Have you ever imagined what it would be like reading some of your favourite classic childhood storybooks in Singlish? Local poet Gwee Li Sui makes this vision a reality, rewriting some of the most iconic storybooks in Singlish—and you can even purchase them at Kinokuniya!
Image Credit: Kinokuniya
Li Sui reimagines classic and popular stories like Winnie The Pooh, The Little Prince, Peter Rabbit and Grimms’ Fairy Tales in a Singapore style, switching out the proper English language for quintessential Singlish phrases, even adding phrases like “lah”, “liao” and “anot” into the actual text.
Just look at the content page and excerpt from “Winnie-da-Pooh” (instead of Winnie The Pooh):
Gone is the grammatically correct, proper “Queen’s English” that we’ve been taught to emulate in school: pretty much all the words and sentence structures have been altered to fit the Singlish style, including various dialects as well, rendering the text almost unrecognisable and unreadable unless you’re familiar with Singlish.
As native Singlish speakers ourselves, reading just this short portion of the book almost gave us a headache. The incorporation of Singlish feels a little forced and somewhat cringey; and we’re pretty sure no one actually speaks Singlish in such an unnatural manner. Still, the book makes for a good laugh, and is relatable to almost all Singaporeans—just don’t expect your England to become more powderful after reading them.
If you want to see the full contents of these Singlish storybooks, you can check them out at Kinokuniya’s store, or buy them online. Kinokuniya stocks Winnie-da-Pooh (from $27.72), The Tale of Peter Labbit (from $27.89), The Leeter Tunku (from $27.89) and Grimms’ Fairy Tales in Singlish (from $27.89).
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