Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mee Siam Mai Hum

Our dearest PM had made a goof during his National Day Rally Speech. Much had been said on his now (in)famous Mee Siam Mai Hum.
Mee siam is a local Singapore dish, basically it's vermicelli served in spicy soup with other ingredients.

Hum means cockles in Hokkien. Mai Hum simply means "No cockies please".

"Mee Siam Mai Hum" would simply refer to ordering a bowl of mee siam without cockles.
Our PM mentioned the phrase as an exmaple on how he can "connect" with Singapore heartlanders just as easily as mr brown's (a local blogger) bak chor mee (another local dish) man.

So what is so funny? Well, unfortunately mee siam DO NOT go with cockies in the first place. The phrase "mee siam mai hum" is kinda of similar to "no durian in my steak please" Thus, our PM's effort in showing how "connected" he is totally backfired.

What to make of this? Surely it is unintended mistake on our dear PM's part. I think he was meant to say "mee siam mai hiam", which means "mee siam with no chilli please". However, his poor command of basic singlish let him down. Well, maybe it is partly because his English is so perfect, so Standard Queen English that he would have grave difficulties in understanding the local slang. Our PM has to speak to international leaders and foreign talents (in proper English!) regularly and so it is not strange for him to find such local slangs very foreign.

Beside, a lowly dish like mee siam would not consist of any part of his regular diet and so his unfamilarity with the local dish is understandable. Our PM has to provide valuable leadership to all Singaporeans day in, day out. He has to eat the most nutritious food for the benefits of all Singaporeans, otherwise Singapore might just disintegrated, with riots etc.

YET yet....Our PM made the effort to "connect" with ordinary Singaporeans. Such a noble effect should be rightly praised and clapped upon. I hope fellow Singaporeans can focus on the kind intentions that our PM has and moved on from this honest mistake.

Despite the mistake, we are allowed to enjoy the podcast and the ringtone. So enjoy!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

He has made himself the joke of town. It is every blogger's dream with a vengeance. Blame his speech writer. Now this "harm" is subject to every imaginable interpretation.

For my part, what he really means is: me siam(I avoid), mai harm(no harm). A mix of english and hokkien

Wed Aug 23, 04:34:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some team made up of mostly government scholars usually carefully research and write such speeches. These scholars in turn become the new generation leading the country - because any casual observation would make one realise that its hardly possible to rise to any top position in the SAF, Police force, Government Ministry WITHOUT being a scholar. RARE exceptions exist, but they are, RARE.

Wed Aug 30, 08:07:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He did not make an unintended mistake. In such important speeches, he would have checked, doubled checked his script.

And if he really meant to say "Laksa mai hum" as the PMO's issued statement said, it is inconcieveable that the Prime Minister did not correct himself on the spot. Unless, of course, he does not know that mee siam has no hum, or the difference between mee siam and laksa.

Wed Jan 17, 09:21:00 PM 2007  

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