Friday, January 21, 2011

Silly Signs Part Seven

With six editions of "Silly Signs," I thought that I was pretty much running out of material around Singapore.  But it seems that there's a never-ending pool of ridiculous stuff to draw from around here.  I give you one of my all-time favorites: the "DO NOT TOUCH ME" elf.  Hilarious!  It looks like an ad to prevent molestation!  I want to turn it into a T-shirt and wear it when I'm having a bad day.  Despite the extreme seriousness, the sign was actually just about not touching the Christmas decorations at Jurong Point.
If you touch me, I will cry a big sad crocodile tear.

I found this next sign at Outram Park MRT station and I have to admit that I'm pretty mystified by it.  I'm guessing it's warning against scammers who are selling stones that they claim have magical powers?  Perhaps these stones hold special appeal for older Singaporeans, who seem to be much more superstitious than the younger generation.  As a middle-aged waiter at Casa Latina told us, "No, I am not superstitious.  Superstition is silly.  But I don't mess around with black magic.  Black magic is REAL.  And it's serious.  I don't mess around."   Bryan and I did our best to nod sympathetically and not burst into giggles as I grumbled something about casting the Avada Kedavra spell.
Hey, you wanna give me a load of cash for this rock I found in that drain over there?  No? forgot to tell you!  It's MAGICAL!!!!

In the year 2000, Singapore launched the "Speak Good English Movement" to encourage Singaporeans to use more grammatically correct English and less of the local Singlish patois.  They have a number of campaigns- some of them encourage Singaporeans to send in photos of grammatically incorrect signs so that they can be corrected, and another campaign posts signs of frequent Singlish phrases and how they can be corrected to be proper English.  I guess it's a good idea overall- it's good for Singaporeans, particularly those involved in business, to be able to speak proper English so that they can be understood by non-Singaporeans.  Although I have to say, I find Singlish endearing and expressive, so I hope the government never aims to eradicate it completely.  It's part of the local flavor.  And besides, if you're ever having a real problem understanding, that's what the Coxford Singlish Dictionary is for!
Borrow you $5?!  Wah, why you so cheapo, lah?!  Cannot.

I got the image of this next sign off of the Singapore Stomp site.  I've seen the signs several times but due to the nature of them, they're often in high-traffic areas where it would be awkward to stop to take a photo.  The signs are usually put up after very serious or fatal accidents and the figures at the bottom change depending on who was involved, e.g. if a lorry hit a motorbike, that's what would be on the sign instead of the taxi, van, and pedestrians portrayed in this one.  I've never seen anything like them in the U.S.
Walking can be dangerous business around here

So you see, I haven't yet run out of strange and unusual signs.  Bryan and I have a trip to an exciting destination planned for the first week of February, so we'll see if we run across any gems while we're there.  Stay tuned for more!


  1. I'm originally from Singapore now living in Dublin OH. Though I'm used to seeing signs like these some of them still crack me up! Thanks for posting the pics!

  2. I guess we traded places! I've spent most of my life in Canton, OH and now I live in Singapore. I'm glad this blog can give you a little taste of home! Enjoy!

  3. Hi,

    It is not only the language, but also the calendar ...

    Have you ever seen PUB's signs saying:
    "pipe laying works, completing 31-06-2010"? Just last weekend I saw the same with the date 30-02-2011.

  4. I know, I'm used to the MM-DD-YYYY format because that's how we do it in the US. Here, they use DD-MM-YYYY, and I always get confused when it's something like 03-04-2008, because I don't know whether they mean March 4th or April 3rd!

  5. No, I was not talking about the format, but the dates themselves :)

    I am mostly ok with the format: the only one that confuses me is 11 Jan 10. I am used to saying Jan 11, 10.

  6. Ohhh I was confused because I have seen the dates on the signs before. It's becoming more and more common in the U.S. to see road construction signs that say things like "Construction on I-77 will be completed on March 19, 2011" and often you see those signs still up on March 19, 2012, when they're still doing construction on that same patch of road, haha.

  7. But I assume in the US the posted dates are correct, not imaginary? It always puzzles me here when they say they'll finish on a date that does not exist! Does that mean they will never finish? Just getting metaphysical ...