By Asia Samachar | SINGAPORE |
A Singapore marine technician is becoming a familiar face bringing smiles when he breaks into his ‘cha peelo‘ (drink tea) call. He also does it fluently in Cantonese.
In recent weeks, Gurdip Singh’s video in Cantonese urging fellow workers to take the 3pm tea break has gone viral, even prompting memes.
His 15-second video in March 2020 went viral after it was uploaded onto Bilibili, China’s video-sharing website, on April 26 this year. The video has now reached about 3.8 million views, reports Shine, a digital media of Shanghai Daily.
In this video, he laments not being able to drink chaa! Click here.
Gurdip is recognised by a good number of Punjabis in Singapore and Malaysia, and even beyond the region. The 53-year-old began producing short videos of himself saying “cha peelo” (drink tea) while holding a cup of tea or a packet of teh tarik ikat tepi (tied by its side) – a common sight in Malaysia and Singapore, reports Twenty Two 13.
“It was my way of greeting my friends in my WhatsApp groups. At that time, I was in three WhatsApp groups. Today, I’m in over 30 WhatsApp groups – and they all look forward to my cha peelo messages,” he told the Malaysian-based media portal.
Born in Kuantan, Gurdip moved to Singapore when he was 18 and has been living there since. The Singaporean permanent resident works as a marine technician and is an avid biker.
So why Elvis? He told Twenty Two 13: “Earlier, my nickname was Robin Singh. I started working abroad, including in Russia, and people said I looked like Elvis. I started having his hairstyle and dressed up like Elvis. I’ve had strangers coming up to me, wanting to take pictures. So, it is only natural that Elvis is my new nickname.”
And why ‘cha peelo‘?
“There’s no specific reason. I start every greeting with Sat Sri Akal or cha peelo. Tea is universal…Cha peelo has been my signature ever since. I’m a loud person. I’m a happy person. I’m a happening person in my WhatsApp groups. And people just love to listen to what I say in my videos and share it with their friends and family.”
In the Cantonese video, Gurdip is seen wearing a pair of brown glasses and holding a bag of milk tea while telling people to take a tea break.
“It’s three o’clock. Drink tea first!” he says into the video. “It’s useless to work so hard. You boss won’t care about you!”
The sentence, “It’s three o’clock. Drink tea first!” has since become a meme on China’s social media, with thousands of videos using the meme being made by netizens one after another, reports Shine.
Gurdip said he learned to speak Cantonese in Singapore. He can also speak Mandarin but not as good as Cantonese. He can also speak English and several other languages.