Thursday, January 8, 2009


i was at cuteLittleAngel's blog and saw this interesting article on MANGLISH, or rather Malaysian English.. super hilarious... believe it or not, many foreigners are interested in Manglish, but sometimes, it takes a Malaysian to understand what another Malaysian is saying. There is no special rules or classes for Manglish, it's a language all Malaysian pick up along the way. Very Malaysian indeed... Manglish is a very expressive language... proud of it~

i think it's okay to use Manglish, as long as you can also switch to proper English when you want/need to (eg: in formal events) :)

Malaysia scored a victory when 'lah' was finally introduced into the official Oxford English Dictionary. However, most Malaysians were less happy to see the entry listed its usage as Singaporean English, rather than Malaysian English.

oh, i'm feeling sooooo Malaysian today~
(/lɑ́/ or /lɑ̂/), a multi purpose magic word used at the end of a sentence

Lah is often used with brusque, short, negative responses:

  • Don't have, lah! (Brusque response to, "Lend me some money, can?")
  • Don't know already, lah!(Brusque response to someone fumbling with an explanation. Mostly by Chinese.)

Lah is also used for reassurance:

  • Don't worry, he can do it one lah - Don't worry, he can [do it].
  • It's okay lah - It's all right.

Lah can also be used to emphasize items in a spoken list, appearing after each item in the list.

  • They got sell Nasi Lemak lah, Roti Canai lah, Chapatti lah; Everything got lah!
- Used when giving something to another person, often in a rude or impolite way.
- eg -Nah, take this!

- Used when asking questions, especially when a person is skeptical of something.
- eg - Cannot meh?, Really meh?

- Means "already"
- eg- No stock liao; i makan liao; angry liao?

ah/ ak
- Used at the end of sentences, unlike meh the question is rhetorical.
- Also used when asking a genuine question.
- Besides that, some people use it when referring to a subject before making a (usually negative) comment.
- eg Why is he like that ah?, Is that true ah?, My brother ah, always disturbs me!

- Used when explaining something.
- Like that lor..

- Derived from the word "already".
- Often used in online chatroom by the youth in Malaysia, although in speech, speakers will often pronounce as 'ridy'
- eg I eat 'd' 'loh', I eat 'ridy'

- Used to soften an order, thus making it less harsh, sometimes can be persuasive.
- eg Give me that le; come here le..

- Used as an emphasis at the end of a sentence.
- Why is he so naughty one ah?

- Unlike British/American English, the word 'what' is often used as an exclamation mark, not just to ask a question.
- eg What! How could you do that?, I didn't take it what.

- Used as a literal translation from the Malay word 'ada'.
- The arrangement of words is often also literally translated.
- The use of this particular particle is widespread in Manglish, where 'got' is substituted for every tense of the verb 'to have'.
- eg You got/have anything to do? (Kamu ada apa-apa untuk buat?), Got or not? (Really?), Where got? (To deny something, as in Malay "Mana ada?", and also in Chinese "Nali you?" as spoken in Malaysia)
Align Centertable from wikipedia
some other Manglish terms i use

- revive from the Chinese word
-eg- i don't want de; go where de?

-means take away, comes from the Chinese word
-eg- can help me dapau?; i'll like to dapau

-means eaten
-eg- makan liao? Wanna go where makan?

-being skeptical about something
-like the term 'really?' in English

- requesting someone to join or participate or go somewhere
-eg- jom makan!

-often expressing grossness or disgust
-eg- eiyer, so geli....
-eg- eiyerrr, don't like this lar...

-feeling happy beyond words, awesome
-eg- so syok!, syoknya!

- cun can also used to describe a sexy girl

-direct translation from Cantonese means 'drink tea', but in Manglish, means socializing with friends and having supper in a mamak store, usually at night.
-one of Malaysian's culture, is order a drink, eg: teh tarik (tea) or milo, and chat till past midnight, till the odd hours of the morning...
-eg- jom, yamchar!

-from the term mamak (a slang for Indian or Indian Muslims), it is used to refer to Indian restaurants in Malaysia, usually selling roti canai (fried flour) and satay.

-revive from the Malay word which means 'drink', but in Manglish, usually alcoholic related
-eg- let's go minum!

-To reverse, especially in the context of driving motor vehicles.
-eg- i need to gostan my car.

- ashamed, embarrassed/embarrassing. 'pai seh' is of Hokkien origin
-eg- I kena punish lah... very pai-seh eh!

- a very interesting work used in tight situation, when facing a difficult problem. it does not means that he/she want to commit suicide.
-eg- Die-lah!

action - show-off

aiksy/lan si - arrogant, overconfident. 'Aiksy' possibly derived from 'acting up'; 'lan si' is of Cantonese origin.

blur- confused, out-of-it. Roughly equivalent to "spacey" in American slang.

slumber - relaxed, laid-back; possibly a conflation of the Malay "selamba", meaning nonchalant, and the English "slumber".

here are few more terms, and no, they are NOT proper English!
pass up – to hand in "Pass up your assignments"
rubber – meaning eraser as in "Can I borrow your rubber?"
spoil – to be damaged "This one, spoil, lah."
chop – to stamp (with a rubber stamp), as well as the stamp itself.
outstation - out of town
photostat - photocopy
mee - noodles

apa gui?
-i especially like this term, neologism invented by shinLoo, apa-in Malay language, gui-in Mandarin, basically used in frustration... a milder version of 'wtf!'...

references: wikipedia,


  1. i think maybe u r really too bored being a medical student,hahaha. btw...where is ur creepy winter header of ur blog?it's still chilling winter at my place:P , although i know msia is always hot n kind of awkward snowing in tropica background

  2. i actually got a russian fren who picked up 'lah'. but trust me when they say it i felt so weird.. i felt like 'hey, dun steal my culture please, mind ur own!'.. LOL.. but of course didn't say tat.. they have a weird sound to it anyway... :P

  3. okay this is totally not related to your blog post...hahaha..

    can i have you house address please? im sending u a CNY card leh...(oops 'leh' is part of manglish)

    email me la (there you go again the use of 'lahs') at

    thanks ar ('ar' oso manglish issit?) hahahaha

  4. Robinson crusoe, yeah.. i should have titled it : 'How to learn Manglish in 1 day?' or 'Manglish for dummies'... hehe...
    sine nomine, can't afford to be bored anymore, exams around the corner :(
    haha! snowing in tropica background nice what.. i've never actually seen real snow before... some imagination would be nice~
    bingwui, we should share our culture~ hehe... after all, sharing is caring... having other ppl picking up our language is something we should be proud of (isn't it?)
    poh lin,
    yeay! yeay! yeay!! got Chinese New Year card~~ la,la,la~~~ *so happy*
    i'll email to you my home address asap =)
    you cannot use too many Manglish leh, after your cute students might pick it up, hoho~ (then again, it's okay)

  5. hohoho... always proud to be malaysian, to be living the malaysian culture!


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of love

Today, i heard a story which was not a story of falling...
of living in the dark end of winter turmoil..
instead, it was a love story..
of a couple who did not live happily ever after...
but they live, loving each other..