Origin: Malay – To be at the receiving end/suffering of something unpleasant

Kena is a malay word to describe someone that is on the receiving end of something unpleasant and it can also mean the person is suffering or afflicted from something.

It is often paired with the hokkien term “sai” (shit). So, you will hear curses of “kena sai” pretty often amongst your singlish speaking friends.

It has a variety of alternative spellings: kana, kenna, genna, etc.


Sarah: Fandi was such a great footballer in his prime and was always kena marked by at least two opposing players. Those players also played rough and Fandi will kena bruises and knocks from their robust style of playing. Those players really kena sai!!

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