Listen to Podcast | Special: A Short Story in Singapore Teochew – My Uncle

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Podcast Transcript | Special: A Short Story in Singapore Teochew – My Uncle

Hello everyone! My name is Eugene and thanks for tuning into our Teochew – How Do You Say Podcast. For today’s podcast, we have a very special guest, Mr. Nigel Lim, 林仰忠老师. Some of you may be familiar with him, as apart from his experience as a radio DJ at Rediffusion and Capital 95.8FM, Mr. Nigel Lim has also performed in numerous television dramas in Singapore. For those who have attended our Teochew workshop before, you would also know that he teaches Teochew in Mandarin and is always very passionate to share about the Teochew language and culture! He is going to share with us a short story in our unique Singapore Teochew. We can’t wait, so let’s hear it now!


[本地潮州话版] 我的伯父

诐到我许个阿伯,真实是贰拉甲,在唐山来到石叻,就隆邦在阮大人的吉埃,食到乌笼大,还真舒甲佮人尖卟,峇鲁来无偌久,就佮一个娘惹交寅。大比交寅后,一日到暗长起咬罗,杂到阮大人勿会打汉,只好叫伊两个去找罗帮。

无偌久,伊人找到惹兰勿杀对面的巴刹里,就在许块开店北,后来唔知买着甚乜沙拉货,公班爷就发乞伊人一张三万。大比伊人全无拍流离,结局马打、大狗、暗牌佮清丁,拢来查,两个沙妈干拿着打汉,了还洛着马索罗甲,最后还着蜜早拉,蜜早拉输,两个沙妈着乌贡,因为无镭还,最后就面达阮大人替伊人担公。


Well, thank you, Mr. Lim! Wow, aren’t you captivated by his storytelling? How much of the story did you understand?

Here’s how it would have sounded in English, loosely tranlsated.

A Short Story in Singapore Teochew – My Uncle

If I must tell you about my uncle, I must say that he is really very unlucky. He came to Singapore from China, lived and worked as a helper in my father’s shop. Even though he is quite old, he still likes to socialize with others. As soon as he came to Singapore, he married the local native Chinese woman. And after they got married, they quarreled all day long. My father couldn’t stand the noise, so he asked them to look for work outside.

Soon, they found a place in the market opposite Jalan Besar road and opened a stall there. One day, the government issued a subpoena to them. Frankly, I don’t know what illegal goods they had bought, but I knew that my uncle ignored the subpoena. As a result, the police, inspector, the plainclothes detective and the customs officer came to check. In addition to being detained, they were also charged in court. When they lost the case, they were fined by the government. However, they had no money to pay for the fine. As such, my father had to be their guarantor.


[普通话版] 我的伯父

说到我那伯父,他可真是倒霉。他从中国来到新加坡,就在我父亲的店铺里寄宿兼当一个帮工。虽然年纪不轻了,还是喜欢与人交际来往。他刚来新加坡不久,就同以为土生华族女子结婚。可他们结婚后,一天到晚老吵架。吵得我父亲受不了,只好请他们两人到外头找活儿。

不久,他们在惹兰勿杀路对面的市场里找到一个地方,就在那儿开个小摊档。后来不知买了什么非法货物,政府就发了一张传票给他们,但他们不理睬。结果警察、警察长、便衣警探和关税人员都来检查。他们除了被扣留关押,最后还被控上法庭。打官司输了,两人被罚款。因为没钱还,最后还得求我父亲给他们做担保。


If you need the English or Mandarin Transcript, you can always find it on our website, LearnDialect.sg. Personally, I think the story is so much more fascinating when it is narrated in Teochew. Don’t you agree?

Now, did you notice that we used loanwords, that is – words borrowed from English or Malay or other languages – as well as local slangs in the story? To list a few of them, they are:

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
Marry交寅(结婚)Gao yin
(Malay)
Police马打(警察)Ma ta
(Malay)
Subpoena传票 (三万)Summons
(English)
Inspector警察长(大狗)(Local slang)
Plainclothes detective便衣警探 (暗牌)(Local slang)

Loanwords and slangs are partially why the Teochew language is unique in Singapore. It has a fair share of influences from the English, Malay and other languages too. Did you spot other loanwords being used? Or are you aware of other loanwords and slangs that are commonly used? If so, do share with us in the comments section below!

Once again, thank you, Mr. Nigel Lim, for sharing with us such a lovely story. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and thank you for listening in to our Teochew – How Do You Say Podcast. See you the next time!


Our Philosophy for Learning Teochew in Singapore

While we include formal romanization for Teochew words, we are advocates of easy learning. Hence we encourage you to form your own phonics so that you make an association with these Teochew words quickly. To illustrate, the formal romanization of “Teochew” is “diê ziu“. However, in our “Can You Teach Me” podcast transcript, you’ll find that we use “teo chew”, which we think relates to us better. That said, you may use other romanization (e.g “dio chew”, “dio jiu“, etc), as long as it helps you to make sense of what you hear.