I really like studying etymology and the origins of words, and I'm interested in the fairly omnivorous nature of English, which has a huge "borrowed" vocabulary. (Random fact: "bugger" is related to "Bulgaria".) So I thought every now and then I'd put up random lists of words English borrows from various languages - well, besides French, German, and Spanish, or I'll exhaust myself from typing. I thought I'd start with Malay, national language of Singapore. Wikipedia already has a partial list , but I thought I'd come up with a list that also included a few other loan words. The obvious ones are words for things that are indigenous to the region - plants (durian, rambutan, bamboo, sago, camphor ), animals (orang-utan, pangolin, cassowary), and cloth ( gingham , sarong). But there's a whole bunch that're less obvious, even to native English speakers from this region: amok . If you asked me to name one English loan word that'
This is massively OT, but I'm sure you've heard of the online petition to the PM to repeal the law criminalising gay sex. If you haven't, it's at http://www.repeal377a.com and the petition closes on October 19.
I'm sure you don't need telling that this law is discriminatory and damaging. Besides subjecting gays to a life of uncertainty and fear, it impedes effective sex education and HIV/AIDS outreach, making it not just a moral issue but a public health one.
It would be great if you could sign the petition, and also if you could publicise the URL by any means that are convenient for you - email to friends, instant messenging, blog post, and the like. Every single signature counts towards proving that the people of Singapore do not oppose equality and dignity for gays, and insisting that the government does not suppress them in our name.
Please consider helping. Anything at all would be appreciated.