The Urban Dictionary of Singapore Politics for 2023 (So Far)
Top Image: Stephanie Lee / RICE File Photo

Across a brief period of heatwave in Singapore politics, there’s already a need for a definitive guide to Singapore’s political lexicon.

Age is just a number, as some former Members of Parliament might testify (too soon?). But you’re never too young or old to expand the breadth of your political meme lingo of the year so far. 

Fucking Populist 


1. To discredit an idea and insult the character of a person at the same time.

2. To describe someone who displays excessive empathy towards the plight of common Singaporeans, presumably for political gain, if you’re a cynic.

3. Only to be said in your private comments, away from any microphones, lest a Redditor with too much time on their hands catches you lacking. Maybe best not to say it at all. 


Unspecified Person A: “I think we should do more to help the poor!” 

Unspecified Person B: “Fucking populist.” 

Uncanny Coincidence 


When two equally unlikely events, which happen infrequently enough, are uncovered at almost the exact same time, and you chalk it up to fate.


“But I leave you to draw your own conclusions on the—how shall I put it—uncanny coincidence Vis-à-vis the timing.” 

Image: Nathan Caleb Koh / RICE Media

Sia Suay


The Hokkien word for ‘embarrassment’. Used to insult the character of politicians; what Singaporeans use to refer to NCMP Leong Mun Wai or their coffee shop uncle explaining why the Earth is flat. Some Singaporeans claim they can’t tell the difference between the former and the latter in Singapore politics.

It’s highly recommended to be explicit in what you are referring to as sia suay, even when you’re referring to yourself in jest. Lest you want the political equivalent of a public spanking. 


“Leong Mun Wai is so sia suay that he can’t even make fun of himself online.”

Recommended usage: “I hereby declare that this person/subject/thing, and this person/subject/thing only, is sia suay and nothing else.”

Assisting Investigations 


A nicer way for media outlets to describe someone who is enjoying free-flow coffee in a windowless room while answering questions. No, they’re not actually helping the investigation officers craft the questions and make copious amounts of coffee.  


The man, who was caught on tape driving away in a toy car and running over the foot of a senior citizen, is now assisting in investigations.

Bad Optics


The smart way of saying it matters that you didn’t commit any wrongdoing, but the public will still think badly of you due to current circumstances/environment/economy.


The bad optics of a politican claiming that you don’t need much space to have sex was laughable. 

Unparliamentary Language 


The equivalent of a ‘bad word’ in Singapore politics, typically used in the context of apologies. Like the primary school child who apologises to their teacher for using the bad word ‘stupid’ in class. 

Except, now, you’re a politician, the classroom is Parliament, and the teacher is that one Redditor with satellite discs for ears and nothing better to do than comb through hours of Parliamentary footage. 


During a heated debate, a politician reflexively used unparliamentary language. The real surprise is that it wasn’t Leong Mun Wai.

Hot Mic 


A microphone left turned on which broadcasts your innermost disdain for Parliamentary colleagues. The equivalent of accidentally sending a nude to your family members. Reveals a side of yourself very few people have seen to the person you least want to show. 


He unknowingly left the hot mic on and made a candid remark, sparking a Parliamentary-wide protest to remove all current microphones and replace them with whatever The Straits Times used during the Workers’ Party Press conference.

Image: Channel NewsAsia / YouTube

Inappropriate Relationship


The palatable way of saying that two politicians are having an amorous congress, if you will.  


Unspecified Individual A: “I believe that this is an inappropriate relationship. Please stop what you’re doing.”

Unspecified Individual B: “But..but..good sir…it was consensual.”

Unspecified Individual A: “But you’re married.”

Extramarital Affair


The term used when a married person engages in sexual activity with someone other than their spouse. Deployed by media outlets when members of opposition political parties are involved.

If not from an opposition party, please refer to ‘Inappropriate Relationship’. 


The mentor was discovered to have had an extramarital affair with his mentee. 

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