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/?-yah, ???jɑ?/int.[Mand. 哎呀āiyā]  An exclamation used at the beginning of a sentence to expr. consternation, despair, dismay, exasperation, etc.
1989 David Henry Hwang M. Butterfly Aaaa-ya! How can you use such sickening language?  1991
Valerie TanThe Straits Times (Section 3), 9 August, 19 aiyah! – [exasperated exclamation], from Chinese.  2000Cheong Suk-Wai (quoting Sim Bak Sun) The Straits Times (Life! This Weekend), 13 July, 7 Aiyah, what to do, I was not smart enough for higher studies.  2000Diane Tan (quoting Patricia Mok)The Straits Times (Life!), 4 September, 20 Aiya, the people around us thought we were acting.2000Cheong Suk-waiThe Straits Times (Life!), 25 November, L12 Aiya, your father will be harvesting his cherry tomatoes as usual.  2002 “Nine Made Instant Millionaires” (quoting Lim Leng Beng)The Straits Times, 26 February 1 Aiyah, bought at the wrong place.  2006Colin Goh The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 12 March. ‘Aiyah,’ sighed the Wife. ‘I guess people don’t believe you’re a real star unless you dress like one.’  2006Ben Nadarajan &K.C. Vijayan (quotingLawrence Lai) The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 27 April. Aiyah, it’s you again.  2006Cheong Suk-Wai (quotingKhalid Mohamad Jiwa) The Sunday Times (from Straits Times Interactive), 20 August, L4 “Aiyah, you ahhh,” he drawls in a chiding tone, before breaking into throaty chuckles.