Commentary: From pop concerts in Singapore to cocktails in New York, Singlish is becoming a global commodity

Commentary: From pop concerts in Singapore to cocktails in New York, Singlish is becoming a global commodity

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What is terminology commodification? The term “language commodification” describes the process of translating a speech into a product that may be promoted and sold.

There are many cases of Singlish being commodified. The most obvious is found in products that contain Singlish statements or expressions. One can see many stores selling T- tops, carriers, badges and mugs with Singlish words printed on them, making them quirky tourist souvenirs.

Another prime example of Singlish being commodified is the New York City martini table. Not only is the table named Singlish, it likewise sells Singlish- named wines.

Commodification can also be seen in ads. International organizations, from McDonald’s to Subaru, apply Singlish in their marketing efforts as part of their marketing strategy to appeal to local consumers.

Singlish is used by the state as a packaging exercise when it wants Singaporeans to feel proud of their country, as evidenced by the Singlish floats that were paraded during the SG50 National Day festivities in 2015, as well as Singlish banners and social media posts that were used to promote Singapore Day events for foreigners.

The government recruited Singapore’s much-loved company Phua Chu Kang, the principal character in the well-known 1990s TV sitcom, for a series of rap music videos to transmit important health information during the SARS and COVID- 19 pandemics.

Singlish statements were frequently used throughout these films. The COVID- 19 movies for as Getting Your Shot, Steady Pom Pi Pi, and PCK- Singapore Get Steady!, went zoonotic and caught the attention of foreign media. To date, both films have received 1.7 million views on YouTube.