'Press once can already' sticker at Penang pedestrian crossing stirs 'Manglish' debate, police say act of vandalism

The sticker has been removed by Malaysian police, who called it an act of vandalism.
The sticker has been removed by Malaysian police, who called it an act of vandalism. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK, THE STAR

GEORGE TOWN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) A prankster's sticker at a pedestrian crossing at Light Street in Penang has triggered much amusement over its use of "Manglish".

The sticker says "press once can already", and a photo of it uploaded on Facebook generated a flood of comments in Malaysian English.

"I was very amused so I took a snapshot of it. I have many friends who are teachers and I wanted to share it with them," said Ms Lucille Dass, an English expert and The Star-NiE freelance trainer who uploaded the photo on her Facebook page.

Ms Dass said while standard English should be "just press once", the phrase on the sticker was translated from colloquial Malay, "tekan sekali dah cukup" or even Hokkien.

She added that her post let loose a flood of Malaysian English expressions from those commenting on her post, including her former lecturer colleagues and teachers.

"There's definitely a place for Manglish.

"It's so much part of our culture and a bonding factor, but as I always tell teachers, the classroom is not the place for Manglish because teachers are role models.

"Posting it at a traffic crossing is definitely mischief-making by a prankster," she said.

Universiti Sains Malaysia English Language Section lecturer Oon Sok Imm also agreed that "press once can already" is too colloquial.

When contacted, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Infrastructure and Traffic Committee alternate chairman Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said putting up the sticker was an act of vandalism.


"It is a form of vandalism by someone who probably thinks it is funny. Normally, road signs put up by the council are in Malay.

"We removed the sticker the same day the issue was highlighted on Facebook," he said.

Stickers with the exact same words first appeared in Singapore thanks to urban artist Samantha Lo, who was arrested for the illegal graffiti - including stencilling "My Grandfather's Road" on several roads.

Ms Lo - now better known as Sticker Lady - was sentenced to 240 hours of community service but has since made a name for herself with her art.

Earlier this year, her cheeky stickers and signs were compiled in a book, Greetings in Singapore, and launched with her second solo exhibition.