Tuesday, November 18, 2008


As I browsed through the “Houses for sales” section in the newspaper, I saw this mini ad:

MINES RESORT 3sty b’glow l/a 24k b/u 10ksf modern design, golf view…

But wait a minute. What, actually, is a bungalow?

Oxford Dictionary defines ‘bungalow’ as:

Small house only one storey; (in India) such a house surrounded by a large verandah.

www.dictionary.com gives several definitions:

  • A cottage of one story.
  • (In India) a one-storied thatched or tiled house, usually surrounded by a veranda.

In Malaysia, the word ‘bungalow’ has taken on a new meaning. It is used to denote a house which is neither terraced nor semi-detached. It can be single storey or multi-storey. More often than not, the word conjures up an image of a large and expensive house.

Much has been said about Malaysian English, or Manglish. We often ignore tenses and add particles of local languages such as lah, mah, lor. We may, for example, say:

I go to Malacca yesterday mah

Such a sentence, while grammatically incorrect, is still able to convey the message. But the inappropriate use of ‘bungalow’ in this country is outright confusing. Even big property developers make this mistake in their advertisements. (Well, maybe they purposely do so.)

Can our Education Ministry please educate the people?

This is a bungalow. Or is it


  1. r u looking to buy a new house? :)

    p/s: try meet u in gmail, but i guess we online diff time...

  2. hahahaaaa....

    i prefer to called it bunga-low XD

  3. I din know that. Guess we're so used to it.

    A more appropriate term for such houses is "detached".

  4. as long as the other m'sian understand it. :D but when we are oversea, we need to adapt to their 'language'

  5. kikey
    Yeah, looking for one.
    P/S I was in Singapore for the last 4 days.

    I don't get you wor...

    Seriously I do not know what it is called elsewhere.

    I am afraid I don't agree with you. I am fine with Malaysia-only words, but not a word with Malaysia-only meaning.

  6. Is that "bungalow" in the photo your house? : )

  7. can we make frenz???

  8. Wah... that must he your huge bungalow!

  9. foongpc, neo
    I can't afford that 'bungalow'...

  10. I was there last weekend for a housewarming. Awesome homes there, including our ex-PM's.

  11. Settle for a smaller bungalow then. Haha!

    Btw, a prize awaits the person who guessed correctly on my blog. Read latest updates : )

  12. our flat should be not more than 4 stories. but our flat is higher than ever flat has.. can be 26 stories ler..

  13. happysurfer
    Housewarming? Whose house???

    In Malaysia, 'bungalows' are always big!

    Oo... I never know flats should not be more than 4 stories...

  14. Different places, different terms.

    I think we have a language fusion already. A word can have different meanings depending on where you used it.

  15. this is new to me. i took the local definition of bungalow for granted

  16. its manglish alrite! haha :)