Manglish, Singlish, Nasi Goreng – does it matter?

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By: Ghui

A certain level of rivalry between neighbouring countries is not uncommon. After all, familiarity breeds contempt. The Australians and the Kiwis engage in friendly bashing while the Americans and Canadians have also had their share of friendly competition. Singapore and neighbouring Indonesia and Malaysia are similarly not immune to the bait of nationalistic contention.

A recent example of this would be the Rio Ferdinard tweet that sent twitter sphere into overdrive, sparking a lively debate into the origins of Nasi Goreng.

Whether we like it or not, Singaporeans, Indonesians and Malaysians have more likenesses than they would care to admit. Besides sharing a very close geographical location, we enjoy largely similar cuisines and speak with analogous accents.

Is it really important where Nasi Goreng is from? Truth be told, it is considered a local delicacy in all 3 countries alike!

Makan aside, our common colloquialisms, street slangs and expressions are almost entirely analogous! The recent “Manglish” additions to the Oxford English Dictionary might as well be “Singlish” additions too! 

So, is it entirely right for any one country to claim these common expressions as their own?

At the end of the day, we are much less different than we think we are. Perhaps we should all agree to joint custody in food and language and finally put this enmity to rest!