Thursday, October 18, 2018

What's a 'Chinese helicopter' (Singlish)?



Movie 'Operation Red Sea', 《红海行动》 Hóng hǎi xíng dòng, directed by 林超贤 Lín chāo xián
PHOTO: Movie "Operation Red Sea", 《红海行动》 Hóng hǎi xíng dòng, directed by 林超贤 Lín chāo xián
Picture posted by Dante Lam Film
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http://old.zcool.com.cn/img.html#src=http://img.zcool.cn/community/01ddb05aa626fea80121246dba5684.jpg
http://old.zcool.com.cn/work/ZMjY1Mjc0MzY=/2.html



UPDATE: After some digging around, AsiaOne has managed to uncover the origins of the term 'Chinese helicopter'.

So just how did the strange term come about? It turns out the term, which refers to a person who received a Mandarin education, is actually a mispronunciation.

Apparently, the phrase originated in the army, when many soldiers and sergeants had problems pronouncing English words properly.

When the men laughed at the sergeants, they would respond by saying: "I'm Chinese educated."

Unfortunately, their poor pronunciation resulted in 'Chinese educated' sounding like 'Chinese helicopter'.



Apparently, the phrase originated in the army, when many soldiers and sergeants had problems pronouncing English words properly.
PHOTO: Apparently, the phrase originated in the army, when many soldiers and sergeants had problems pronouncing English words properly. When the soldiers laughed at the sergeants, they would respond by saying: "I'm Chinese educated." Unfortunately, their poor pronunciation resulted in 'Chinese educated' sounding like 'Chinese helicopter'.

'Chinese helicopter' could have originated in the sixties and seventies when the army expected instant obedience when being commanded in English. Any hesitation to answer promptly in English would result in being harshly reprimanded. The leaders were always very impatient and short-tempered; and certainly they cannot be laughed at. As subordinate that was asking to get into a casket. Some superiors who were proficient in English would make fun of their subordinates according to their "Rules of law" and "Principles".

"Rules of law" and "Principles" were in plural, as they could change anytime, anywhere and "any-o-how".
Please take note that not all our fore-fathers were "English educated", and during their National Service they would be in this unfortunate category to suffer such linguistic mockery.


The "abusers" were normally those who had far worse suffering like broken limbs, deep cut or tear in skin or flesh. Their body scars and handicaps were evidences of their life-threatening survival in real battles. Telling them that linguistic mockery hurts is like telling stories to a 3 years-old kid.

We would soon realise that they were "deaf" to our explanations, and "blind" to our sufferings. Only their mouths were shockingly "imperative" (important) all the time. It really could deliver to their heart's content, when anyone did what they saw fits.
Picture posted by sgag.sg - Moments now EVERYONE can enjoy
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https://img.sgag.sg/article_attachments/2018/03/2532_original_Meme5.png?1519980591
https://www.sgag.sg/posts/relatable-tekong-moments-now-everyone-can-enjoy-with-one-bmt



Singaporeans often take pride in our ability to converse with others using 'Singlish' - a unique amalgamation of various languages from different races and dialect groups in the country.

When Oxford English Dictionary announced its latest update, many found it quite 'shiok' (cool) to see 19 of these commonly used terms and phrases appear in the esteemed tome's lexicon.

We can now 'lepak' (hang out) with family and friends after a long and busy week of work and school, while foodies can check out local fare at the 'hawker centre' which offers yummy dishes such as 'char siu' (roast pork) and 'chili crab'.



The real helicopters are Heroes of the sky
PHOTO: The real helicopters are Heroes of the sky
Singaporeans often take pride in our ability to converse with others using 'Singlish' - a unique amalgamation of various languages from different races and dialect groups in the country.


We remember our real helicopters. Some may consider them insignificant, but our nation's security to war threats since after the 2nd World War, were greatly reduced by the presence of helicopters, navy ships of Malaysia, and armour tanks of Thailand. The land and sea are greatly protected by the help of our neighbouring countries, but we are still vulnerable to attacks from the sky. It has to be protected, and our helicopters, and other military aircrafts of the RSAF have been on duty ever since. Our relatively "safe haven" cannot be taken for granted.

Our daily safety depends on the sacrifice and diligence efforts of the RSAF together with our Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Home Team, and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). Our own Singapore Sons and Daughters; Ah Boys and Ah Girls, have contributed greatly to our Total Defence. By the grace and mercy of our Creator, may His blessings continue to descend upon us, keeping us safe and to live in a friendly environment.
 
The RSAF's first Super Puma arrived in 1985 and the Chinook in 1995. Since then, the two platforms have been deployed with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in numerous Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations and multinational exercises worldwide.
Picture posted by Tan Jun An, PIONEER Photographers & Courtesy of SAF Film Unit on 01 September 2016
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https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/wcm/connect/pioneer/5c332cfd-90a7-41b4-8d38-79a46560eaed/sep16_fs.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-5c332cfd-90a7-41b4-8d38-79a46560eaed-mm591Wu
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/ops-and-training/2018-dm/01Sep2016_01022

 

The calm of Marina Bay was shattered by a high-speed chase between intruders on jet skis and the navy’s rigid- hulled inflatable boats, as a CH-47 Chinook hovered above.
PHOTO: The calm of Marina Bay was shattered by a high-speed chase between intruders on jet skis and the navy’s rigid- hulled inflatable boats, as a CH-47 Chinook hovered above. This simulation was part of the Dynamic Defence Display.
ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM
Picture posted by The Straits Times, SPH Digital News on 10 August 2017 at 5:00 am SGT

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https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/bigger-better-display

 

 A CH-47 chinook helicopter of the Republic of Singapore Air Force flies low in an aerial display during the first national day parade rehearsal held in Singapore's Marina Bay on June 24, 2017.
PHOTO: A CH-47 chinook helicopter of the Republic of Singapore Air Force flies low in an aerial display during the first national day parade rehearsal held in Singapore's Marina Bay on June 24, 2017. Singapore will hold its National Day Parade at the Marina Bay on Aug 9.
Photo by Xinhua/Then Chih Wey
Picture posted by Xinhua on 25 June 2017 at 08:14:16

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http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/25/136392083_14983471713481n.jpg
http://www.xinhuanet.com//english/2017-06/25/c_136392083_5.htm



Other terms that made it into the dictionary include: 'ang moh', 'blur', 'HDB', 'killer litter', 'sabo', 'sabo king', 'sotong', 'teh tarik', 'wah', and 'wet market'.

However, most of us at AsiaOne are scratching our heads at 'Chinese helicopter,' which, according to Oxford's online dictionary, refers to a Singaporean who received their education in Mandarin and has limited knowledge of English.

Earlier mentions of the term in The Straits Times referred to it as a local slang with derogatory nuances.

Have you ever heard of or used this term?


Other terms that made it into the dictionary
PHOTO: Other terms that made it into the dictionary include: 'ang moh', 'blur', 'HDB', 'killer litter', 'sabo', 'sabo king', 'sotong', 'teh tarik', 'wah', and 'wet market'.
Have you ever heard of or used this term?
Picture posted by AsiaOne, minlee@sph.com.sg on 12 May 2016

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http://www.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/singlishwords.jpg
http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/whats-chinese-helicopter-latest-singlish-entry-oxford-dictionary-has-us-scratching


Some other commonly used in army camp are: [2]
The famous animal, "White horse" - individuals who are connected to influential people.

"On the Ball" - to be quick to understand and react to things.

"Burnt" - eg. "weekend burnt" means cannot go off but have training or guard duties.

'Wakeup your ideas" -  is a phrase told to a person who needs to pull up his/her socks or get a grip on his/herself for whatever reason.

"Sabo" - comes from the word "Sabotage", and it is used when someone intentionally plays a prank or does an act that causes harm, inconvenience or leads to the other party being punished.

"Heng Ah!" - a Hokkien word which means very lucky  or fortunate, like escape from an accident.

"Cannot Tahan" - mostly used in the Singaporean context to mean cannot endure or holding out.

Siam” - a Hokkien word which means to avoid or get out of the way - a rude exclamation.

 "Kena" - a Malay term which denotes that something has happened to someone or something. eg. "Kena extra" means have extra duty/duties, normally as a form of punishment.

Shag” - used to signify tiredness, exhaustion or fatigue.

Shiok” - means pleasing, enjoyable or pleasurable. “Shiok” is a term that is used when a person is enjoying him/herself.

"Cheem" - A Hokkien word that when translated means profound or deep.

. . . . . .


The real Helicopters are Heroes of the sky
PHOTO: The real Helicopters are Heroes of the sky
It is something you expect at every parade, but it never gets old. The Republic of Singapore Air Force using CH-47D Chinook helicopters against the intruders, in operation, barely 3 meters above water level.
Sent from "It is only through labour and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things." - Theodore Roosevelt using GAGT
Picture posted by Tong_Zhi, Arch-Supremacy Member on 24 June 2017 at 08:07 PM - rehearsal #1

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http://i68.tinypic.com/2ptt2cj.jpg
http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/eat-drink-man-woman-16/gpgt-24th-june-ndp-17-rehearsal-1-a-5643670.html
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/08/52nd-national-day-parade-2017.html


By AsiaOne, minlee@sph.com.sg, 12 May 2016



Reference
[1] AsiaOne, minlee@sph.com.sg, What's a 'Chinese helicopter'? Latest Singlish entry in Oxford Dictionary has us scratching our heads, posted on 12 May 2016, http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/whats-chinese-helicopter-latest-singlish-entry-oxford-dictionary-has-us-scratching

[2] Joshua Goh, A Guide to Singlish Part II, posted on 02 May 2014, https://thesmartlocal.com/read/singapore-slang-2