Singaporelang-What the Singlish? by Zinkie Aw

We’ll be at Objectifs on 16 September to listen to Zinkie Aw talk about the concept and stories behind her new photography collection, ‘Singaporelang — What the Singlish?’,  a visual Singlish dictionary.

(from the press release)

In this photo-language book, there are 40 photographs and a dictionary of 100 peculiar Singapore English language that attempts to define the vocabulary. These terms are translated into the 4 main languages.

Readers are encouraged to give meaning to each photographed scene by guessing the Singlish. It is akin to playing Charades, where each reader fills in the blanks on what each photograph scene says to him or her. More often than not, the answers are not limited to just one Singlish phrase for each photograph. Hence, one is invited to interact with the photographs and curate their own Singlish glossary terms.

The design of the book encourages the reader to caption the portraits with the attached stickers. There are blank speech bubble stickers that allow one to fill in the blanks. One is also prompted to pen their own notes in the Singlish glossary section, as a notebook-manner.

This project also features the man on the street as first-time models and voice talents. This wacky series remind us that the possibilities of transposing Singlish — a language — to the visual format, is possible.

Additionally, there are two observational essays about Singlish in this book. The first is by English instructor and conultant Dan Kerson (who goes under the pseudonym ‘Angmodan’), and another penned by graduate from the Linguistic and Multilingual Division in Nanyang Technological University, Gloria Tan.

See you there!

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