Was at the farewell party for a German intern student recently. He had been attached to our lab for close to 6 months and this was his first trip to South East Asia. During the gathering, he mentioned a number of amusing and somewhat memorable incidents of his brief stay in Singapore.

Perhaps because I am already very Singapor-ised, or simply because I am familiar with a number of Chinese dialects, I must admit such incidents rarely happen to me, even from my first days in Singapore. Well, here is one which clearly stuck in my head.

While ordering some food at a stall that sells noodles, the lady behind the counter out-of-the-blue asked him: “Do you want me?”


Stunned and somewhat embarrassed silence from my intern.

Naturally, there is a perfectly logical explanation to this entire exchange. However, for the uninitiated, as is usual in Singapore, such brief conversations (which are typical by the way) often do require suitable translations in order for foreigners to understand.

What the stall-owner meant was: “We have a few types of noodles. Would you like to have mee (thin, egg noodle) or bee-hoon (wider, rice noodle) with your vegetables/meat/dishes?”

Hope this can be useful to anyone considering visiting Singapore in future… 🙂