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Singapore

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Efros
213825.  Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:46 pm Reply with quote

In Malay Singapura, the Lion City although the Lion referred to is now widely thought to be a tiger. Lying at the bottom of the Malaysian peninsula, Singapore is linked to Malaysia by a causeway carrying rail and road traffic. Used as the model for the tiger economies Singapore is probably unparalleled in the far east in terms of its economic strength.

 
strewth
214102.  Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:18 am Reply with quote

Efros wrote:
In Malay Singapura, the Lion City although the Lion referred to is now widely thought to be a tiger.


Hi all. I've been a lurker for a while, but I felt compelled to post here. Vested interests, so to speak. :P

Anyway not too long ago, my professor highlighted to us another possible hypothesis about the etymology of the name Singapura. In Javanese, gapura means gate or gateway, and anything with the suffix 'cin' was in reference to China, and on old maps [I forget, 15th, 16th century maybe?] of the region, 'Cingapura' was more commonly used as a term to describe the region and only came to be used to describe the island itself later on, so in actual fact, instead of being known as the 'Lion City', it could actually mean 'Gateway to China'. That was to the amazement of all the Singaporeans in the class who always took the name as a given. Btw singa means Lion, but I'm sure most of you erudite scholars know it and I'm just embarrassing myself by reiterating that.

If I got any of the details here wrong, I'm dreadfully sorry. My history professor would be positively ticked off, as he always is when we evince such horrendous memory of what he tried so hard to teach us... ;)

 
samivel
214130.  Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:21 am Reply with quote

Welcome :)

 
Neotenic
214134.  Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:27 am Reply with quote

Singapore prints its name in no less than four different languages on the back of its coins.

Can any other countries beat that?

I thought Singapore meant 'Lion City' myself - and there is a whacking great Merlion (head of a lion, body of a fish) on Sentosa Island, looking out over the port.

 
Archie
214155.  Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:07 am Reply with quote

The one on Sentosa is actually a replica of the original which is now in Marina Bay. Interestingly, the replica is larger than the orignal. I think there are five merlion statues in various place around Singapore.

 
Efros
214167.  Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:33 am Reply with quote

I think if I remember rightly it has four official languages, English, Malay, Tamil and Chinese (which one I'm not sure).

 
suze
214171.  Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:42 am Reply with quote

You do remember rightly, and it is Mandarin.

 
Efros
214183.  Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:57 am Reply with quote

Yeah I lived there for a couple of years as a kid, some 37 years ago .




"Majulah Singapura!!"


Last edited by Efros on Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:02 am; edited 1 time in total

 
strewth
214185.  Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:59 am Reply with quote

Thanks for the welcome samnivel. :)

Btw, warning, long post ahead. To briefly explain why I have so much to say, I guess I have to admit that this is where I call home.

Anyway Singapura does officially mean 'Lion City' in Malay, in turn derived from Sanskrit terms. It's quite interesting where the name comes from, because legend has it that in the 14th century some prince called Sang Nila Utama came to Singapore and apparently spotted a lion on the shore, hence, the name. But note that this story is derived from the Sejarah Melayu, a Malay literary work which is both fiction and fact linked together in a rather fascinating mix. I haven't actually read it myself, but my friends who are academics in that field are indubitably very fascinated by it since they can't stop waxing lyrical about it even to a Southeast Asian neophyte like myself whose eyes glaze over once I hear any thing about the Sejarah Melayu.

Pardon the digression. Anyway here's an interesting youtube clip that basically retells the Singapore story in a rather entertaining fashion, by some local comedian as part of IndigNation 2006, the country's inaugural GLBT pride season. There's another video that raises the issue of English as it is spoken in Singapore, or the colloquial form of English known as Singlish and trust me, it really reflects pretty much all that you hear around these parts and it is hee-larious.

More digressing here, tangentially related to the topic of IndigNation. Yes, Singapore just had its first GLBT pride season only last year, and it was a long time coming. Here, you can see a clip of Ian McKellen supporting this year's IndigNation, filmed while he was here for the run of King Lear/The Seagull. Indeed, despite being an ostensibly developed and arguably liberal country, there is still a strong sense of conservatism that is pervasive in society, especially as perpetuated by a government that seems wary of change on some level. For instance, section 377 of the Penal Code states that "Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animals, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine." I suppose progress is still extremely limited on some fronts, to the dismay of much of the population.

Anyway terribly sorry for spamming the forum. I suppose this is a case of me making up for all the time I didn't say a thing. ;)

 
Jenny
214233.  Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:20 pm Reply with quote

You and your information are both very welcome strewth :-)

 
Susannah Dingley
563532.  Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:44 am Reply with quote

Did you know? The sign for the letter T in American Sign Language (consisting of a clenched fist with the thumb between the forefinger and the middle finger)



is an obscene gesture in Singapore. The obscene gesture is usually made with the fist horizontal rather than pointing upwards as in the pciture.

There, just thought you might like to know. I know this because Ive been in Singapore myself. And Im glad to say that my observation is confirmed on this website.

Well, I suppose, when we get to the Series S, Stephen Fry might well ask a question like: Why is Singapore not a good place for deaf Americans?

 
ChristopherRobin
597643.  Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:11 am Reply with quote

On 9 August 1965, Singapore became a fully independent nation. (It had ceased to be a British colony in 1959, and become part of the Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak in 1963.) Today is National Day in Singapore.

 
zomgmouse
597675.  Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:08 am Reply with quote

Susannah Dingley wrote:
an obscene gesture in Singapore.

And not only in Singapore; it's quite rude in Russian too.

 
dr bartolo
735006.  Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:58 am Reply with quote

just a comment upon the g-series episode "future"- stephen's pronuciation of singlish is entirely inaccurate-if he were to pronounce singlish like that in singapore, the locals would collapse laughing .For a start, the words "lay leo" and 'lo lex' are simply idosyncratic singaporean pronounciations of the words 'radio' and 'rolex' even then, the manner of pronounciation would be considered very bumpkinish,reserved for the coarse lower class"ah beng"

 
Jenny
735009.  Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:12 am Reply with quote

Welcome dr bartolo - and maybe you could tell us some more about Singlish?

 

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