SINGAPORE: Singlish is a phenomenon that can be complex and puzzling for non-Singlish speakers, as one visitor from the United Kingdom found out.

“I’m struggling with English in Singapore,” explained a TikTok user who goes by @jackthebackpacker in a video he uploaded on Monday (Nov 21). The online personality, who posts content about cars and travel, has uploaded several videos from his visit to Singapore.

And the one that’s gotten the most content is the one about his struggles with Singlish. It has also drawn a fair number of comments from people defending it.

@morejackthebackpacker

I’m struggling with English in Singapore #singapore

♬ original sound – morejackthebackpacker

“Right now I’m in Singapore and I’m really struggling to understand people’s English here. I’m a fully native speaker so I never ever had any problems with understanding people’s English and accents but here they have a very strong accent,” he said.

Jack the Backpacker added that with Singlish, ordinary sentence structures in English are “heavily” modified to the point of being “almost unrecognisable.”

He ended his video by saying, “In my Taxi yesterday, the driver was telling me all sorts of things, and I just had no idea what he was saying.”

Commenters on his video noted that Singlish often uses shorthand, with one saying it’s “quick, fast and easy” and another noting that it’s “the most efficient form of English.”

And when one commented, “you have to used to it,” Jack the Backpacker answered, “Exactly,” with a laugh-cry emoji.

“Lol.. that sentence sums it up,” another replied.

Last week, a TikTok video from an American woman in Singapore went viral for a similar reason. The woman, who’s been living in Singapore for less than a year, said that one phrase in particular has “really troubled” her and has been “hard to get used to hearing.” The culprit was the phrase “wait a while,” as the expectations of how long exactly “a while” should take differ among English speakers.

Jenna, who moved from Montana 10 months ago, took to TikTok to document her troubles with “wait a while” this week, drawing sympathetic troubles from many. /TISG

Read also: Swiss woman says, in SG, queueing, chope, Singlish, calling people “Uncles & Aunties” are ‘bizarre Singaporean habits’

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