Singapore’s Can Can Attitude

Merlion (My Memories)
Image via my flickr.

I love Singapore! I was privileged to call the Lion City home for about 18 months and my youngest daughter was even born there.

Just about everything you’ve probably heard about Singapore is true. It is clean. It is modern. It is amazing.

How did this tiny, crowded island with extremely limited resources manage to make itself a relevant commercial and cultural hub? I’m convinced that it’s because of their Can Can attitude.


Can, simply means “Yes, I can.” If you ask a Singaporean to do something quick and easy they will likely respond with a quick can.

No Can

Initially, you would think that No Can just means “No, I cannot.” But, you’d be wrong. It actually means something more along the lines of “I’m terribly sorry, but I am unable to comply with your wishes.”

Can Can

My favorite version of all, Can Can, signifies “Yes, of course I will do the thing which you have asked me to do as it would give me great honor and satisfaction.”

Singapore Chinatown (Pop Punch)
Image via my flickr.

Although discouraged by the government’s Speak Good English campaign, Singlish is a hybrid of the four official languages spoken in Singapore.

So, although the words spoken are often English in origin, the meaning behind is uniquely Singaporean.

Regrettably, I only know a little Singlish, but I do, however, speak fluent Texican.

Do you speak or know of any hybrid languages? Which one(s)? What words or concepts stand out to you? Sound off in the comments below.


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