Pygmalion in Singapore: From Cockney to Singlish

Tony T N Hung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (1912) and its musical offshoot My Fair Lady (1956) are among the most enduring (and endearing) dramatic/musical works of the last century, and their popularity continues unabated into the twenty-first century. Apart from their intrinsic dramatic and musical quality, their perennial appeal stems partly from the universal theme of metamorphosis which underlies their plot and characters. More even than in Shaw’s time, we live in an age of spectacular ‘metamorphoses’: Truck drivers can be transformed into film stars and pop idols (like Rock Hudson and Elvis Presley), and film stars into politicians and even presidents and governors (like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger). There are, seemingly, no limits to how far a person can be ‘made over’, not only in matters of speech, but in every physical, social and cultural aspect.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Englishes in Asian Contexts
Subtitle of host publicationCurrent and Future Debates
EditorsKumiko Murata, Jennifer Jenkins
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780230239531
ISBN (Print)9780230221024, 9780230221031
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2009

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cultural Identity
  • Mother Tongue
  • Truck Driver
  • Private Tutor
  • Phonological Feature


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