English as it is Broken… is broken.

The two English as it is Broken books shown above contain photos of signs and responses to people who’ve written in to a weekly column in The Straits Times with questions about English usage.

(For a listing of all four books and then some, see the earlier post, Books on Singapore English.)

The quality of the answers in the two books has been disparaged, but I think most of the explicit explanations are informative even if they are not expressed perfectly.

Below are an example answer I like and one I don’t.

Continue reading English as it is Broken… is broken.

Dengue warrior

It would be hard to overstate the extent to which I hate mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are deadly serious. But this banner is still funny.

For one thing, that warrior, with his Roman helmet, looks really out of place in Southeast Asia. The text at the bottom takes the cake, though.

It says:

SILENT WAR. FIGHT DENGUE. SAVE LIFE

Lists that aren’t parallel are a pet peeve of mine. Lists should be all nouns or all verbs. Here we’ve got a noun and two imperatives. Sigh.

Furthermore, that ‘life’ should be ‘lives’. The fact that it isn’t testifies to the frequency of singular/plural errors in Singapore.

And then finally, there’s no punctuation after the last item of the list!

I recommend:

WAGE WAR · FIGHT DENGUE · SAVE LIVES

Now I’m totally with you, out-of-place Roman centurion.

Chasing JM Ice

I admit to a level of interest in the vehicles of Singapore that I cannot easily explain. Arguably the focus of this strange fascination is the fleet of about forty numbered ice trucks belonging to JM Ice, I suppose because the trucks are very distinctive and colorful.

I kind of assume that each JM Ice truck has its own territory (truck 37 seems to hang out in Chinatown). The ones I haven’t seen are probably ones that go to parts of Singapore I’m not usually in. The highest number I’ve seen is 38. Sometimes I get photos, but it’s hard when the trucks are on the move!

Below is a record of the ice trucks I’ve seen (including a couple of trucks belonging to JM Ice’s competitors).

Continue reading Chasing JM Ice

Who says I never read murder mysteries!

I am currently reading what is essentially a murder mystery (set in revolutionary Boston but with magic). I almost never do that. This book was signed by the author and recommended and given to me by the person it was signed for (my brother’s housemate).

Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson
Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson

At some point I realized that by an odd coincidence, the book I read immediately prior to this one was ALSO essentially a murder mystery (actually a contemporary thriller, set in the UK). It is ALSO signed by the author.

Bitter Fruits by Alice Clark-Platts
Bitter Fruits by Alice Clark-Platts

I did not read these two in a row on purpose. And actually, it turns out I didn’t really read them in a row; there was a YA fantasy novel in between that I read in one sitting. It’s just that I’m trying to read books more or less in reverse order as they come into my possession, and these are both books I got recently. And they’re not that much alike—they’re not even the same size!—except that they both revolve around murder cases and they’re both signed.