The Word is Eye Power

Eye Power n. [Eng.]: Use eye power :stand by and watch instead of participating or helping out. (slacking off) v: eye powering.

Popularised by young Singaporean males during their mandatory national service* (See Slavery pg. 923) Often used sarcastically. Sentence: ” Wah, your eye power level what already? ” Translation (non-sarcastic) : ” Excuse my interjection, but it would mean a lot for me if you could help out just a tad bit. ”

Watch video for more info.

Disclaimer: The video was made for satirical purposes.


2005 Renee Tan The Sunday Times, 27 February, 38 Eye power. What is means: To describe someone who is looking on without physically helping out with a task. How to use: “Help me move this bed! You stand there using eye power ah?”  

2005 Hong Xinyi The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 19 June. Eye power. Army use: Used by instructors to a soldier who is watching idly while his platoon mates do the real work. Civilian use: Used by sarcastic wives to couch potato husbands who never help with the housework. Example: You are watching Baywatch while I do the dishes? Wah, you have a lot of eye power hor.

Related Words.

Wayang v: translated literally into ‘acting’:an essential survival skill for National Service. At the most basic level, wayang-ing (present continous) is to pretend that you are actually working, while in truth you are slacking off. In the army, there is usually no correlation between doing your work well and getting rewarded for it, like getting off (leave) or an early book-out (early release). Therefore, it only makes sense to wayang your two years (average length of servitude) away since there is a limited amount of time served but an unlimited amount of work to finish.

Chao Keng v: Malingering, usually achieved with a polyclinic MC or Medical Officer’s excuse letter. Deeply frowned upon by your platoon buddies, since they will have to pick up the slack you left by leaving. Unless, of course, all your NSF buddies have already chao keng-ed before you, beating you to the punch.

Arrow v: To ‘kena arrow(ed)’ is to get assigned a task. This is a fundamental concept of NS — you will either be assigned sai kang (lit. shit work) or will have to do another person’s work for him. From cleaning toilets to moving crates, getting arrowed is something you should not aim to achieve. This is where eye power, wayang and chao keng should be carried out immediately.

Garang adj:To be overtly enthusiastic. You should avoid being garang in NS, since other NSFs, or conscripts, will only see you as trying to suck up (boot lick). Similarly, regulars will only take advantage of your willingness to work by pushing their work to you.

One thought on “The Word is Eye Power”

  1. I like this term, first time I heard of an act of laziness be coined in such a way. I can point out “eye power” in many situations, especially when working with groups.

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