Back to the home page


© Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
Last updated on 26 February 2014 (25 headwords). No reproduction without permission.

D&D /dee an dee, diː an diː/ n. [Eng., abbr. of d(inner and d(ance]  An annual celebration involving a dinner, dancing and often other activities such as lucky draws, speeches and table games, that is organized by a company or other organization for its staff.
2006 Mak Mun San The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 3 December, L1 The D&D or annual company dinner and dance is no longer a boring, sitdown affair. L2 [T]he institution of the D&D isnt what it used to be. No longer is it a case of sit, slurp and slip away. These days, you may actually get some decent entertainment. .. D&D events are now held all year round with the exception of the seventh lunar month with peak periods in November and January. .. But one thing will never change: D&D functions.. must always have lucky draws. .. The running joke within the industry is that D&D actually stands for dinner and draw..  2008 Debbie Yong The Sunday Times, 16 November, 10 Crisis eats into D&D plans [title] Early last month, business analyst Rachel Lee paid $750 to buy a kimono from Japan through eBay. She wanted to wear it to attend her companys travel-themed dinner and dance. But a week later, the 24-year-old was told that the event, scheduled for next weekend, was cancelled.

Deepavali /di-pah-və-lee, dɪˈpɑvəliː/ n. [Hind. डीपावळी Dīpāvali, डीवाळी Dīvālī (McGregor); Tam. தீபாவளி tīpāvaḷi (Tam. Lex.) < Skt. डीपावळी dīpāvali a row of lamps, a nocturnal illumination, the Hindu festival of lights; डीपाळी dīpālī a row of lamps; the day of the new moon in the month of Āśvina or Karttikā on which there is a festival with nocturnal illuminations in honour of Kārttikeya (this festival or feast of lights is commonly called Dīwālī) < Skt. डीप् dīp to blaze, burn with a bright flame, shine; be bright or luminous; to burn, glow; डीप dīpa (Tam. தீபம் tīpam (Tam. Lex.)) a light, lamp, lantern (Monier-Williams)]  The Hindu festival of lights marking the victory of good over evil, which is celebrated on the day of the new moon in the month of Āśvina [Skt. आशविन, month of the rainy season, during which the moon is near the constellation Āśvinī आशिवनी < आशव āśva relating or belonging to a horse, equestrian (Monier-Williams)] or Kārttika [Skt. कािॅक, month when the moon is full and near the constellation of the Pleiades < कृिॅिका Kṛittikā name of the Pleiades constellation, having six stars, which is sometimes represented as a flame or as a kind of razor or knife < कृत् kṛit to cut, cut in pieces, cut off, divide; tear asunder, destroy (Monier-Williams)] of the Hindu lunisolar calendar (the 15th day of the seventh month of Aipasi [for etymology, see Fire-Walking] in the Tamil calendar; October or November in the Gregorian calendar). It is a public holiday in Singapore. As it is believed that souls of departed relatives roam the earth during this time, rows of lamps called dīyās [Hind. डीया dīyā, a light; a lamp, lantern, candle; the vessel holding the oil for a light (McGregor)] or pradīps [Hind. < Skt. पडीप pradīpa a light, lamp, lantern < Skt. पडीप् pradīp to flame forth, blaze, burst into flames (Monier-Williams)]) consisting of ghee in small earthen pots with cotton wicks are lit to guide them on their return journey. Other observances include the gangā snānam [Skt., bathing in the Ganges: गङा gangā the River Ganges + सनानम् snānam (Tam. ஸ்நானம் snānam) bathing; washing; ablution; dipping in water; wetting; purification by bathing, religious or ceremonial ablution, bathing in sacred waters (considered as a daily observance or as an essential part of some ceremonial) < सनानम् snā bathe, wash, cleanse; perform ablution, perform the ceremony of bathing when leaving the house of a spiritual preceptor (Monier-Williams)], a pre-dawn ritual oil bath that cleanses one of the impurities of the past year; the receiving of blessings from elders of the family; and prayers and the making of offerings of sweetmeats and garlands of jasmine at family altars.
¶ The festival is also known as Divali or Diwali. Several mythological legends are associated with the origin of Deepavali. According to one, Deepavali commemorates the killing of an evil demon, Narakasura, by Lord Krishna, and thus the triumph of good over evil. The second relates that the festival was first held to celebrate the return of the Rama, King of Ayodhya, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana to Koshala after a war in which he had killed the demon Ravana. As it was getting dark, people along the way lit oil lamps to light their way.
     Monier-Williams states that the festival is held in honour of Kārttikeya. This is a name of Skanda, the Hindu god of war, because he was reared by the six
Kṛittikās or Pleiades. According to one legend he was the son of Śiva without the intervention of his wife, his generative energy being cast into the fire and then received by the Ganges, whence Kārttikeya is sometimes described as a son of Agni and Gangā. When born he was fostered by the Pleiades, and became six-headed when they offered him their six breasts. In other accounts he is a son of Śiva and Pārvatī or Durgā. Skanda may also have been called Kārttikeya because the month Kārttika is the best for warfare: he is sometimes described as presiding over thieves.
2005 The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 8 October. The streets of Little India came alive last night in a dazzling display of lights and colour in the annual Deepavali light-up. .. Celebrations for the festival, which falls on Nov 1, include a procession, concert and street bazaars.  2006 Teo Pau Lin
The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 15 October. The annual Deepavali, or ‘festival of lights’, commemorates the victory of good over evil. Traditionally, Indian households celebrate it by eating home-cooked feasts and treating relatives and friends to a wide range of mithai (Indian sweets).  2008 Wang Hui Fen The Straits Times (Life!), 28 October, B6 Deepavali, or Diwali, literally means “row or garland of lights”. .. It highlights the victory of Lord Krishna, one of the deities of the Hindu pantheon, over the demon king Narakasura, and usually falls around late October or early November on the new moon day.

deh /day, deɪ/ int. [poss. < Mal. de’ = adek younger brother or sister (Wilkinson); Jav. ḍi, aḍi younger sibling; person younger than oneself (Horne); compare Ind. dik, adik younger brother or sister; form of address to a younger brother or sister and to younger people (Echols & Shadily, Ind.–Eng.)]  Used at the ends of sentences for emphasis as a familiar form of address.
1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 28 Someday wanna be actor deh2007 Sandra Leong The Straits Times (Life!), 10 September, 6 If a player makes a silly mistake, he doesn’t wail when told to “wake up lah, dey”.

dendeng /den-deng, ˈdɛndɛŋ/ n. [Mal., dried jerked meat (Winstedt); compare Ind. déndéng spiced dried meat (Echols & Shadily, Ind.Eng.); Jav. ḍènḍèng sliced seasoned dried meat, ready for cooking (Horne)]  Meat, esp. beef, that has been salted, spiced and dried in the Malay style; jerked meat, jerked beef.
1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 101 Dendeng. – The Malay name for the jerked beef of commerce, that is, of animal muscular fibre, preserved by drying in the sun, nearly the only mode of curing flesh practised. Dendeng is made of the flesh of deer, oxen, and buffaloes, and by the Chinese of that of the wild hog. It is a considerable article of native trade.  [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 270
271 dendeng .. Jerked meat. Also (Java) dengdeng = daeng-daeng. Meat is first cut into very thin slices, then cured with salt and spiced, then dried in the sun and finally grilled in coconut-oil.]  2005 Zul Othman Today (from, 15 October. These Hari Raya treats which include.. dendeng (barbeque meat).. are usually available during the fasting month of Ramadan. .. At a nearby stall, Mohamed Hashim was seen queuing for dendeng and deep friend prawns with his two children in tow. “My children love it,” said the 38-year-old in Malay, “This may be the only time they get to sample the foods I had when I was a kid.”

devil curry n. [poss. < Eng. devil, perhaps a reference to the spiciness of the dish, or devilled grilled with hot condiments (OED); compare Kristang debel undefined, used only in kari debel, a traditional Kristang curry (Baxter & de Silva); see also quot. 1995 below]  Also curry devil.  A spicy Eurasian curry dish containing offal.

[1995 Joan Margaret Marbeck Ungua Adanza 186 debal  typical kristang, pungent, mixed meat & vegetable curry]

1995 Joan Margaret Marbeck Ungua Adanza 2 There are various curries on the other table – Curry Feng, Curry Devil..  2001 David Kraal The Straits Times (Life!), 2 October, L4 The ‘secret’ recipe for my Malacca-born mother-in-law’s Devil Curry.  2006 Low Shi Ping Weekend Today, 16–17 December, 37 I took the plunge with the devil curry ($12) – one of the most popular dishes, and a must-have, of any Eurasian meal. The potent curry – which consists of chicken, cucumber, onions and lettuce, and cooked in a myriad of spices such as mustard seed, turmeric powder, vinegar, candlenuts and chillies – unleashed its devilish spiciness as soon as I tasted it.  2010 Huang Lijie The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 14 February, 22 [S]ignature Eurasian dishes such as curry debal or devil curry, which is a chicken, bacon bones and vegetable curry..

dhobi /doh-bee, ˈdobiː/ n. [Hind. धोबी dhobī a washerman < Hind. धोब dhob washing; a wash < Middle Indo Aryan dhovvai is washed (McGregor) < Skt. धाव् dhāv to rub, rub off, cleanse, clean, wash, purify, polish, brighten, make pure or bright; to rub one’s self with anything, to rub into one’s person; compare Skt. धावक dhāvaka washing, cleansing, धावकस् dhāvakas a washerman, a dhobī (Monier-Williams, OED); compare also Punj. ਧੋਬੀ dhobí (Panj. Dict.)]  An Indian laundryman who uses traditional cleaning methods.
1816Quiz The Grand Master, ch. 8, 230 Dobies, and burrawa’s, and coolies.  c.1847 Mrs. Sherwood The Lady of the Manor, vol. 2, ch. 13, 127 Linen as white and delicate as an Indian dobee could make it.  1860 William Howard Russell My Diary in India, vol. 1, 110 The ‘dhoby-man’ was waiting outside, and in a few moments made his appearance – a black washerman, dressed in cotton. 
1865 John Cameron Our Tropical Possessions in Malayan India
78–79 Shortly after leaving town it [Orchard Road] follows the windings of a small stream of anything but pellucid water, in which the dhobis, or washermen, are busy from morning till night, on Sabbaths and on week-days, in shower and in sunshine, beating away at the soiled linen of the clothed section of the population. The process is common in India, but certainly quite strange to Europe. The men, generally strong, stalwart Klings or Bengalese, naked to a strip of cloth round the loins, stand up to their knees in the bed of the stream with a flat slab of stone in front of them. They seize the pieces of clothing one by one – if it is a shirt by the tail, if a pair of pants by the legs – dip them into the stream, swing them over their heads, and bring them down with their whole force on the stone slab. This operation is continued with each piece till it is thoroughly cleaned. A great deal of damage is, of course, done to the clothes by this process; it is especially fatal to buttons; but on the other hand, it undoubtedly secures a matchless whiteness.  2003 Victor R. Savage & Brenda S.A. Yeoh, Toponymics 110 Dhoby Ghaut is derived from the Indian words dhoby, meaning “laundry” and ghaut, meaning “the steps along the bank of a river”. The name stems from the laundry activities that used to take place here from the 1830s onwards. Indian dhobis (Bengali and Madrasi) used to wash their clothes using the water from Stamford Canal (formerly Sungei Bras Basah or Freshwater Stream). The clothes were dried on empty land subsequently occupied by the Ladies Lawn Tennis Club, now occupied by the triangular-shaped park opposite Cathay cinema. About five acres large, this used to be called Dhoby Green. In the past, the whole area was associated with laundry activities. Hence Queen Street in Tamil was vannan teruvu or “street of the dhobis” and the Malays call it “kampong dhobi”.  2004 Surekha Yadav Today, 20 January, 30 Born into a family of dhobis (Indian washermen), Mr Suppiah was intent on working towards a brighter future. .. [H]is St Georges Road shop.. is the only dhobi house in Singapore, he says, where the clothes are still washed by hand using an elaborate method of tossing and slapping the clothes with soap.

Comb.: dhobi mark n.  A mark made on laundry by a dhobi to identify the owner; transf. a signature.

diao he /deeow hə, dɪaʊ hə/ n. [Hk. 钓 diao fish with a hook and line, angle + 鱼 he fish; Mand. diàoyú] Also tio hoo.  Chinese tea, esp. in tea bags.
2004 Karl Ho The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 13 June, L6 Diao he: Hokkien for ‘fishing’. Refers to Chinese tea, which usually comes in sachets. 
2014 Sylvia Toh Paik Choo The Sunday Times (SundayLife!), 26 January, 3 Like how we call for drinks in kopitiams – “tat kew” (“kick ball” for Milo) and “tio hoo” (“fishing” for tea with a teabag).

ding dong n. [Eng., origin uncertain, poss. f. their pendulous appearance reminiscent of a swinging bell]  The testicles, balls.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 306 ding dong. It is hard to determine whether this slang has a phonetic or a metaphorical origin. It is used as a euphemism for a man’s testicles. Used for the double purpose of scolding someone and simultaneously reaffirming one’s masculinity. Example: ‘my two ding dong’. Occasion of utterance: frustration.  2009 Phin Wong Today, 20 February, 35 Why are we as a society still so prudish when it comes to ding-dongs and vajay-jays?

die-die adv. [< Eng. die with redupl.]  Even if one has to die in the process; certainly, definitely.
2004 Colin Goh The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 12 December, L14 When we’ve something to say.. we will die-die find the most compelling way to say it to our intended audience.  2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 13 August, L24 [O]nly about 100 [hawker] stalls got his highest ranking of “die, die must try”.

dirty a. [poss. Eng. transl. of Mand. zāng dirty, filthy (Chi.–Eng. Dict.); or cognates in other Chi. dialects]  Of or relating to ghosts or spirits; of a place: haunted by ghosts or spirits.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 40 Just as Ah Nam believes in the protectionist role of religion, he is also a believer of evil spirits and ghosts whose main function is to harm those who have wittingly or unwittingly offended them. Thus he quoted the case of a contractor who fell victim to the “dirty things” while sleeping in an improvised room without a door god (地主公) [footnote: God of the soil]: “His eyes are now glazed and fixed on some level out of this world. It was only recently that he could work again.”  306 dirty. This is a cultural slang used to denote a place which is thought to be haunted. Some army bases like Pulau Tekong Camp and 2 SIR are said to be ‘dirty’. One of the guard towers at SAFTI too is reputed to be the venue of psychical phenomenon.  2010 May Seah (quoting Nat Ho) Today (T), 10 May, T4 There’s a really scary story about a MediaCorp artiste. .. [O]ne day, this other actress was resting in the artistes’ rest room – that place is supposedly quite “dirty”.

dodol /doh-dohl, ˈdodol/ n. [Johor, Penang Mal. (Winstedt) > Kristang dodol glutinous rice with coconut and sugar (Baxter & de Silva)]  A soft, sticky Malay sweet made of glutinous rice flour, coconut milk and Gula Melaka that is brown in colour, usu. shaped like a sausage or a small triangular pyramid, and which may be durian-flavoured.  Also kueh dodol.
2001 David Kraal The Straits Times (Life!), 2 October, L4 Another Goan sweet is called Dodol, made from jaggery, rice flour and coconut. Just like my Mum-in-law and countless Nyonyas and Malays make their Dodol.

dot dot dot int. [Eng., f. the three full stops in an ellipsis]  Used to indicate that a joke has fallen flat or that an unbelievable statement has been made: I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless.
2005 Renee Tan The Sunday Times, 27 February, 38 Jianqi and his classmates often use the phrases, “not needed” and “dot dot dot”, when one of them makes a joke that falls flat. The phrases serve a dual purpose: snorting at the pathetic attempt and taking a dig at the speaker. .. Dot dot dot. What it means: Derived from “...” to describe being speechless, it is used when someone makes a flat joke or an unbelievable statement. How to use: A: “I’m the best-looking person in the world!” B: “Dot dot dot.”

double v. [Eng.] Also double-up.  Hurry, speed up.
1978 Leong Choon Cheong (quoting Tay Poh Hock) Youth in the Army 52  If late.. our RSM will make us do pump-ups ‘double-up’..  171 Then everything must be done first. You double here, you double there, and you charge here and charge there.  307 double up. To speed up.  1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 40 Double-up. To speed up; on the double.

double-boiled v. & a. [< Eng. double boiler a saucepan consisting of two pots, the upper one containing the food to be cooked, and the lower one containing water which is heated (OED)]  A v. Of food, esp. soup: cook using indirect heat, esp. using a double boiler.  B a. Cooked by double-boiling.
A 2006 Teo Pau Lin The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 24 December, L24 Its bird’s nest is sourced in Indonesia, then cleaned and double-boiled in plants here in Defu Lane.  B 2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Wong Hon Mun) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 30 July, L28 I was spoilt by my late grandmother, who always made double-boiled chicken soup for me when I was growing up. .. The Cantonese believe that you must use a very low fire, and boil it for a very long time. My grandmother used to boil it for at least four hours, so that all the goodness from the chicken went into the soup. 

Dragon Boat Festival n. [< Eng. transl. of Mand. 龙船 lóngchuán: lóng dragon + chuán boat, ship; or 龙舟 lóngzhōu: zhōu boat (Chi.–Eng. Dict.) + Eng. festival]  A Chinese festival which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar that commemorates the death of China’s first known poet 屈原 Qū Yuán (born c.340 b.c.) on that date in c.278 b.c., and which is marked by the staging of dragon boat races and the preparation and eating of rice dumplings (known in Mand. as 粽子 zòngzǐ and in Hk. as Bak Chang).  Also known as the Dumpling Festival.
¶ The festival is known in Mand. as 端午节 Duānwǔjié: duān end, extremity; beginning; upright, proper + noon, midday; the seventh of the 12 Earthly Branches + jié festival, red-letter day, holiday (Chi.–Eng. Dict.).
2005 The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 June. Dumpling festival means little to young Chinese [title] Millions of Chinese celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival yesterday, but while boat races and the sticky rice dumplings known as zongzi may be growing in popularity, it seems the roots of the festival are being forgotten. This is in spite of the event being one of the three major traditional Chinese festivals, along with Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival. For more than 2,000 years, the festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, has been marked by the eating of zongzi and dragon boat races. The most widely accepted version of the festival’s origin is that it is in remembrance of patriotic poet Qu Yuan. The loyal counsellor drowned himself in 221 b.c. [sic] in the Miluo River in central Hunan province after the Chu king, who fell under the influence of corrupt ministers, banished him. The locals dropped bamboo cylinders stuffed with rice into the river to prevent fishes from feeding on his body.  2006 Clarissa Oon The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 10 June. China has shortlisted the Dragon Boat Festival, acupuncture and Shaolin gongfu as among several hundred cultural traditions worth preserving, as the country marks its first Cultural Heritage Day today. ..  Officials and experts have suggested raising the status of traditional Chinese festivals like the Dragon Boat and Mid-Autumn, putting them on a par with the Spring Festival and Chinese New Year. .. Many in China were stung by South Korea’s successful application to Unesco at the end of last year to have its own version of the Dragon Boat Festival recognised as a world cultural heritage. China’s Dragon Boat Festival, which originated nearly 2,500 years ago, began as a commemoration of the sacrificial act of the patriotic poet Qu Yuan (340–278 BC) who drowned himself when the capital of his state fell to invaders. Legend has it that Qu’s countrymen threw zongzi, or pyramid-shaped glutinous rice dumplings, into the water to distract fish from eating his body. One Shanghai school principal, Mr Lu Jichun, told Chinese media recently: ‘Why is it that South Korea has done such a good job preserving this festival while, for us, much of the traditional culture surrounding our own festivals has been lost? ‘When children today think of the Dragon Boat Festival, all they can think of is eating zongzi. For the Mid-Autumn Festival, they can only think of eating mooncakes.’ One reason why young people do not feel much for such festivals is that celebrating them had long been officially discouraged, particularly during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976.

drama a. [Eng.]  Highly or excessively dramatic; hence drama mama n., a person who is wont to react to situations in an over-dramatic manner.
2004 Zubaidah Nazeer (quoting Dick Lee) Streats, 13 December, 24 The cast sang in the finale and confetti rained down. I mean, how drama can you get?

drop v. [Eng.]  1 mil. slang  Do a push-up.  2 Alight at a particular place from a bus, car, etc.
1 1978 Leong Choon Cheong Youth in the Army 307 drop. This is usually followed by a number to denote the number of push-ups one has to do as punishment for some offence.  1985 Michael Chiang Army Daze 40 Drop. Prefix to a number of push-ups. ‘Drop 20!’ is an instruction to do 20 push-ups.  1994 C.S. Chong NS: An Air-Level Story 17 Whole lot drop twenty!  2 2004 Janadas Devan The Straits Times (Very! Singapore), 9 August, 20 We know ‘what boy you in exam’ and ‘you can drop here’ are expressions peculiar to English as she is spoken in these parts.

drunken ppl. a. [Eng. transl. of Mand. zuì drunk, intoxicated, tipsy; (of some kinds of food) liquor-saturated, steeped in liquor (Chi.–Eng. Dict.)]  Of Chinese dishes: cooked with Chinese wine.

drunken chicken n. [prob. Eng. transl. of Mand. 醉鸡 zuì jī: chicken (Chi.–Eng. Dict.); or cognates in other Chi. dialects]  A Chinese dish consisting of chicken cooked with Chinese wine.
2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 24 September. [Y]ou pay $12 for drunken chicken with hua tiao wine but you get half a bird.  2006 Wong Ah Yoke The Sunday Times (LifeStyle) (from Straits Times Interactive), 15 October. Drunken chicken: Imperial Treasure’s version.. might be compared to an alcoholic on a week-long bender. The chicken had stayed in the marinade too long and the shao xing wine was overpowering and bitter. Over at Crystal Jade.., the juicy chicken is delicately perfumed with the wine. Call it just slightly tipsy.

drunken prawns n. [prob. Eng. transl. of Mand. 醉虾 zuì xiā: xiā shrimp (Chi.–Eng. Dict.); or cognates in other Chi. dialects]  A Chinese dish consisting of prawns cooked in a broth containing Chinese wine, ginger and chilli.
2006 Teo Pau Lin & Eunice Quek The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 24 June. While other seafood restaurants fight tooth and nail over which invented chilli crab, Long Beach remains uncontested with its claim that it created black pepper crab. It has also come up with other inventive classics – drunken prawns with brandy and herbs, and deep-fried crispy duck.

dry a. [Eng.]  Of noodles: not served in a soup, or served with a thick gravy and often with a bowl of soup on the side.
¶ Opp. of Wet.
2006 Charlie Tan The Straits Times (National Day Supplement), 9 August, 17 Mee pok, dry.. I have it for breakfast regularly. When I was a boy, my mother would buy us mee pok for 20 cents a bowl from a roadside stall.  2006 Teo Pau Lin (quoting Wong Hon Mun) The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), 30 July, L28 I would have mee tai mak (short, thick noodles), either in soup or dry, with fishballs, pork balls or yong tau foo at this noodles shop near my house. It’s very good.

duku /duu-kuu, ˈdʊkʊ/ n. [Mal.] Also buah duku.  The plant Lansium domesticum var. domesticum; the edible fruit of this plant which is small with tan-coloured skin and segmented translucent flesh. The duku is a variety of the Langsat, but has sweeter flesh, smaller pips and a thicker peel, and is more oval in shape.
1865 John Cameron Our Tropical Possessions in Malayan India 157 Though I have particularly noticed the mangosteen and the durian, it is not because the supply of them is particularly great, but because they are peculiar to the Straits. The most abundant fruits are the plantain, or banana – of which there are about thirty different varieties, the pineapple, the jack fruit, the mango, the rambutan, the docoo, the orange, and the custard apple. The mangosteen is most plentiful in December, January, and February; the durian, of which there are two crops a year from the same tree, in June and July, and in December and January; and the docoo in November, December, and January.  302 But it is in the luxuriance of the dessert perhaps more than anything else that the tables of Singapore are to be distinguished, and it is little wonder that it should be so; for there is no season of the year at which an abundance of fruit cannot be obtained. .. There are plantains, ducoos, mangoes, rambutans, pomeloes, and mangosteens; the latter fruit is peculiar to the Straits of Malacca and to Java, and so great is its fame that to India or China no present or gift from Singapore is more acceptable than a basket of them.  397 Appendix I. LIST OF THE FRUITS TO BE FOUND IN THE BAZAARS OF THE STRAITS SETTLEMENTS [compiled by Dr. Ward].  398 Dookoo .. Lansium domesticum, Blume. “Bijdragen tot de Flora van Nederlandshe Indie,” 4 de stuk., p. 175 .. This delightful fruit is the produce of a large tree. It grows in clusters: each is about the size of a cricket-ball. The brownish thin skin being broken, displays the pulp in six cloves, of a pleasantly acid taste, enclosing a greenish kidney-shaped seed. It is by many reckoned the finest fruit in the peninsula. The month of July is the season at Malacca, in which it is had in greatest perfection.  1894 N.B. Dennys A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya 112 Duku. – A round fruit about the size of a lime, and containing a sweetish firm pulp in lobes like a mangosteen. It is generally liked by Europeans.  [1955 R.J. Wilkinson A Malay–English Dictionary, vol. 1, 289 There are two kinds of Lansium domesticum: the duku (oval; sweet; small pips) and the langsat (round, somewhat acid, larger pips). 2001 David Kraal The Straits Times (Life!), 20 February, L6 Granddaughter Carol had brought choice fruits – langsat, duku, chempedak.  [2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 45 buah duku/luku a local fruit belonging to the Lansium domesticum species]

Comb.duku-langsat n.  A cross between a duku and a langsat.
[2006 William Gwee Thian Hock A Baba Malay Dictionary 45 buah duku-langsat a fruit that is a cross between the duku and the langsat fruits]

Dumpling Festival n. [< the fact that Bak Chang (rice dumplings) are traditionally prepared and eaten during the festival]  Dragon Boat Festival.
2005 The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 June. Dumpling festival means little to young Chinese [title]

Back to the home page   Back to the top