26 January 2005

Can Lah!

X: makkan?
Y: can
X: Orchard Road can?
Y: can lah!

This is one of the typical conversations that you would hear in Singapore. "Can" is a very popular word in Singapore and freely used for any affirmation. It would mean "yes", "ok", "will do" and of course "can". You can survive with just these two words. The "Can Lah" makes you a local :)

It props up in almost all the conversations that you have. There have been quite a few incidents when I've been totally confused with what the others were replying. I used to wonder why they don't reply with a straight forward "yes" or "no". It was only much later that I came to know that sometimes they used to be confused with my straightforward "yes" and "no". It was much easier to use "can".

You can see the difference in me when you look at one of my conversations with a taxi driver:

Me: Suntec can?
TD: can
(I get in)
TD: AYE can?
Me: can

This gets translated to
Me: Would the taxi come to Suntec?
TD: yes, get in
TD: Can we go via the AYE?
Me: yes we can.

So if your are planning to come to Singapore learn the art of using "Can Lah".

PS: Lah can be used at the end of any statement!!


Chakra Sampath said...

this is a gud one.. wd remember that when i visit Singai next.. whenever it is!

PVS said...

Thanks Chakra, do remember to visit us when you come here