Sunday, October 16, 2022

Tourists Ordering Coffee In Singapore: Kopi Oh No!!! 'Java Jive': Ink Spots and Gracias Choir

A Coffee Song: One of the Korean lady singers from 
this fantastic and cute singing group called Gracias Choir. 


KOPI, CAN?


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The first joke I heard about coffee and tea was during my teens, when a Chinese friend of Hainanese dialect related it.

An English couple who were tourists visited a coffee shop at *Victoria Street in Singapore. They sat and ordered two cups of black coffee when the waiter came to their table.

The waiter shouted, "Kopi Oh, no!"

English man, "Okay, no coffee. Let's order two cups of tea then!"

The waiter shouted again, "Teh Oh, no!"

Englishman tells his wife, "What? No coffee? No tea? And it's supposed to be a coffee shop. Let's get out of here!"

Minutes later two cups of black coffee and two cups of tea were seen on the table. The waiter couldn't find the couple.

In Chinese Hainanese dialect:
1] Kopi Oh - pronounced /ou= Coffee without milk or just black coffee with sugar.

2] No - pronounced /nor/ = Two, as in two cups.

So: Kopi Oh, no = To the British the phrase sounds like: Coffee, oh no! 

The waiter was shouting the couple's orders to his worker in the kitchen.

Actually it's not a joke; it did happen? 😃
Any comment?

*History: Victoria Street was specified because there was a large Hainanese community in that area those years.

Korea's Gracias Choir Girls - The Best 👍

'Java Jive' is a song written by Ben Oakland and Milton Drake in 1940 made famous and recorded by the fabulous The Ink Spots. 

I used to listen to this song in the 1940's when I was still a child. It's been recorded in my mind forever!

Do watch the videos below, the cute version and the original one. Enjoy.

'Java Jive', 
I Love Coffee, I Love Tea. [Gracias Choir]  
The First Prize Winner of 2015 
International Chamber Choir Competition 
Marktoberdorf

The Ink Spots: Java Jive [1940]. YouTube Video: RReady555

Images: 
Screen Shots of 'Gracias Choir', 'The Ink Spots' are from YouTube Videos.

Coffee Singapore Style.
and
Tea too Singapore music.

Tea Break - The Quests 
YouTube Video from: Seang Guan Chan.

Thanking FL for the suggestion.
FL is a constant reader of this blog for many years.

19 comments:

JIMMY YAP (SINGING AMBASSADOR) said...

Haha Andy !

Coincidently I was enjoying my kopi - 0 ( coffee with sugar without milk ) at breakfast whilst reading yr very interesting article. First thing that came to my.mind was I hv to circulate this to all Kopi Kwee ( Devi's in Hokkien , teochew or Hainanese dialect ). My Indonesian friends were at the same time chatting abt their success in launching their Indonesian Kopi ( Coffee ) in Turkey last week ! Not to forget it was only yday we bumped into Malaysian living in a Conservation House at Pentain Rd Singapore marketing my favorite Kluang Train Station coffee !

Thank you Andy for featuring the Coffee songs which I am going to play it over n over again in the next few weeks when sipping my coffee

CHATBOX said...

Wow such oldies.

I've never heard before.

The Hainanese TWO is not pronounced as NO.

How did the confusion come about?

Sounds more like NUA I think.

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CHATBOX said...

Ha ha :)

KOPI OH NO !!!

Good old story and still feeling funny although heard it many times.

The right pronunciation for
1. Two - nor
2. Two cups - nor jiang

Kopi Oh
Oh - it's more Hokkien pronunciation that Hainanese

Actual Hainanese for Black - Ou

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This article was written some months ago but never published. Meeting Jimmy for kopi and a Hainanese friend reminded me I had to post it.

So thanks to him and our friend for this. I hope others don't mind the joke. It's a very old one as told by another friend from Hainan Island.

I also wish for comments on THE CHOIR. I thought they were superb!!!
What do you think?

More than a 100 views after only half a day of publication.
[THANKS TO ALL VIEWERS.]

CHOW WEN HING [SINGER/COMPOSER/WRITER] said...

You would probably be surprised, but I was a kopi-kia for many years myself… first in my adolescence years, and later when I was in my 30’s. I think I was in this business for about 3 years all in all For the Hockchews, two black coffee with sugar would be “go-pi-o sok-dan”. Replace “go-pi-o” with “tar-o” for tea. And oh yes, you have to do it in a sing-song voice for it to be effective.

Any way as I think back of those years, I think I would have been one of the most melodious kopi-kia around… I remember singing while I was serving coffee and toast. Songs like “Silver Lady” was my favourite, and I will always associate this song with that coffee shop. And “Sailing”, “Laughter In The Rain”.. all these songs and more accompanied me on what was a not very pleasant journey in my youth. These songs and the promises they carry helped me pass the days.

CHOW WEN HING [SINGER/COMPOSER/WRITER] said...

And as far as I know, "siew-dai" [for less sugar] originate with the HOCKCHEWS also. And for no sugar it's "min-dai"...

Now you know.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Wen Hing for the explanation too. Appreciate you taking your busy time to explain what coffee means to us Singaporeans.

Inviting others to write in also.
BUt some comments about the INKSPOTS and our GRACIAS CHOIR will be helpful.

DAVID LIM said...

Hi Andy
I hv an experience to share.

This took place in Penang a few yrs ago. I went to a hawker centre to have breakfast n naturally wanted to have a cup of coffee n toasts. What I witnessed was something unique n unusual.

After I made my ordered I expected the kopi man to go back near or to the counter to shout out my order but to my surprise he took out a cordless microphone from his pocket and used it to make my order n he was about 20 - 30 meters away from the counter.

I could hear him announce my order loud n clear - and I thought- wow how smart a move it was. He needn't go up n down so many times to get orders from customers.

Have not seen this anywhere else.

Tk you.

CHAKAP CHAKAP said...

TYPO ERRORS:
CHOW WEN HING'S COMMENT:

...two black sugar with coffee would be: “go-pi-o sui tai”. Replace “go-pi-o” with “tay-o” for tea.

ANONYMOUS said...

Tea for two sung by Doris Day and Gordon McRae.

JOEL said...

Bob Dylan sang one called "One More Cup of Coffee". Not so popular but a blues. "one more cup of coffee before i go."

FL said...

Our pop band, The Quests has "Tea Break". Our earlier batches of NS during training under the sun always asked for tea break, too.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks FL
That is a great piece of information.
I was just thinking of some SG produced songs to put up but couldn't think of any.

Appreciate your contribution again!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks FL
That is a great piece of information.
I was just thinking of some SG produced songs to put up but couldn't think of any.

Appreciate your contribution again!
I have posted it.

Anonymous said...

As a young kid I remember listening to the song Coffee Bar Calypso by Maxine Daniels. The renditions of Java Jive by The Ink Spots and Gracias Choir are both nice in their own way. The difference I'd reckon, is that one group didn't have their caffeine fix before singing whilst the other group had? :p

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi ANON.
Thanks for the coffee fix. Interesting to get lively comments from readers like you, filled with good morning lightheartedness and archive information.

Will check out COFFEE BAR CALYPSO.
Do drop in again.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...


Frankie Koh
Thanks for sharing Andy Young It brightened my day. 😀

Andy Young
Author
Frankie Koh, thanks for the visit. This FB post shares many nostalgic wonders..

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Ekhong Chew
Try buying takeaway one packet of chicken rice from Hainanese store Tell him Ta Pau. You will get three packets from him.

Andy Young
Author
Ekhong Chew, 🤣🤣🤣WOW !!! First time I've heard. Thank you sir. This one is funniest. Truly. 👍

FACEBOOK CHATS said...


Frankie Koh
Thanks for sharing Andy Young It brightened my day. 😀

Andy Young
Author
Frankie Koh thanks for the visit. This FB post shares many nostalgic wonders...

Andy Young
Author
Listen to the lovely ladies from Korea sing JAVA JIVE, a 50's song popular in Singapore among old kopi mates... The song originated from the US by a group called the INK SPOTS. Cheers.

Andy Young
Author
Thank you to the 6 early FB friends for reading...

Ekhong Chew
Try buying takeaway one packet of chicken rice from Hainanese store Tell him Ta Pau. You will get three packets from him.

Andy Young
Author
Ekhong Chew, 🤣🤣🤣WOW !!! First time I've heard. Thank you sir. This one is funniest. Truly. 👍

Ekhong Chew
Andy Young It actually happened to my dad 60 years ago.

Teo Li Yan
Ekhong Chew hahahaa I am half hainanese and I actually burst out laughing 🤣 cos Ta is 3 in Hainanese. Hahahaa omg thats funny

Andy Young
Author
Teo Li Yan yes, but honestly the Hainanese are one of the most hardworking folks I know. Nice friends they are.