Saturday 4 August 2018

Paris got Bak Kut Teh?

I got this joke from my Facebook feed.


You want to know we find it so funny?

Its because we are laughing at ourselves!

Hands up to those of you who have mispronounced European designer brand names for years until you sheepishly discovered your mistake?

Don't believe?

Want to try the most mispronounced designer names?



Yves Saint Laurent

Ralph Lauren

Want to bet most of you will get the last one wrong?

It looks the simplest but its a trick I've just played on you. 

Now we have Youtube's How to Pronounce... You people can check it out for yourselves!

Ralp Lauren is an American brand (you idiot). You pronounce "Lauren" in the normal American way. 

But because I've primed you with fancy European way of pronouncing before, especially placing "Yves Saint Laurent" in front of "Ralph Lauren", most of you would have pronounced "Lauren" as "Laurent"... 

Got you! You pretentious you!

This goes to show how subtle we snake oils can get into your heads without you realising. Wink.

Notice the similar technique is used in seminars or workshops?

Tell a joke; everyone laughs.

Guards down. Disarm.

Pretend to lead your flock in one direction; actually you leading them elsewhere.

Next time you come out of a seminar or motivational workshop, go into the toilet.

Look into the mirror.

If you aware, you may see the fish hook in your mouth.

You may want to pull it out.

No need to thank me.

Just buy me coffee!


  1. Hi smol,

    I super bad at pronouciation, even my pupils laugh at me ... Hahahaha
    So sad.

    I also know why, when I am.relax, singlish come out of my mind, Chinese can be in singlish too ok.

    I try to be mindful and speak good standard Chinese in class, but cannot bring myself to do it any more when meeting pupils at the canteen. Lol

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      We can engaged in Singlish in casual settings. Its fun and relaxing. Its our Singapore identity. I speak it proudly! I'm not ashamed.

      Even big daddy during election time will use it to "chu pattern"!

      However, we must be conscious to switch back to Standard England in formal settings.

      Our mandarin standard is even worse than our england. Not many can speak a full sentence in Mandarin without using dialects or england words in between (I struggle too).

      I remember a funny episode by Mediacorps (or known as SBC then) trying to "educate" us to pronounce 华山 the "right" way in their period drama.

      My chinese teachers have been teaching us "wrong" all these years... It should be pronounced as "化"?


  2. My pupils ask me, Cher why u a little hooligan,

    I replied why must add the adjective little haha

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      That's a good one!

      Would sound better if your pupils had asked why you talk like 大哥!?

      And not like 小混混?


  3. Hi smol

    I always have problem to pronounce especially those with the "R" will sound terrible if come out from my mouth cos... my 舌头打结

    1. sy sy,

      I'm having some naughty thoughts about your tongue and its implications...

      Better not write it out.

      If you got "flirty" jie-meis, go ask them about what you've just said ;)

      I am horrible!


  4. Hi SMOL,

    I think that it is alright, This is a Singapore style of communication. Who know this will become a legacy in time to come.


    1. Ben,

      It already is our legacy!

      Big daddy tried, but nobody can put it down.

      The most will be like the "banning" of our Chinese dialects for decades, then change mind after 60/40 split.

      Now speaking dialects is cool again ;)

  5. Hi SMOL,

    The more unpronounceable, the more the Emperor's New Clothes logic applies. ;)

    Brand names are merely metonyms for social demarcation.

    So is language - the authenticity of it or a lack thereof.

    Hmm...I wonder if the naming of herpes or hermes came first. :P

    1. Endrene,

      Yup. That's how the wealthy distinguish nouveau riche from old wealth.

      Language, or rather how we speak it, and in what accent is how we tell those who studied at "attas" schools from those who were from "every school is a good school" ;)

      From those graduated from local U and those who studied overseas.

      We can deck ourselves with branded stuffs all we want, the moment we open our mouths we reveal who and where we came from ;)

      You can take a girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out from a girl.

    2. Quote : You can take a girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out from a girl.

      Literature was one of those subjects taught during my time for lower secondary. This book My Fair Lady

    3. CW,


      You still remember your literature!

      My time it was Oliver Twist and To Kill a Mocking Bird.

      Literature is a reflection of life.

      If we can analyse and dissect the characters in a novel, we can also "read" people in real life.

      Those who intend to have a career in sales or aspire towards entrepreneurship, take up Literature!

      (Those who are teaching Literature, I've just given you some tips on how to "market" Literature to your students. If more students drop Literature for O' levels, you'll be out of a job!

      If you need the services of a sellsword to give talks at your school, you know where to find me. Wink)

    4. Haha, that's why I am always just an educated Ah Lian and damn proud of it! :P

      Precisely that you can take the 村姑 out of the 村子 but never the 村子 out of the 村姑 !

    5. Endrene,

      You are proud to be Ah Lian; I take pride as a man-whore.


  6. Some will say the jokes and laugh already worth the tickets. :-)

    Investment and MLM seminars are never boring. Great story telling and jokes sharing are part of the fun.

    1. CW,

      The most expensive tickets are those that are "free" or cost very little!

      It all fun and games until you walked out $1-3K poorer..

      So you are like Clinton?

      Only smoked; never inhaled?

      How to earn money from you like that?


  7. Hi SMOL,

    Hmm, applying your lessons, I'm wondering if you are priming your readers.

    First the title is Paris there's indication of food.

    Secondly, in the picture there's cafe, so there's indication of coffee.

    Third, you used branded name, so there's indication of coffee and food, but not JUST any coffee and food. Must of a certain class.

    Fourth, you throw in a joke or two, so everyone gets disarmed...this is just a harmless little 'poke' on your face book feed.

    Fifth, you mentioned looking at yourself in the mirror, so you 'reflect' your gift of a joke to me, while I have to 'reflect' something back to you. It's important to reciprocate. Just what is that something I have to gift back to you? hmm...

    Sixth, you close it off with a coffee. In fact, not 'just a coffee'. Possibly an atas (branded) one, with food (notably baguette) and drinks, with an ambience like in a Paris cafe...

    1. LP,

      Ar ber then?

      Nothing is more crystal than a real life example!

      Theory and precise definitions with 2 decimal places I can't do.

      So I'll stick with eating my own cooking!

      I've never ate at Paris Bak Kut Teh before. I don't mind if someone would buy me coffee there!

      I normally go to Delifrance for the tuna sandwiches and my caffeine fix ;)

    2. SMOL,

      You go for Delifrance. I go for coffee-siew tai and toast at hawker centre.

      Three type of coffee sets but different class.



    3. Ben,

      Coffee the best is still mom's brew!

  8. Hi SMOL,

    Hahaha, you know what, I just read the post and I was at airport there when I saw the exact shop.. Jade read your post too and she immediately wanted to go in and try some coffee and buy some bread. Die lah, kena primed liao...

    It's like watching a movie with KFC logo inside, then once you're out of the cinema, you felt like eating KFC and you wonder why??


    1. LP,

      Idiot! I should've asked for advertorial fee from Paris Bak Kut Teh!

      At least must give me free coffee mah :(

      Hmm. Next time I must go try and ask for bak kut soup, yutiao, and rice. See what's their reaction!?


  9. Speaking of coffee... On weekends, when le wife wakes up after me, she will demand that I make her a cup of kopi orh luak.

    Cafe Au Lait.

    1. Patty,


      For a moment, I was scratching my head what has orh luak to do with kopi???

      Oh! Goal, goal, goal! Ole, ole, ole!

      Your wife got attas taste!

      And I thought IPOH white coffee is power enough!

    2. SMOL,

      You can consider trying the "50s" coffee stall at Chinatown Complex. It's equivalent to 5 cups to one cup at PGBKKT.


    3. Ben,


      I'll try it next time I'm at Chinatown ;)


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