10 Army lingos every Singaporean should know

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Apart from the usual Singaporean lingo, the Singapore Armed Forces has its own jargon that NS Men use on a daily basis. As we approach the nation’s birthday in August, let’s take a few minutes to learn some of the terms frequently used in the army.

If you are often perplexed as to what your boyfriend/friend is saying, hopefully this guide will help you understand their conversations better.

Impress your friends with your knowledge of army lingo the next time you meet them :)

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1. Wayang
No, it is not referring to the Malaysian/Indonesian shadow puppet show. It refers to those who act good/put on a show in front of their superiors to get into their good books.

2. Arrow
Being assigned to a task – and the tasks usually encompasses undesirable tasks including cleaning toilets to covering for somebody’s work

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3. Eye Power
Every soldier would have encountered with at least one person who uses his eye power – just looking and doing nothing. In simpler sense, it is the bystander effect.

4. NATO (No Action, Talk Only)
Similar to eye power, but this refers to ‘mouth’ power. It is used to describe NS men who is only good at talking.

5. Garang
Overly enthusiastic NS men who are too ready and willing to take on tasks.

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6. Pikachu
No, we’re not referring to the yellow pokemon creature. Pikachu in the army is derived from the hokkien language “Pai ka bai chew”, which is used to describe someone who has suffered from fractures. “Pai-ka” (limping leg) and “Bai Chew” (broken arms).

It refers to NS men who walk around to look important. Hence, the expression WALI.

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8. SOC
Meaning to siam one corner, in an attempt to avoid and to hide from someone (usually superiors) or from taking a task.

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9. Throw Smoke
To deceive/lie, cause a diversion and confuse when the person does not have an answer.

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10. Chao Keng
This term should be familiar to most, which refers to feigning sickness or injury by submitting their polyclinic MC or excuse letter. It is usually done in an attempt to avoid work.

Now that you have a better understanding of the army lingo, go ahead and test your friends to see if they know the meaning of it ;)


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Michelle Lim
Nuffnang Community Team

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