved bak kwa ever since I can chew. I have a particular liking for anything chewy with a bit of crispiness, so I like my bak kwa a bit over-grilled. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 32 bak kuan [肉乾] barbequed pork]
bak kut teh
/kuut tay (te), kʊt teɪ (tɛ)/
骨 kwùt a bone +
茶 tây tea (Medhurst); Mand.
bone + chá a certain kind of drink or liquid food (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] A Chinese clear stew
consisting of pork ribs cooked with herbs, garlic, soya sauce, etc.,
often garnished with pieces of
2006 Frankie Chee The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 30 July, L6 The bak kut teh (pork rib soup) stall there was a hot favourite. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 32 bak kut [肉骨] pork rib] 2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 13 August, L24 [L]ipsmacking dishes that are rarely found now – pig’s organ soup with pig’s blood and lungs, .. and Hokkien-style bak kut teh that came in a dark soup. 2006 Anthony Bourdain New York Times Magazine (from Travel.nytimes.com), 24 September. [B]ak kut teh, literally pork-rib tea, was a dish about which I was constantly nagged. .. Bak kut teh is essentially a heap of pork, usually ribs, cooked in broth. Said to have been created as food for Chinese laborers in early-20th-century Malaysia, it has become a beloved ritual for Chinese businessmen, a weekly or even daily combination of working lunch, social gathering and lengthy discussion of its many versions. .. [M]y new friend explained that Rong Chen serves a “white version” of bak kut – basic pork ribs and broth, flavored with pepper (as opposed to herbs) and whole cloves of garlic, the pork free of the darkening effects of soy. The herbal (darker, usually soy-infused) dish tends to be more tender, he said. After a few cups of tea, some salted vegetables and fried bread came the main event: huge, steaming bowls of meaty pork ribs in a translucent broth. Chili dipping sauce was served on the side. As we gnawed on bones, tearing off peppery strips and drinking spoonfuls of the cooking liquid, our waiter continued to replenish our broth.
bak kwa var. of Bak Kua.
/bahk-wahn kə-pee-ting, ˈbɑk̚wɑn kəˈpiːtɪŋ/
n. [Hk. 肉
băh flesh +
丸 wân anything around and small
(Medhurst); Mand. ròu
meat, flesh + wán ball, pellet
Jav. bak‘wan a corn-fritter-like food; in Jogjakarta style, made with
shrimp added (Horne) + Mal. < Jav. kepiting crab
Peranakan dish consisting of
meatballs made of minced pork, prawn and crabmeat in a clear chicken soup with
shredded bamboo shoots.
2005 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 7 August. [D]elicious meatballs in the bakwan kepiting soup.. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 32 bak wan [肉元] pork meatball bak wan kepiting pork and crab meatball] 2009 Elizabeth Soh The Straits Times (Saturday), 24 January, B4 Affluent families enjoy seafood dishes like bakwan kepiting (crab and pork balls cooked with bamboo shoots in a fragrant prawn stock), while others settle for pong tahu, the poor man’s version with crab replaced by mashed bean curd.
balek /bah-lek, ˈbɑːlɛk/ v. [Mal. balek, balik to return, to go back (Ridhwan)] Return to one’s place of residence, go home.
/kam-pong, ˈkɑmpɒŋ/ v. phr.
Kampung] Go to one’s home or place of residence, return to one’s place of
origin; transf. go home. Also balik kampung.
2000 Kelvin Tong The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 23 November, 9 Raffles balek kampung long time ago already. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 33 balek kampong to go back home; back to where one belongs] 2008 The Straits Times (World), 4 October, C2 The [fuel] shortage was made worse by the surge in demand that came from motorists filling up to return to their home for Hari Raya celebrations. The “balik kampung” rush had turned chaotic over the past few days.. 2011 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 17 April, 14 [O]ne is tempted to infer that America no longer holds any benefits for Chinese immigrants, and that they should just “balik kampung” (“go home” in Malay). I’m not convinced that’s the case yet.
[Eng.] Frightened, scared, shocked, terrified. See also
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 303 balls drop, balls shrink. Loss of nerve, particularly when confronted by a high-ranking, authoritarian figure or by a terrifying situation. .. ‘Balls’ is of course a vulgarism for testicles. .. The ‘balls’ obsession springs from anxiety about loss of masculinity or virility. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 34 Balls drop.. It means loss of nerve; fear. E.g., ‘Want to apply for day off, see Encik’s face straight away balls drop.’ (Translated, I had intended to make an application for a day’s leave but lost my nerve when I caught sight of the Company Sergeant Major’s stern demeanour.)
balls shrink. a. [Eng.] Balls Drop.
balukoo /bah-luu-kuu, bɑːˈlʊːkʊː/ n. [poss. < Mal. buah duku: buah fruit; part of something that resembles a fruit (Ridhwan) + Duku (see quot. 2006 below) f. the similarity between a bruise or haematoma and the fruit; or < Penang Mal. duku rap with the knuckles (Winstedt); or < Kedah Mal. menduku rap with the back of the knuckles (Wilkinson); or < Mal. meluku rap the head (as when punishing a child)] A swelling caused by blow; bruise, haematoma.
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 45 buah duku/luku a local fruit belonging to the Lansium domesticum species]
2000 Kelvin Tong The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 28 December, 8 100th balukoo but still standing.
/bahn meeairn, bɑn miɛn/
n. [Hanyu Pinyin transliteration of Mand. 板面
bǎnmiàn: bǎn board, plank, plate + miàn noodles
Dict.), poss. f. the fact that the noodles are flat] A type of
flat noodle of
Hokkien origin that is usu. served
in soup with minced chicken or pork, egg,
Ikan Bilis and vegetables.
2007 Elaine Young (quoting Magdalin Cheong) The Straits Times (Mind Your Body) (from Straits Times Interactive), 24 January. [N]oodles which are not fried are healthier, for example those that are dried and which often require a longer cooking time, or fresh noodles with no addition of oil such as “mee kia” or “ban mian”. .. Dietitians suggest the following healthier noodle-based dishes: beef noodle soup, fishball noodle soup, prawn noodle soup, wanton noodle soup, Penang laksa, chicken mushroom noodle soup, ban mian, fish sliced beehoon soup and mee tai mak soup. 2013 Eunice Quek The Sunday Times (SundayLife!), 5 May, 25 .. I pledged to find the best ban mian or hand-made noodles in soup. Ban mian refers to flat and wide noodles – about double the width of mee pok – while mian fen guo or mee hoon kueh is torn into bite-sized pieces. I normally order the you mian, or thin noodles. .. The noodles are made fresh on order and cost $3 a bowl. Aside from the egg, minced pork and ikan bilis topping, my bowl of you mian has a fair amount of spinach, as well as sliced shiitake and button mushrooms.
[Eng. transl. of Hk. 莄蕉子 keng chëaou (or
chëo) këna: keng chëaou a plantain, a banana + këna a
child, a boy, a son (Medhurst), f. the fact that the
banana has a yellow peel and white flesh inside; Mand.
gěng (not in Chi.–Eng. Dict.,
jiāo any of several broadleaf plants +
zǐ son, child
Dict.)] A person of the Chinese race who lives a
Western lifestyle and who often does not or is unable to speak Mandarin
or any Chinese dialect; a Westernized Chinese person. See also
China Bukan China 2.
2003 Colin Goh The Sunday Times, 12 October, L18 I’m a supporter of good English (if only to thumb a nose at atas Westerners and bananas). 2003 Siew Kum Hong Today, 3 November, 3 The resentment felt by those with a poor command of English towards the Westernised, English-educated ‘bananas’ who cannot speak or are not comfortable with Mandarin and dialects. 2004 Philip Geer The Straits Times, 12 April, H7 ‘Banana’ is a Singapore English word that effectively conveys the idea of a Chinese person who has adopted Western attitudes. The online Coxford Singlish Dictionary says that a ‘banana’ is ‘a “banana child” or keng chio kia in Hokkien, a Chinese person who takes on Western affectations’, that is, yellow on the outside and white on the inside. 2004 Garry Hubble The Straits Times (Life!), 5 November, 6 Low grade insults can also make a turnaround and become incorporated into the vernacular of the people it describes. An online Singlish dictionary lists ‘ching chong’ and ‘cheena’ as terms used by ‘banana’ Chinese in Singapore to refer to their less Westernised brethren. 2005 Sue-Ann Chia The Straits Times (Saturday), 12 February, S11 In fact, it isn’t the first time I’ve been labelled a banana, a monicker that has also been used to describe those who are Chinese (yellow on the outside) but more “ang moh pai” (Caucasian or white on the inside). 2012 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 19 February, 14 “He’s a banana,” the Wife explained with a doleful shake of her head. .. Growing up, my family was definitely stuck in a Western groove.
money, banana note n. [Eng.] hist. Paper
currency, so called because of an illustration of a banana tree on the
ten-dollar note, issued in Singapore by the Japanese Military Administration during the
Japanese Occupation of Singapore in World War II (1942–1945)
which was invalidated after the war and thus became worthless.
2005 Krist Boo The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 28 July. Banana notes were the currency used during the Japanese Occupation between 1942 and 1945. 2005 Romen Bose The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 4 September. On Friday, Sept 7 , the British Military Administration declared that apart from $1,000 and $10,000 notes, which had to be handed in and accounted for, all pre-war Malayan and Straits Settlements currency notes and coins would be legal tender. Overnight, the Japanese military’s ‘banana’ money became worthless. On Saturday, beef, which could be bought for 20 cents a kati (605g) or 150 Japanese dollars on the black market, went up to 1,000 Japanese dollars. On Sunday, when the full implication of the news had sunk in, no one would accept Japanese dollars. By Monday, Sept 10, every shop, food stall and market was closed. The British Military Administration reacted quickly to the crisis. The files reveal that the chief civil affairs officer assured reporters that large quantities of Straits dollar notes were available, that everyone would be paid salary advances and Allied servicemen were already spending their local dollars, so there would be plenty of legal currency in circulation soon. At the same time, the first free rations of rice, sugar and salt began to be distributed. .. The formal Japanese surrender in City Hall on Sept 12, 1945, was a grand affair as British Royal Marines lined the streets and crowds filled the Padang... To the ordinary people however, the City Hall ceremony, held little significance. With ‘banana’ money now worthless, people were worried about making a living and putting food on the table.
n. [poss. < Ind. Bandung, the provincial capital of West Java in
Indonesia] A Malay or Indonesian milk drink flavoured with rose syrup.
2006 Eveline Gan Today, 31 July, 27 [O]ld-school beverages such as teh tarik, bandung and barley are served in traditional kopitiam mugs.
[Eng. transl. of Hk. pong kan]
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 303 bang balls. To feel frustrated, generally as a result of being unable to do what one wants to do (due, for example, to unnecessarily strict regulations or to obstruction by a superior officer). 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 34 Bang balls. To be frustrated.
n. [Mal. bapok, bapuk transsexual, girlie, doll, sissy,
hermaphrodite (Ridhwan)] derog. An effeminate male. See also
2008 Wong Kim Hoh The Straits Times (Saturday), 6 September, D2 Make-up artist Lynette Leong aka Ginger, in her 30s, says the [transsexual] community has to put up with many derogatory names, including ah kwa and bapok.
[Mal. barang-barang things; barang goods, article, commodity (Ridhwan)] Also
1 One’s personal belongings, esp. a soldier’s kit.
Articles or things collectively, impedimenta, paraphernalia.
1 1987 Toh Paik Choo On the Buses 70 Please remove all your barang-barang from the empty space next to you. 1990 Mickey Chiang Fighting Fit: The Singapore Armed Forces 114 Barely has ABC time to store his barang-barang, his belongings, in the cupboard, then he is ordered to change into PT kit and fall in, in double quick time. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 76 Stood outside with our barang-barang and looked on in strange fascination. 2011 Daryl Chin (quoting Jonal Chong) The Straits Times, 29 July, B8 Right now, I can take my barang barang (tools) personally to my clients house and provide hair-cutting services.. 2 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 77 Give them their bedding and all that barang-barang. 135 barang barang. Paraphernalia. 2010 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 April, 24 [W]e can shop and then dump our shopping in your car, and continue shopping again, and not have to carry the barang-barang around the whole day.
basha /bah-shah, ˈbɑʃɑ/ n. [Eng., a hut made of bamboo with a thatched roof < Assamese বাসা bāsā a temporary residence, a hut; বাসর bāsara abode (Chan. Abhid.); বাসা bāsā a temporary residence, a hut, a lodging; বাসর্ bāsar abode; temporary residence (Barua); বাস bāsa a habitation, a dwelling (Bronson); poss. < Assamese বাস্ bās the act of residing; abode (Barua)] mil. A basic tent created using a waterproof sheet hung at at a slant or over a cord.
[poss. corruption of Eng. bastard:
see quots. 1991, 1995]
An exclamation expr. anger, frustration,
1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 basket – bastardised version of bastard. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 36 Basket! I’m short, so my fault, is it? 1995 Tan Kim Hock The Straits Times, 3 May, 30 Remember how schoolchildren said “basket” for “bastard” to avoid being scolded by teachers? It’s a play on the sound. 2000 Kelvin Tong The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 23 November, 9 As if Singapore got a lot of roads. Basket, drive 10 m, kenna hump already. 2000 Kelvin Tong The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 28 December, 8 Basket! I told you he is a con man! 2005 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Sam Leong) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 December, L28 One time, I woke up one morning and my elder son was making tempura prawns with his friends. He said he was using a recipe he found on the Internet. I thought, “Basket, your father is a chef and you use an Internet recipe?” I didn’t know whether to laugh or be angry.
n. [Mal. (ikan) tenggiri batang: ikan fish +
tenggiri Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus (Cybium) species (Wilkinson)
+ batang stem, tree trunk; handle, shaft; course of a stream; the long and
cylindrical part of anything; a numerical coefficient for long cylindrical
objects such as trees, logs, spars, spears, cigars, fingers, torches, pens,
pencils, blowpipes, etc. (Wilkinson),
prob. f. its appearance]
In full, (ikan) tenggiri batang: the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus
commersoni), a long edible fish with silvery, banded skin.
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 2, 1201 těnggiri. Ikan těnggiri: Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus (Cybium) spp.; = (Min. [Minangkabau]) tanggiri. Varieties: t. batang.. Also těngiri. 1963 Richard Winstedt An Unabridged Malay–English Dictionary 363 těnggiri, large mackerels, Cybium spp., ikan t. batang C. commerconii..] 2003 Tan Yang Today 25–26 October, 24 Hay cho with deep-fried bean curd.. is the restaurant’s pièce de résistance. .. True to tradition, the stuffing of prawns, Batang fish and eel is wrapped in pig’s membrane (not bean curd skin). 2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 11 June. My steaming bowl of soup, which came with extremely fresh, tender slices of batang fish (spanish mackerel), was one of the best I’ve tasted. 2011 Lee Hui Chieh The Straits Times (Mind Your Body), 23 June, 22 [T]he soul of the dish – the batang fish (Spanish mackerel). It was fresh and firm without any fishy smell. It was also tender and juicy, unlike fish that tastes papery after being boiled for too long. The savoury and peppery soup enhanced its sweetness.
n. [Mal. bayam spinach, amaranthus (Ridhwan)] Amaranthus tricolor or Amaranthus gangeticus, an
upright, much-branched annual plant with green or red-green leaves which is eaten as a vegetable;
¶ Known in Cant. as 苋菜 ín ts‘oi edible species of Artemisia, Chenopodium and Spinacia (Eitel), in Hk. as hēng ch’haè the Amaranthus oleraceus L. (hēng a culinary vegetable + ch’haè) (Medhurst); and in Mand. as xiàncài three-coloured amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor): xiàn amaranth (Chi.–Eng. Dict.) (see quot. 1991).
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 94 bayam. Amaranth; spinach, Pant. Mal. [Pantoen Melajoe (Batavia: Balai Poestaka)] 42. Gen. for Amaranthus spp. and Celosia spp.; used by Malays for spinach (sayur b. [bayam], esp. A. oleraceus) and chicken-food (Pet. Ayam [Pemimpin Peternak Ajam (Batavia: Kolff, 1919)] 54).] 1991 Kok Poh Tin et. al. A Guide to Common Vegetables 10 Amaranthus tricolor L. (Amaranthaceae) (A. gangeticus) Chinese spinach; .. bayam, .. An upright, much branched annual with a thin membrane covering the stem. Leaves with long petioles vary in shape, size and colour. Herklots (1972) described seven cultivars, of which three are found locally. They are the lanceolate green leaves, rounded green leaves and rounded leaves red in the centre otherwise green. Lee Chew Kang (1979) reported that these varieties interbreed freely so that when a green variety and a red variety are grown close together in the same garden, the leaves of the offspring may have various shades of red. .. A very ancient pot herb in South East Asia, many of the more than fifty species in both tropical and temperate regions are eaten as greens. It is probably the best of all tropical spinaches both in flavour and good value. It contains substantial amounts of vitamins A, B, C and double the amount of iron found in spinaches.
bayee var. of Bhai.
/bay-dayk, ˈbeɪdeɪk̚/ v.
[Jav. bedèk-bedèkan ask riddles, play guessing games; bedèk,
bedèkan riddle, guessing game (Horne)] Bluff, fool, pretend.
2000 Kelvin Tong The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 28 December, 8 Want to bedeh also don’t need so obvious. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 37 bedek ([Mal.] bedek) to tell a fib]
n. [Eng., transl. of Mand.
牛肉圆 níuròu yuán:
beef (níu ox + ròu
meat, flesh) + yuán
ball; or formed by analogy with
Fishball] A Chinese food item consisting of minced beef shaped into
a ball and boiled till firm, often eaten in soup, served with noodles, etc.
2005 Teo Pau Lin “Hakka beef balls bounce back” The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 9 October. Lovers of beef noodles might initially find this version a let-down. Instead of a bowl of rich, dark brown soup, this stall’s version is clear, watery and bland. But it hasn’t stopped hordes of regulars from lapping it up.. . The point, you see, is not the soup. It’s the beef balls. Done Hakka-style, they are almost as big as ping pong balls, juicy and boast a rich, beefy flavour. Owner Y. C. Chin, 35, started selling them 10 years ago when he realised that Hakka-style beef noodles had died out in Singapore. ‘They were around in the 1950s but slowly, nobody made them anymore,’ he says. A decade ago, while on holiday in Dapu, a Hakka region in China’s Guangdong province, he saw the dish whipped up at every street corner and decided to re-introduce it here. He invited a Dapu beef ball maker to Singapore who, over a month, taught him how to select the beef, then cut, grind and cook it into beef balls. His business has since grown into a successful four-outlet chain. He still painstakingly makes by hand all the beef balls that are distributed to the outlets every day. Made with lean thigh meat, the beef balls have to be ground at around 8pm because cooler temperatures ensure a better texture, he says. But the most important factor is the quality of the meat, he adds. .. Customers can have the beef balls with super-smooth beef slices – a texture achieved by coating them with tapioca flour – and either beehoon or kway teow noodles. A bowl is priced from $3. While the bald-tasting soup is true to the Hakka style, your tastebuds will be more than fired up with its fabulous chilli sauce, made with chilli padi, garlic and rice wine.
n. [Eng. beef + poss. smore to cook in a close vessel (this
sense is prominent in Du., Flemish, Low German and German) (OED)] A Eurasian beef stew.
2010 Huang Lijie The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 14 February, 22 [H]ome-style Eurasian dishes such as beef smore, a hearty beef stew..
beef rendang /rən-dahng,
[Eng. beef +
Malay dish consisting of beef cooked in a
2006 Eveline Gan Weekend Today, 22–23 July, 23 The first dish we tried was the beef rendang ($12). Enormous chunks of tender beef topped with dessicated spiced coconut melted in our mouths..
/bee-hoon, biːˈhʊn/ n.
rice flour, any kind of powder (Medhurst); Mand.
mǐfěn ground rice,
rice flour; rice-flour noodles: mǐ rice + fěn noodles or
vermicelli made from bean or sweet potato starch (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] Also bee hoon,
1 Rice vermicelli. 2 Usu. with specifying word: a
dish made using rice vermicelli.
1 2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 9 July. [T]here is kway teow, beehoon, yellow noodles as well as a choice of white rice and wild rice. 2008 Huang Lijie (quoting Lynn Soh) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 31 August, 38 We sent our beehoon for nutritional testing in 2001 .. Our ingredients, however, have always remained the same – rice, corn starch and sago starch. 2 1952 Violet R. Ponnudurai The Singapore Free Press, 27 December, 1 Many more are the tasty dishes of the Chinese. “Lam-sui” which is fish steamed whole in tomato sauce, “char bee hoon” which is fried Chinese vermicelli, “bah pau” or steamed rice flour loaves filled with minced pork.. 2003 Elisabeth Gwee The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 19 October, L14 Laksa, mee rebus, nasi lemak or vegetarian bee hoon. 2006 Muhammad Zamri Sukri Straits Times Interactive, 1 July. My wife and I visited China Square Central Banquet for our lunch. She ordered sliced fish bee hoon from the noodles stall.
a town in Thailand] Fried
beehoon wrapped in an egg omelette.
2002 Michelle Ho & Ruby Pan The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 12 April, L27 Items to check out here include the.. bee hoon or nasi goreng pattaya (egg-wrapped fried bee hoon or rice).
chicken n. [Eng. transl. of Mand. 乞丐鸡
qǐgài jī: qǐgài beggar + jī chicken; or cognates in other
Chi. dialects – apparently f. the fact that some beggars, lacking cooking
utensils, prepared chicken in this way] A Chinese dish consisting of a
whole chicken stuffed with vegetables and herbs that was traditionally wrapped
in paper, then encased in mud and cooked. In recent times the mud coating has
been replaced with aluminium foil.
2007 Brenda Goh (quoting Koh Say Yong) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 9 September, L27 He once tried to cook Beggar’s Chicken while on a camping trip in junior college. The dish involved stuffing a chicken with vegetables and herbs, wrapping it in paper and then encasing it in mud before cooking it over an open fire.
beh keng /bay keng,
马 báy a horse +
经(书 keng (se)
books and classics (Medhurst); Mand.
horse + jīng scripture, canon, classics
A horse-racing manual.
2004 Karl Ho The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 13 June, L6 Beh keng. Hokkien phrase literally translated as ‘horse bible’. Refers to horseracing manuals that are sold off newspaper stands. In the context of football, a beh keng generally refers to The New Paper, which has in-depth analyses of football matches and hotline numbers for soccer tips. Usage: ‘Oi, stop bringing the beh keng into the toilet when you do your business. How I read after that?’
/b(ə)-lah-chahn, b(ə)ˈlɑːtʃɑːn/ n.
[Mal. belacan paste of shrimps (Ridhwan)] Formerly belachan. A Malay food item consisting of a paste of prawns and small fish,
used in cooking and as a relish for curry. Compare
1839 Thomas John Newbold Political and Statistical Account of the British Settlements in the Straits of Malacca, vol. 2, ch. 12, 178 The ordinary food of Malays.. is rice, and in times of scarcity, sago seasoned with a little salt fish, Blachang, the caviar of the East, made with acid fruits, &c., into a variety of condiments termed Sambals. 1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 13–14 Balachong.– This is the name of a condiment made of prawns, sardines, and other small fish, pounded and pickled. The proper Malay word is bâlachan. This article is of universal use as a condiment, and is one of the articles of native consumption throughout both the Malay and Philippine Archipelago. It is not confined as a condiment to the Asiatic islanders, but is also largely used by the Burmese, the Siamese, and Cochin-Chinese. It is, indeed, in a great measure, essentially the same article known to the Greeks and Romans under the name of garum, the produce of a Mediterranean fish. 234 The principal ingredient in a sambal is blachan, which is a condiment prepared from shrimps and small fish.. [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 102 bělachan. Shrimp-paste, Jay. Pati [Hikayat Putera Jaya Pati, manuscript, Cambridge], Kit. Muj. [Kitāb Mujarrabāt] 65; = (Java) těrasi, (Min. [Minangkabau] balachan. Made of small shrimps (Mysis spp.) salted, sun-dried and allowed to ferment; often pounded or trodden down as in wine-making. Cheap substitutes are made (in the same way) from the small fry of Penaeus spp. or small fish fry. 1963 Richard Winstedt An Unabridged Malay–English Dictionary 38 bělachan, .. a paste of prawns or fish-fry 2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 37 belachan ([Mal.] belacan) shrimp-paste] 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Benjamin Seck) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 31 December, L28 I also have top quality belachan from Penang. It’s much better than Malacca belachan because it’s made with good quality shrimps and is not too salty.
belanja /b(ə)-lahn-jah, b(ə)ˈlɑːndʒɑː/ v. [Mal., disbursement, expenditure, outlay; euphemism for a gift (Wilkinson; Winstedt notes that the word is of Dravidian origin); belanjakan to expend; money for expenses; compare Ind. belandja expenses, expenditures; to shop, go shopping; to buy, purchase; membelandjai to finance, defray the cost (Echols & Shadily, Ind.–Eng.)]
[1995 Joan Margaret Marbeck Ungua Adanza 183 blanjah.. to treat 2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 38 belanja ([Mal.] belanja) spending; expenditure; a treat]
Give a treat to (esp. buy a meal for), spend money on.
1976 Sri Delima The Straits Times, 15 February, 11 It happens almost every time Singaporeans go in a group for a meal out. Everyone orders and eats and drinks and talks and laughs to his heart’s content, and at the end everyone joins in the scramble to pay for the feast, to “belanja.” .. [H]e is so warmly content at having done the “belanja”ing that he shrugs this off and never mentions it to anyone. Besides to “kira” (count) what you have “belanja”ed is unstylish. 2003 Today, 21 January, 20 If he occasionally belanja you a popiah when you’re hungry and broke. 2004 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 12 December, L14 I.. was so confident of doing badly for my O-level Chinese exams that I made a bet with some friends: If I got anything higher than a C6, I would blanja (treat) them to an all-night togo session.
beng, Beng var. of Ah Beng.
bengkok /beng-koh(k), bɛŋˈkɔ(k̚)/ a. [Mal., bent, crooked (of lines, conduct) (Winstedt)] Bent, crooked.
n. [Mal., food made of meat and mashed potatoes
A Malay minced beef and mashed potato patty, usu. shaped like an irregular ball.
2007 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Noordin Ahmad) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 7 January. [M]ost people make begedel (potato patties) by chopping their shallots and coriander and adding them raw to the mashed potato. Wrong. You should fry them first so that it’s more fragrant. 2010 Eunice Quek The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 21 February, 28 [T]he meal, usually nasi padang, is not a small one. He digs into a smorgasbord of dishes, including egg sambal, fish, meat and vegetables, topped off with a bergedil or potato cutlet. 2012 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 March, 23 I ask for a bergedil (potato patty) to go with my nasi lemak, only to find out that it is not ready yet – a family member is making them by hand in time for the afternoon crowd.
BGR n. [Eng. abbrev. of b(oy-g(irl r(elationship] A relationship between a male and female teenager: usu. used in the context of counselling or psychology in relation to difficulties that arise in such a relationship.
[2006 Audrey Ong The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 27 April. The game of boy-girl relationships [title]]
bhai /bı-yee, bʌɪˈjiː/ n. [Punj. ਭਾਈ bháí brother, cousin, kinsman, friend; the term is also applied to every Sikh (Panj. Dict.); Hind. भाई bhāī brother; kinsman, cousin; fellow-member of a group (as a class or community); friend; friend (familiar term of address; may be applied to person of either sex) < Hind. भरातृ- bhrāt- brother (McGregor) < Skt. भरातृ bhrātṛi a brother, uterine brother, own brother; an intimate friend or relation, a cousin or near relative in general, an intimate friend (sometimes used as a term of friendly address); poss. < the Skt. root भृ bhṛi (orig. meaning ‘a supporter’) to bear, carry, to support, maintain, keep, sustain, nourish, foster, cherish, protect, take care of (Monier-Williams); Hind. भई bhaī (diminutive, esp. vocative) friend, poss. < Hind. भिगन bhagin- (McGregor), poss. < Skt. भिगनी bhaginī a sister (‘the happy or fortunate one’); a woman in general < Skt. भिगन् bhagin prosperous, happy, fortunate; grand, splendid (Monier-Williams); poss. through Mal. bai: see quots. 1955, 1963 below]
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 66 bai.. [Hind. bhai] Brother as a form of familiar address to a native of Northern India; cf. tambi (for Southern India). 1963 Richard Winstedt An Unabridged Malay–English Dictionary 27 bai, .. H[indi], brother (a familiar form of address to Bengalis, Punjabis and Pathans.]
A Sikh person, esp. a Sikh man.
¶ The word is regarded by some as derog.
2004 Ong Soh Chin The Straits Times (Life!), 30 October, 4 We should aim for a day when everyone knows how the term ‘bhai’ originated. 2005 Colin Chee The Electric New Paper, 12 July. We were comfortable calling each other names. Our Punjabi friends became ‘Ba-ees’. Our Indian pals were ‘Mamaks’, our Malay friends were ‘Oi-Ahmad’, and our Eurasian friends were ‘Gragos’. And they would all call us ‘Chinks’ or ‘Paleface’. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 32 Bai ([Mal.] bai) familiar address to a Punjabi and Bengali]
[Eng.] mil. slang
Directives and orders of the Ministry of Defence collectively.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 304 Bible. A reverent, but more likely irreverent, reference to MINDEF directives and orders.
bishop’s nose n. [Eng., var. of parson’s nose, prob. f. its appearance] The fatty extremity of the rump of a chicken or other fowl, esp. when prepared as a dish; parson’s nose.
n. [Eng. transl. of Mand. 苦瓜 kǔguā (kǔ
bitter + guā melon, gourd, etc.) or cognates in other Chi.
dialects; it is not the same plant as the Eng. bitter gourd, also known
as the bitter-apple or colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis)] The
bitter fruit of a climbing annual plant, Momordica charantia, which is
shaped like a cucumber and has irregular ridges along its length.
¶ Known in Cant. as fú kwá (the bitter gourd (Momordica charantia, L.): fú to be bitter + kwá a general term for Cucurbitaceæ as gourds, melons, cucumbers, brinjal, etc. (Eitel)) and in Hk. as k’hoé kwa a bitter cucumber (k’hoé bitter, acrid + kwa a melon (Medhurst)) (see quot. 1991).
1991 Kok Poh Tin et. al. A Guide to Common Vegetables 64–65 Momordica charantia L. (Cucurbitaceae) Bittergourd.. A slender, climbing annual with long stalked leaves, deeply cordate at the base and palmately 5 to 9 lobed. Solitary male and female flowers are borne in leaf axils. The fruit is a warty-looking gourd, usually oblong and resembling the ordinary cucumber in shape. Actually, there are 8 to 10 longitudinal ridges, between which are many smooth, irregular outgrowths. The young fruit is emerald green turning to orange-yellow when ripe. The fruit is never hard but splits at maturity into three irregular valves that curl backwards and release numerous brown or white seeds enclosed in scarlet arils. The generic name “Momordica” comes from the Latin meaning “to bite”, referring to the jagged edges of the seed which appears as if it has been bitten. .. Small and immature bittergourd can be parboiled in salted water or rubbed with some salt to remove part of the bitterness. On account of its bitter taste, it is relished by the Chinese as a tonic vegetable. 2006 Sukri Kadola Today (from Todayonline.com), 21 September. My dad and I used to share a warm packet of nasi padang over our favourite wildlife documentary. He indulged in mother’s recipe of stir-fried lady’s fingers or bitter gourd infused with the rich taste of sliced mackerel in assam sauce. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Benjamin Seck) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 31 December, L28 I like to go to two kopitiams in Keong Saik Road. Tong Ah on the corner has this fish fried with bittergourd and black bean sauce which is very shiok. 2007 Thng Lay Teen The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 2 September, L27 Bittergourd and [pork] ribs cooked with fermented black beans is normally eaten with rice. 2007 Florence Loi Tiew Eng The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 11 November. Q. My son and I love bitter gourd. But why are some more bitter than others? .. A. This vegetable’s characteristic bitterness comes from a compound called momordicine. In virtually every culture that cooks it, the unripe green bitter gourds are favoured as they get more bitter, tough and inedible as they ripen. .. Loosely speaking, the larger, paler, smoother varieties, often from China and Taiwan, are less bitter than the smaller, darker green, knobbly varieties from Japan, India and other parts of South-east Asia. .. Rubbing sliced bitter gourd with salt and letting the juices drain out, or soaking it in salt water, are traditional ways to remove some bitterness.
bean sauce n. [Eng.; it is not the same as black bean a
bean of the genus Phaseolus, having black seeds (OED)]
A sauce used in Chinese cooking made from soya beans (Glycine maximus)
that have been salted and fermented, which causes them to soften and turn black.
¶ Known in Mand. as 豆豉 dòuchǐ fermented soya beans, salted or otherwise (Chi.–Eng. Dict.).
2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 9 July. [S]eafood in black bean sauce.. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Benjamin Seck) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 31 December, L28 I like to go to two kopitiams in Keong Saik Road. Tong Ah on the corner has this fish fried with bittergourd and black bean sauce which is very shiok.
fungus n. [Eng., descriptive] Auricularia polytricha
(also Hirneola polytricha), a dark brown or black frilly jelly fungus
often used in Chinese dishes and soups; cloud ear fungus, Jew’s ear, tree ear, wood ear.
¶ Known in Mand. as (黑)木耳 (hēi) mùěr: hēi black; dark + mù tree; timber, wood + ěr ear; any ear-like thing; 毛木耳 máo mùěr: hair, feather, down; or 云耳 yún’ěr: yún cloud (Chi.–Eng. Dict.).
1970 Tan Wang Joo The Straits Times, 5 September, 5 [R]ubber tree stumps or fruit trees for white fungus and black fungus mushrooms. 2006 Amy Van Today, 14 August, 35 [A] hot and sour broth brimming with bean curd, spring onion and black fungus. 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Corwin Leong) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 10 September. [T]here’s one dish my wife does that I can’t beat – Kuala Lumpur-style ban mian (thick, flat noodles). She makes the soup with ikan bilis (anchovies) and soya beans. Then, she adds toppings like black fungus with oyster sauce, minced pork, shallots, chilli, sweet potato leaves and an egg. 2007 Tessa Boase The Daily Telegraph (Weekend), 6 January, W16 [R]illette of pork with black fungus and apricot chutney (“black fungus” being the more appetising name for Jew’s ear).. 2011 Joan Chew The Straits Times (Mind Your Body), 23 June, 17 It is not hard to see why the wood ear.. is named as such. After it is soaked in water, the dried edible fungus turns into a frilly clump of translucent tissue which resembles the human ear. Also known as the tree ear, or heimuer in Mandarin, the black fungus is prized by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners for its host of medicinal uses. It is used to lower blood cholesterol, cleanse the digestive system and maintain a healthy complexion.. Black fungus is regarded in TCM as a neutral food that is suitable for most people..
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 304 blank. When a person is ‘blank’, he is said to be in the dark about what is going on. Another slang with a similar meaning is ‘blur’. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 35 Blank. Devoid of intelligence (see also ‘blur’).
[Eng., f. the term for a gap
in a parade rank caused by a missing soldier < file n. mil. number of men
constituting the depth from front to rear of a formation in line, etc.]
A gap resulting from a missing tooth.
A nickname for a soldier with a missing tooth or teeth.
1 1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 304 blank file. Technically it refers to blank spaces at parade ranks. As slang it refers to the gaps left by extracted teeth. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 35 Blank file.. refers to the missing tooth or teeth of a particular soldier. 2 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 35 One Blank File can be used as a name for the guy with the missing front tooth.
party n. & v. [Eng., poss. < U.S. army slang: blanket +
party detachment of troops selected for a particular service or duty]
A n. mil. slang A rough, irregular form of
punishment or horse-play in which a person is covered with a blanket (often by
surprise) and pummelled through it by others. B v. 1
Subject a person to a blanket party. 2 Sabotage, act maliciously
A 1991 Linda Reinberg In the Field: The Language of the Vietnam War 24 blanket party slang for hazing or punishment by shipmates, who wrapped up their victim in a blanket so that he could not identify them. B 1 2005 Hong Xinyi The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 19 June. Blanket party. Army use: Wrapping someone who is unanimously disliked in blankets and then raining blows on him. It’s a group thing. 2 2005 Hong Xinyi The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 19 June. Blanket party. .. Civilian use: Sabotaging someone whom everyone can’t stand. Example: That new classmate of ours is so obnoxious, we should blanket party him.
n. [Du. (?)] A Eurasian cake made with toddy (an alcoholic beverage
made from fermented sap from plants such as the coconut,
and wild date).
2010 Huang Lijie (quoting Robin Pereira) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 14 February, 22 Bludder, a Eurasian cake that uses toddy (coconut wine), has not been eaten here for a long time since you cannot find toddy in Singapore. [2013 Chris Tan The Sunday Times (SundayLife!), 5 May, 25 Breudher (also spelt blueder, blueda and brueder) is a yeast-raised cake common to Eurasian communities in South and South-east Asia, such as the Burghers in Sri Lanka and Malacca’s Eurasians. Thought to have Dutch origins, it was originally baked in brass pans with swirled ridges, similar to kugelhopf pans in shapes, nowadays only found and sold as antiques.]
n. [Eng. transl. of Cant.
蓝姜 lám keúng (lám blue + keúng
ginger, the rhizomes of Alpinia galanga, Willd.; the name is also applied
to other plants of a similar kind (Eitel)), Hk. lâm
këong (lâm blue + këong ginger (Medhurst)) or Mand.
(lán blue + jiāng
ginger)] A particularly pungent variety of ginger; galangal, galingale; or,
2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Najip Ali) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 23 July, L28 Best way to cook them is to fry them with blue ginger and onion. 2006 Haikal Johari The Straits Times (National Day Supplement), 9 August, 17 My mother uses the right proportion of spices in the [laksa] gravy. It is not too rich and you can taste the lemongrass and blue ginger in it. There’s also the wonderful aftertaste from the dried shrimps she uses.
Thunder n. [title of a 1983 film directed by John Badham (1939– ) and a 1984 television
series created by Dan O’Bannon (1946– ) and Don Jakoby featuring an advanced
prototype police helicopter and its crew]
1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 42 Nowadays, extremely inarticulate soldiers are called Blue Thunder (named after the film and TV series about a super advanced US chopper).
/blə; blə, –əː/
[< Eng. blurred]
1 Ignorant, stupid, slow to catch on.
1 1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 165 Being ‘blur’, he did not know exactly what he was puffing but was told it was just ordinary tobacco. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 36 Blur. Daft, dense, dumb. Also, blur like sotong. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 27 He queried me as to the sudden reason for my ‘blurness’. 2000 Dennis Wee with Sylvia Fong Making Luck with Your Hands 77 That blur-blur kid being pushed around. 2000 Cindy Lim The Straits Times, 1 April, 54 He kept horning at me but I was so blur. 2000 Magdalene Lum (quoting Kumar) The Straits Times (Life!), 29 August, 15 But I’ve met a lot of blur-blur sales-people there. 2001 Magdalene Lum (quoting Mark Lee) The Straits Times (Life!), 9 January, L8 I am really blur about geography and used to fail the subject in school. .. I’m so blur, I didn’t know they existed. 2003 Marc Lim & Peh Shing Huei (quoting Mah Bow Tan) The Straits Times, 22 November, A37 We were all blur when we started in 1996. We didn’t know how to run a professional club. 2006 The Sunday Times, 20 August, 42 The way we use the word “blur” may also confuse a non-Singaporean. .. [I]t is most commonly used by Singaporeans as an adjective to describe people who never seem to know what’s going on! An example would be the question: “Eh, why are you so blur?” 2 2006 Wong Kim Hoh (quoting Ronni Pinsler) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 28 May. I was very blur in the day but came alive at night..
[Eng.] Pretend to be ignorant, feign ignorance.
2004 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 3 October, L16 Alamak, better act blur.
n. phr. [Eng.]
A person who is frequently confused or slow to catch on. See
1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 36 Blur king. One who is the epitome of blur-ness.
blur like sotong
/so-tong, ˈsɒtɒŋ/ [Mal. sotong
1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 36 [see quot. under Blur.] 1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 blur like sotong – someone totally in the dark as to what goes on. Sotong is Malay for squids. 2003 Neil Humphreys Weekend Today, 13–14 December, 6 ‘Don’t be blur like sotong.’ Five minutes later, my friend was reading an information panel about molluscs when he shouted: ‘Oi, that little bastard just called me a squid!’ [2006 Kelvin Wong (quoting Brian Gothong Tan) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 26 November. I used to be called Sotong when I was in school because of my name and my ‘blur’ ways.]
bo /boh, bəʊ/ a. [Hk. 无 bô no, not at all (Medhurst); Mand. wú not have, there is not, without (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] Also boh. Not; not have, there is not, without. Freq. used in the following combinations.
[Hk. (?) ([the Chinese character cannot be displayed due to
software limitations; it consists of a
人 radical on the left and 秋])睬
(ch’hew) ch’haé to hold in estimation (Medhurst); Mand.
pay attention to, take notice of (Chi.–Eng.
bochap, bo-chap, boh
Indifferent, not bothered, not caring. Compare
Switch Off B2.
1991 Tan Ooi Boon The Straits Times, 15 April, 17 I guess many people will just act bo chap (don’t care). Nobody wants to confront a criminal and get into trouble. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 127 People simply bo chap their looks in what was, after all, an all-male working domain. 135 bo chap. Simply don’t care. 2000 Leong Liew Geok “Forever Singlish” in Women without Men 130 No class Singlish here to stay, / No big shot can have his way / With how people talk, what people say. / Rules are rules: our bo chap mouth refuse / To listen, follow or to choose! 2000 Clarissa Oon (quoting Jeffrey Tan) The Straits Times (Life!), 23 September, 5 When you ask for feedback, there is a certain bo-chap-ness (apathy). 2000 Jessica Tan The Straits Times (Life!), 29 December, L8 Desperately in need of a makeover, these two not-so-gorgeous but talented damsels definitely bag the most bochap (can’t be bothered, in Hokkien) look prize. 2003 The Straits Times, 17 October, H6 [A] recent Gallup poll.. found that many workers here have a bo chap (don’t care) attitude towards work. 2004 Dharmendra Yadav (quoting Goh Chok Tong) Today, 19 May, 3 In March, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong reflected about the ‘bo-chap’ (can’t be bothered) attitude of young Singaporeans. 2005 Sue-Ann Chia The Straits Times, 11 March, H9 Companies that are “boh chap” about safety face stiffer penalties. 2006 Elgin Teo (quoting He Shuwei) The Sunday Times, 30 July, 10–11 ‘Bochap’? Not us, say teens [title].. [A]re Singaporean youths really so “bochap” (indifferent in Hokkien)? .. “We are not ‘bochap’. We are aware of issues concerning Singapore’s progress; it’s just that there’s nothing we can actually do at this stage,” opines Shuwei.
bo cheng hu
/cheng hoo, tʃɛŋ huː/ a. phr.
hoó to regulate, to
rectify, to govern (Medhurst); Mand.
zhèng politics, political affairs +
fŭ seat of government, government office (Chi.–Eng.
A A situation where one’s superiors are absent and one can take things
easy. B A state of anarchy or lawlessness. Also transl. into Eng. as
B 2002 Lee Hsien Loong (Deputy Prime Minister) Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 4 April, vol. 74, cols. 416–417. If somebody has a traffic offence, he will come to you and say, “Please, can you waive the demerit points?” If we waive all the demerit points, we would be in a state of anarchy, “bo cheng hu”. 2002 Sonny Yap (quoting Lee Hsien Loong) The Straits Times, 4 May, H10 When Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke on the motion of thanks for the President’s Address recently, he invoked two phrases which pricked up my ears. .. ‘If we waive all the demerit points, we would be in a state of anarchy bo cheng hu.’ .. [B]o cheng hu mean[s].. ‘no government’ in Hokkien.
to bother, to dun (Medhurst); Mand.
(?) xīu (literary language) make a din (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.); to shout, to make a hubbub; a cry, a groan (Giles)]
Also bo hiu.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 308 hiu. Hiu means interest, concern, care: Hokkien. If a solider has no hiu (boh hiu), then he is said to have become uninterested, unconcerned and uncaring. You find this state of mind in a soldier whose ROD is around the corner, and in an unpromoted officer who thinks he ought to have been promoted umpteen years ago. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 43 Hew (Hokkien) Interested. ‘No hew’ is thus to disregard instructions or orders.
bo hiu var. of Bo Hew.
bo hua /hooah, hʊɑː/ a. [Hk. (?); poss. Mand. 划 huá be to one’s profit, pay (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] Not worth the trouble.
bo idea a. & int. [Eng. idea, prob. f. Eng. no idea] A a. Foolish, stupid, brainless. B int. Used to expr. ignorance; no idea, haven’t a clue.
bo lin chu
/lin choo, lɪn tʃuː/ a.
[Hk. (?); poss. Mand.
recognize + 屋
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 304 boe lin chu. This utterance is evoked in a situation where a soldier experiences a state of mental excitement and confusion, and consequently is liable to gabra. The literal translation of the expression is ‘unable to recognise the house’: Hokkien. Not surprisingly, it is used by newly-enlisted and newly-trained SAF drivers, not so much to refer to the actual fact that they had failed to locate and reach a particular camp, but more (in transposition) to the state of mental agitation consequent to their incompetence, especially when the passengers are senior commanders rushing to an important meeting.
/meen, mɪn/ a.
bëēn, bīn (colloq.)
the face, the front, the countenance (Medhurst); Mand.
face; reputation, prestige (Chi.–Eng.
Embarrassed, humiliated, shamed. See
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 29 How come you don’t know? Bo min, know! 135 bo min. Literally, no face.
use, wear (Ridhwan)] A Ineffective, useless. B
Of a person: without sufficient influence.
A 1987 Toh Paik Choo On the Buses 20 Where will your SBS monthly concession stamps have no pakeh? .. They are not valid for use on City Shuttle Services. 2009 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 1 November, 10 [N]o American bank will give you a mortgage if you don’t have a significant credit history in the United States itself. No matter how many years of financial good standing you’ve chalked up in Singapore, it’s simply, as my old Basic Military Training sergeant used to say, boh pakai.
bo peng yau si
/peng yow see, pɛŋ jɪaʊ siː/ n. phr.
[Hk., ‘without the army one will starve to death’:
a weapon of war; a person who uses such a weapon, a soldier +
饥 yaou to be
hungry + 死
sé to die, to depart this life; anything dead, extinct (Medhurst); Mand.
+ jī be hungry,
starve, famish + sĭ die (Chi.–Eng.
Dict.)] mil. slang
Used sarcastically to describe a soldier who works so diligently as if the army
were his only source of survival.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 304 bo peng yau si. Literally, it means ‘without the Army one can starve to death’. (The peng here is used collectively to mean army). This slang smacks of sarcasm and is aimed at the soldier who works so diligently and seriously as though the Army were his only source of survival: Hokkien.
int. [according to
to change, to alter, to convert (Medhurst); Mand. biàn
change, become different; change into, become; transform, change, alter; an
unexpected turn of events (Chi.–Eng.
Used to expr. that one has no choice or cannot do anything about a
2001 How Hwee Young (quoting Chen Ya Heng) The Straits Times, 26 August, H1 She shrugged and said: ‘Bo pian lah.’ The phrase means ‘no choice’ in Hokkien. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 43 bo pian [無變] no other alternative; at wit’s end]
bo sui /swee, sʊɪ/ a. [see Sui] Not good, undesired.
bobo var. of Wowo.
n. & a. [Mal., dull, unintelligent (Wilkinson);
dense, silly; orang bodoh fool (Winstedt);
or Punj. ਬੁਧੋੱ buddho,
ਬੁਧੂੱ buddhú born
on Wednesday: silly, stupid, foolish; a dunce, an idiot < Punj.
ਬੁਧੱ buddh sense,
understanding, wisdom, discretion, intellect, quickness of apprehension,
discrimination; Wednesday (Panj.
Dict.)] A n. A fool.
B a. Stupid, dull, simple.
A 2004 ‘Mr Brown’ (Lee Kin Mun) Today, 13 August, 34 My friends reminded me not to miss the 8pm live screening of the new Prime Minister’s swearing. Swearing IN, lah, bodohs.
a. [Hk. Bo
+ 牙 geh tooth; Mand.
yá] Having missing teeth; toothless.
2007 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 12 August, L14 Some day when Justin Timberlake’s career is on the skids and he’s all bogay, botak and Botoxed..
boh var. of Bo.
v. [Mal., can, be able to, may (Ridhwan)]
Can, be possible.
2007 Janadas Devan The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 April. Singaporeans are debating Administrative Service and ministerial pay. My advice is: Go bargain with public servants if you want. As citizens and taxpayers, we certainly have the right to do so – ‘$500K can or not? Not sure? Alamak. One million boleh? You become great, I give two mil, promise. Can settle or not?’ But do not assume anybody can do these jobs.
[Mal., baldness, hairlessness on the crown of the head in contrast to bubus
or bolos (general thinning of the hair) and sulah (baldness over
the forehead) (Wilkinson)] Bald.
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 38 Eh, botak! 58 The crew-cut, the tan and the standard army-look black-frame glasses made them ordinary people among the crowd of botaks. 2000 The Straits Times, 26 March, 58 We asked whether the Spice Boy of English soccer [David Beckham] was cuter as a ‘botak’ or with his previous flowing, windswept mane. .. ‘He is good-looking, so it doesn’t matter if he is botak or not’. 2000 Yeow Kai Chai The Straits Times (Life!), 5 September, 7 The sexy botak violinist. 2004 Yong Shu Chiang (quoting Buang Mohamed Said) Today, 13 May, 30 Who’s that botak (bald) actor from Star Wars?
[Eng.] A children’s game where one player attempts to flip his or her own bottlecap on to another player’s bottlecap. The player who succeeds in doing so
keeps both bottlecaps, and the winner is the person who accumulates the most
2004 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 14 March, L22 You’re not getting cheem on me just because I beat you at bottlecaps, are you?
[see Nasi Beriani,
Nasi Beriani, Nasi Briyani.
2006 Thng Lay Teen The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 15 October. Growing up in Mumbai, India, Ms Kirti Dayani has fond memories of her mother whipping up one of her favourite dishes, mutton briyani. The dish also reminds her of happy times as her close-knit family always gathered around the dining table on special occasions. .. The key to a good briyani, says Ms Dayani, lies in the right mix of the various spices, which include cardamom and cinnamon sticks. 2013 Rebecca Lynne Tan The Sunday Times (SundayLife!), 28 April, 31 A debate over whether the Indian or Malay spiced rice served with meat should be briyani, biryani or beriyani often ensues between my colleague and me whenever we need to mention the dish in print. For the record, SundayLife! usually uses the term nasi briyani when referring to this fragrant rice dish. I have had countless conversations about the correct usage of the term with said colleague, who is from India. She says the dish is “biryani”, not “briyani”, and it presumes both rice and meat are cooked in layers, in a large pot. But in Singapore, sellers often use “dum briyani” to differentiate spiced rice cooked with meat, such as chicken or mutton, from “nasi briyani”, where the rice may or may not be cooked with meat and in most cases is cooked on its own. .. In any case, we have come to a consensus: Briyani, as it is known here, is a Singaporean version of biryani.
/buah che-ri, bʊɑ ˈtʃɛrɪ/
n. [Mal. buah fruit (Ridhwan) + Mal. cheri, poss. < Eng. cherry]
The Jamaican cherry, Malayan cherry or West Indian cherry, the fruit of the
Calabur or silk-wood tree (Mutingia calabura), which is small and round
with a thin, smooth, red or yellow skin and a light-brown juicy pulp with a
sweet, musky fig-like flavour and tiny yellowish seeds.
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 218 chěri.. A fruit, sp. unid. [species unidentified]..] 1961 Betty Molesworth Allen Some Common Trees of Malaya 60 BUAH CHERI or WEST INDIAN CHERRY .. A small, evergreen, spreading tree seldom growing to as much as 30 feet. Bark is stringy and branches appear to be in layers; old twigs are reddish-brown and new ones are hairy. Leaves are about 1½ to 3 inches long, dull green above and pale beneath; they are hairy and sticky to touch. Flowers are 1 inch across, with 5 small, crumpled, white petals and many yellow-tipped stamens, and are on solitary stalks which arise from the leaf bases. The round berries, half an inch across, are green, ripening to red. They are fleshy and filled with many tiny, pale seeds and are quite pleasant to eat. They attract birds and fruit-bats as well as children. An abundant tree in Chinese villages in Malaya, especially in front of their shops. It is also very common in gardens, and grows in waste ground – for instance, on old tin-mining land surrounding the artificial lakes off Ampang Road in Kuala Lumpur. Growing very rapidly, it makes good temporary shade for new gardens. The local name of Japanese Cherry is misleading for it does not come from Japan but is native to tropical America (nor is it a cherry!). Other names: Cherry Tree, Manila Cherry.. Scientific name: Muntingia calabura Jute family (Tiliaceae) [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 45 buah cherry a small round fruit containing tiny seeds of Mexican origin introduced only in the 20th century]
buah duku /buah duu-kuu, bʊɑ ˈdʊkʊ/ n. [Mal. buah fruit (Ridhwan) + Duku] Duku.
/buah su-su, bʊɑ ˈsʊsʊ/
n. [Mal. buah fruit + Mal. susu breast, udder; (loosely)
The water lemon (Passiflora laurifolia), which is oval with a smooth,
hard skin that is green when unripe and yellow when ripe and an orange-yellow
pulp with black seeds. It is a variety of passion fruit (Passiflora edulis).
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 2, 1141 buah s.[susu] (a honeysuckle, Passiflora laurifolia).. 1963 Richard Winstedt An Unabridged Malay–English Dictionary 344 buah s.[susu] passion-fruit, Passiflora laurifolia.]
buat bodoh suak
/booaht boh-doh sooahk, bʊɑːt̚ ˈbəʊdəʊ
sʊɑːk̚/ v. phr.
to do (good or bad thing), to apply; in process (of making, working); to make,
to shape; to cause, to make + Mal. bodoh
stupid, foolish (Ridhwan) + Ind. suak postponement
& Shadily, Ind.–Eng.)]
Just ignore them.
1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 buat bodoh suak – just ignore them. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 47 buat ([Mal.] buat) to do; making buat bodoh to feign ignorance/stupidity/innocence]
buay /buuay, bʊeɪ/ part. [Hk., poss. < 不 put not, no, do not, not yet + 会 höēy to meet, to assemble, to unite; an assembly, a society (Medhurst); Mand. bùhuì be unlikely, will not (act, happen, etc.): bù expr. negation or denial + huì get together, assemble; can, be able to (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)] Not.
clear, pleasant; hearty, cheerful; grand, fine (Medhurst); Mand.
2000 Koh Boon Pin The Straits Times, 6 December, H8 Not happy? Buay song, ah? Complain, lor.
/tah-hahn, ˈtɑːhɑːn/ a. phr.
[Mal. Tahan] Be unable to endure or stand a person,
2000 Leong Liew Geok “Forever Singlish” in Women without Men 130 .. like when the secretary say / You hold on arh, he’s on another line; / So you wait for him to finish – wah piang, talk / So long, boey tahan, some more I kena / Scolding from boss for wasting time. 2001 John Chen The Straits Times, 30 October, H2 Buay tahan.. I was shocked out of my wits. .. ‘Buay tahan’ is Hokkien for ‘couldn’t stand it anymore’. 2003 Suzanne Sng (quoting Faizah Abdullah) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 18 January, L10 Buay tahan. The noise is so loud at night. 2004 Lim Han Ming (quoting James Wong) Streats, 7 May, 9 I already ‘buay tahan’ (Hokkien for ‘cannot cope’) with just two kids.
buay zai see entry under Zai.
crocodile; compare buaya joget “a crocodile for dancing girls”: a man
always running after light women: joget a professional dancing-girl (Wilkinson);
Ind. djogét dance; dancing girl (Echols
& Shadily, Ind.–Eng.); Jav. djogèd the classical Jav.
dance (an art form accompanied by gamelan music); (used mainly outside the
Central Java area) woman street dancer (Horne)] A.
A man who constantly flirts with or pursues women, a lothario.
v. Of a man: flirt with or pursue women.
A [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 475 buaya j. [joget] (a crocodile for dancers), i.e. a man always running after dancing-girls (who are usually of light character), Sid. Rama [Hikajat Siddha Rama, Balai Poestaka, Batavia] 169.] 1991 Valerie Tan The Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 buaya – Malay (literally, crocodile); an obsessive skirt-chaser. 1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 60 Koon Beng had become a full-fledged, irresistible buaya during the past three months. 2003 Suzanne Sng The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 14 December, L8 His cheesy pick-up lines are accompanied by leery looks, and yet The Buaya (buaya literally means ‘crocodile’ in Malay) wonders why he never scores. [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 47 buaya ([Mal.] buaya) crocodile; avaricious (person); a skirt chaser] 2011 May Seah (quoting Chen Hanwei) Today, 23 June, T2 Whenever we went clubbing, there was sure to be some buaya who would come and tease her. B 2003 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 9 November, L18 It’s been a while since my clubbing days, but I bet people still spend more time scoping others out and bitching about them.. than dancing, drinking or buaya-ing.
transl. of Mand. 泡泡茶
pào bubble + chá tea]
A beverage consisting of sweetened tea, milk and tapioca balls (the ‘bubbles’)
usually consumed using a large-diameter straw.
2002 Arlina Arshad The Sunday Times, 13 January, 30 Gone are the queues of people happy to wait up to an hour to savour a cup of jasmine tea with those chewy tapioca balls. They can now turn to $25 bubble-tea making kits that have appeared in major supermarkets and brew-it-yourself courses which have started in community centres. 2002 Arlina Arshad (quoting Karen Chew and William Ong) The Sunday Times, 13 January, 30 ‘Bubble tea is now as common as Coke. It has lost its magic.’ .. ‘Only the best-tasting bubble-tea drinks will survive, not the cheapest or the branded ones’. 2005 Teo Cheng Wee The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 9 October. Bubble tea. Said to have originated in Taiwan in the late 1980s, the mix of cold milk tea and tapioca balls took Singapore by storm in 2001. The bubble burst a year or two after that but the drink can still be found around town.
chacha /buu-buur chah-chah,
n. [Mal. bubor, bubur food in pulpy or viscous form; gruel,
thick broth, porridge (Wilkinson);
rice-broth, gruel (made from sago, beans) (Winstedt)
+ Mal. chachah, Minangkabau Mal. chanchang, Negri Sembilan Mal.
chenchang, Baba Mal. chinchang (Wilkinson, Winstedt) < Ind. cacah, cencang chop up, mince, cut
into small pieces (Echols
& Shadily, Eng.–Ind.); compare menchachah to mince (Winstedt);
prob. > Kristang chacha a
type of porridge made with sago flour, diced sweet potatoes, diced yam, coconut
milk and palm sugar (Baxter
& de Silva); or < Mal. chacha a salad of cooked ingredients swimming in vinegar (Wilkinson)]
Also bubur chacha. A hot or cold Malay dessert consisting of
pieces of yam, sweet potato, sago, etc., in a sweetened coconut milk
[1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 157 b. [bubur] chacha (gruel of parched rice sweetened with coconut).. 2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 47 bubor cha-cha sweet potato with coconut milk gruel] 2006 Eveline Gan Weekend Today, 22–23 July, 24 I found the bubor cha cha.. a little too lemak (rich in coconut).
terigu /tə-ri-goo, təˈrɪguː/
n. [Mal. bubor, bubur food in pulpy or viscous form; gruel,
thick broth, porridge (Wilkinson);
rice-broth, gruel (made from sago, beans) (Winstedt)
+ Mal. terigu wheat (Winstedt);
wheaten flour (Wilkinson)
< Port. trigo wheat; wheaten (Michaelis)]
Also bubur terigu. A hot or cold Malay dessert of the consistency
of porridge made with cracked wheat and flavoured with pandan leaves, which is
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 48 bubor terigu wheat porridge] 2006 The Straits Times (National Day Supplement), 9 August, 17 TOP 10 SINGAPORE DESSERTS.. 9 Bubor terigu 2009 Chris Tan The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 1 November, 23 .. Asian pudding-type desserts such as pulut hitam, bubur terigu, Indian kheer or payasam, black sesame cream, and so on..
bulat /boo-lut, ˈbʊlʌt/ a. [Mal. bulat spherical as of a ball; circular, rounded (Ridhwan)] Of a person: fat, overweight.
n. [< Eng. bungalow a one-storeyed house] A detached house,
regardless of the number of its storeys.
2005 Sharlene Tan The Sunday Times, 24 April, 1, 4 Dream home or eyesore? Bungalow in Simei upsets neighbours [title].. Like it or hate it, one thing’s for sure – this new three-storey house in Sea Breeze Avenue in Simei cannot be ignored.
burger Ramly var. of Ramly Burger.
[Eng.] Of a day, weekend, etc.: gone, spent, wasted.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 305 burned. Used to describe a weekend spent doing guard duty or in confinement. 1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 37 Burnt. Gone, destroyed, up in smoke. Used to describe that weekend which has been assigned to you for guard duty. 1998 The Straits Times, 2 August, 37 [L]ike it or not, for many Singaporeans for the next nine months, Saturday nights will be ‘burnt’ as Big League Soccer fever sweeps through the island. 2000 Dennis Wee with Sylvia Fong Making Luck with Your Hands 90 This is what the army calls ‘weekend burnt’.
butoh /buu-toh, bʊˈtəʊ/ int. [Mal., (vulg.) penis (Wilkinson)] usu. Malay slang, vulg. Used as a term of abuse.