Here I am, proudly introducing my Stranger in Bangkok "Wah Lau Eh!" Stamp of Approval, which will certainly add more personal colour into this blog as well as breathe a new lease of life into my posts.
Why "Wah Lau Eh!"?
Firstly, let me clarify again that I am a Malaysian (Sarawakian to be exact), bred in Singapore for 28 years before permanently moving to Bangkok in 2009. My slightly complex ASEAN heritage has made me who I am-a confused blend of mixed cultures. Even though I still believe I can speak perfect English when required and decent Mandarin, you will often catch me at my most casual bellowing sentences which contain colours of English, Mandarin, Thai, Thai-English and Singlish.
Therefore, when conceptualizing a catch-phrase that will represent most of who I am, I decided to use "Wah Lau Eh!". OK, so what is "Wah Lau Eh!"? You could do more in-depth research on it here, but for me, and I think most of my friends will agree, "Wah Lau Eh!" is one of the most iconic phrases that represents Singlish, and it is simply an exclamation in the same form as "Wow!" or " Oh My Goodness!" when you experience something worth shouting about.
Why the thumbs up and "Stamp of Approval"?
Iconic as it is, "Wah Lau Eh!" is a phrase that divides opinion, because some view it as a milder form of a vulgar Hokkien phrase, and others might only use it when they encounter negative experiences. I do not deny both, but I would hereby like to clarify that my "Stamp of Approval" will only be used for food and F&B entities, and in particular, excellent ones. I have always told my wife that really good food is food that will make you open your eyes wide and go "Wa Lau Eh!", now I have simply decided to showcase my view to everyone.
However, being the very demanding foodie that I am, there will not be many dishes/restaurants that will win my "Wah Lau Eh!". I have gone through my archives, and currently only 10 dishes/restaurants have won my thumbs up. These have been updated in a list on my right-hand sidebar. Highly recommended dishes will have the stamp on the picture of the dish itself, while a stamp right at the bottom of the review would mean that the restaurant's entire package won my approval. Have fun reading and finding all the stamps!
Please explain the colours.
The red, white and blue? Simple. Think Thailand flag.
Your stamp looks so good, can you make 1 for me as well?
I know many talented graphic designers, but while conceptualizing this idea, I realized not everyone can do this, because it's not easy to understand my background and combine it with the positive vibe in the Singlish phrase easily, but I found the right guy in my pal Winston aka The Blogfather, who speaks a mouth of fluent Singlish and has close ties in Thailand as well.
He has 2 24-hour jobs now, as the husband to his wife and as the father of his 2 adorable kids, as well as another 40-hour-a-week commitment with his employer, so unless your job is as outrageous/brain-stimulating as mine, it's not likely you can catch him in the right frame of mind to churn our something for you, for the moment at least.
How do I get a "Wah Lau Eh!"?
Make very very good food. And make sure I taste it.