Monday, August 31, 2009

Tweet Good English Movement, anyone?

The Speak Good English Movement 2009 was officially launched today, marking its tenth year in encouraging Singaporeans to speak Standard English.

Mr Goh Eck Kheng, Chairman for the Movement, said, “Young people know from their engagements on the web that people all over the world communicate in one common language – English. We hope that youth will use and practice their English language to impress, inspire and intoxicate on the Internet and in the real world. By doing so they are will give themselves an advantage in our globalised world.”

Good English on the Internet? On websites and blogs, probably a good idea. On Facebook? Uncommon but still can be done if you insist. But on Twitter, where Wiki defined Microblogging as a form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text updates or micromedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them? There is a good reason for Twitter to set the maximum number of characters for each tweet as 140.

Just imagine what could happen when we start to tweet in Good English...

  • In Good English: As usual, I am dozing off in the train, all this while knocking my head against the window. It was painful.

    Actual Tweet: the usual dozing off in the train & knocking my head agst the window... argh!

  • In Good English: You are attending lessons on Monday and Wednesday, and I understand that you would prefer to spend time with your friends on weekends. How a...
    (“bout Thursday?” will not be delivered because of the 140chars limit)

    Actual Tweet: mon n wed u got lesson. I noe weekends u wana spend time wif frds. Thursday how?

  • In Good English: I am so annoyed. Where are the buses? Eight buses have past, with some on the same number route, yet there is no sight of number 171 and 174...
    (“for the past fifteen minutes!” will not be delivered because of the 140chars limit)

    Actual Tweet: Is so annoyed. Hello! Buses! There've been like 8 of the same few buses rolling past and not 1 171 or 174 in 15 mins!

  • In Good English: I should be receiving my Snow tomorrow. I had better backup all the files now as I could mess up tomorrow’s installation. To all who have in...
    (“stalled Snow, how long did it take you?” will not be delivered because of the 140chars limit)

    Actual Tweet: Sld be receiving my Snow tmr... better backup all the files now before I mess up tmr's installation. Those who installed, how long it took?

  • In Good English: I have one good reason to log into Facebook regularly, which is to remove unglamorous photographs that are tagged to me, before too many peo...
    (“ple have seen them.” will not be delivered because of the 140chars limit)

    Actual Tweet: 1 gd enuf reason 2 log in 2 FB regularly, is 2 remove unglam photo tags b4 2 many ppl see them

And I'm not even mentioning "Roll On Floor Laughing".


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It serves no strategic purpose to tell the public why Chip left


Ah Tan was sipping his coffee at the corner table, glancing at his watch every now and then nonchalantly. Ali and Shan walked into the pantry. While Ali dispensed a cup of tea from the coffee machine, Shan sat down at the table and made his own 3-in-1 coffee.

AH TAN: Wow, Shan, your 3-in-1 coffee sure looks new to me.
SHAN: Oh... this is the latest 3-in-1 coffee with collagen added. Friend, collagen is important to us, you know? We're using our overworked brains like 25 hours a day and if you're not careful, you'll find all the white hair and wrinkles popping up! Just look at Boss! Or even look at George! See how they've aged over the years?
AH TAN: Oh... so collagen will keep you staying young?
SHAN: Yap! It's the same thing my wife is having, so we can't be wrong! Hahaha...

Ali walked over to sit down as Shan chuckled at his own joke.

ALI: Hey brudder, did you read the news today? President Ma and his senior officials apologized for not doing more and not fast enough in the typhoon emergency! They even bow to the people sia!
AH TAN: Serious? Bow to the people?
ALI (nodding): Yap, and from the photo, it looks like they bowed damn low man!
AH TAN: Wow, I think they kana influenced by the Japanese liao!
SHAN (shaking his head and frowning): Unacceptable!
AH TAN: Yah, I guess they were really too slow in deploying their troops to save the people.
ALI: Machiam Hurricane Katrina that time lah!
SHAN: Nonono, I think you've mistaken me. I'm not saying that it's unacceptable for them to react slow. I'm saying it's unacceptable for them to bow to the people.

Both Ah Tan and Ali paused from drinking and stared at Shan.

SHAN (jerking his head sideways and aloft right palm simultaneously): How can the government even apologize to its people? And to even bow? That is so wrong!
AH TAN (raising left eyebrow): Erm... and so what should they have done?
SHAN: Very simple! All they've to do is to simply say "We admit it's a mistake. Now let's move on"! That's how we would have handled it right?
AH TAN (nodding): That's true... like how we had handled the Mas Selamat case.
ALI: But even after they've apologized, I'm sure this incident will affect the peoples' impression of the government's ability to handle crisis.
SHAN: Nonono... it's not fair for the people to think this way.
ALI: Not fair?

Shan took a quick sip from his 3-in-1 coffee with collagen.

SHAN: It's like a dent on a car.
ALI (baffled): Apa?
SHAN: This flood incident. It's as if you met with a minor accident and now there's a little dent on the car body. We can't deny it is a dent in the President Ma and his government's reputation. And I agree it's a very visible dent in the fender. But there is no damage to body parts, no damage to axle, no damage to engine. You can still drive the car around and years later, you might not even notice the dent anymore!
AH TAN: So President Ma shouldn't be bothered with how he had screwed up this flood emergency rescue, just like how Temasek shouldn't be bothered with its CEO saga?
SHAN (patting Ah Tan on his shoulder): Exactly!

Ali put down his tea and nudged Shan.

ALI: Hey brudder, talk about Temasek, why exactly did that Chip left? Money no good?

Shan stared at Ali and held his breath, apparently blindsided by the unexpected question.

SHAN: Ali, you know we shouldn't be talking about this right?
ALI (giving Shan an apologetic look): Just curious lah, brudder! But didn't the people ask you? Or the press?
SHAN: Well, people do want to know, there is curiosity; it is a matter of public interest. But that is not sufficient reason to disclose information. I totally understand the interest, but it serves no strategic purpose.

Ah Tan rubbed his chin and tried to digest Shan's answer.

AH TAN: So you're saying, the people are only kaypo on why Chip left, and tell them also no use because it's not as if they can help or make the difference?
SHAN: Erm... kind of...
AH TAN: And even if you tell them, they might not understand as well, so don't waste you time?
SHAN (patting Ah Tan on his shoulder): Exactly!

All three men chuckled and drank their tea and coffee.

AH TAN: Hey Shan, so your side is not going to interfere with Temasek's CEO recruitment right?
SHAN (shaking his head): No Tan, not at all. Once we interfere in what goes on in Temasek, then we are, over time, changing the character of that relationship between us and Temasek, where it's a relationship that clearly designates Temasek as independent of us in its operations including its internal governance procedures. Internal governance should be managed by Temasek's board.
ALI (interrupting): So that when anything ever cocks up again, Temasek's board will bow and apologize but never us, right?



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why is Chew Soowei leaving 987FM?

Chew Soowei is leaving 987FM and this is the message she sent to fans of her radio programme "Pillowfight with Soo" on Facebook.

Dear friends,

I wish I had told it to you in person but I wasn’t given the chance to.

My final show “Pillowfight with Soo” concluded Sat July 12 at 3.00am on 987fm.

Why? I’ve had a few people message me on Facebook asking me why I am not part of the new schedule out on 987FM. Let me give you the short version of the story.

The Monday after the July 12th episode of “Pillowfight With Soo”, first day of my annual leave, I received a phone call stating that I’d been taken off air and when I do come back from my leave I was coming back to a work situation where I was basically just “Helping Out/Subbing Others” around the office. The main reason as it was given to me for being taken off was that my English Language isn’t proficient enough and my hosting is and I quote “Just like I learnt it from the Outdoor emcees in Orchard Road”.

In the last year I was in and out of the office, been constantly told that there were really bad grammatical errors with my language and yet so many times when I asked for an example and help it couldn’t be produced. One of the few times it was produced, he had to call a fellow colleague to confirm the error because he didn’t know what was really truly wrong with me saying: “If only Shan sings as well as his cousin.” Out of these times, my favorite one would be an email stating that my diction was really bad and I should listen to American Radios Jocks and learn an American accent.

If my Spoken English is bad, people wouldn’t understand me. If people cannot understand me inevitably they wouldn’t tune in.

If so, how do I explain a steady increase in my listenership (bearing in mind I started on a shift that did not exist before I went on)? Why has my public profile increased in the last year? Why do I have more clients coming to me for public shows more than ever? And lastly, if my English is so bad, why did clients sponsor “Pillowfight With Soo” over and over again in a back-to-back fashion?

I have a long way to go with my spoken language and I am far from perfect. But Radio to me has always been about connecting with people. I chat with you… you chat with me. The rest of the world listens in on our conversation in a voyeuristic fashion. I’ve always done my shows with the idea that I am speaking to only one person and if that one person gets me… we’ve connected. I am who I am. If you bumped into me in the streets I will sound like how you hear me on Radio. No pretense, No announcer-ish bravado and certainly no fake American accent. As far as Radio is concerned, if you understood me on a human level, I’ve done my job. You might hear some poetic justifications on why I was removed or maybe how loved I was in the station or how much has been done to help me out…so I’m writing this note so you will get a glimpse of the truth rather speculate the situation. I hope you don’t think that I’m just venting my bitterness. There is none looking back at the great times I had with my 987 family. So with all that said… I am taking myself out of the “Equation” and my last day will be on 4th August 2009.

In light of the situation, I’m writing you this letter to thank you for the wonderful magical times I’ve had on the show.

Staying up late was never an issue; I’m a creature of the night. Somehow, the world awakes to a different light after the stroke of midnight. It’s the conversations we had that I will miss most of all.

“Scandal anonymous”, this segment is the most fun a girl can have at night. In case, you wonder what the fuss is all about…the listeners call in with a nickname and share a deep dark secret or something embarrassing. I’m going to share some of my personal faves. By the way, the names I’m using below are merely nicknames, so as to protect the real identity of the listeners.

Sarah is a young and restless teenager working at a convenience store for some extra bucks, one day she was so bored...she started using needles to poke at condom boxes.

Tim broke up with his perfect girlfriend of 10 years because he couldn’t bear the burden of the secret anymore. He couldn’t bear to lie to his parents and friends that his girlfriend used to be a man…and that they were from the same all-boys school together.

Peiling has been chatting online with this guy for the past 10 months now and the guy initiated a meeting with her. After all, they have fallen in love over the Net. The only problem is, Peiling has been lying about her physical appearance. She has been on a strict diet for the past 10 weeks and still kilos away from her virtual description.

I could go on forever about the dirty secret video tapes to foamy lovemaking sessions at Zoukout to a pregnant girl carrying her boyfriend’s best friend's child to a mischievous boy peeing into a cup and trying to make his least fave uncle think it’s chrysanthemum tea etc etc. The drama is relentless every night and I loved every moment of it.

With all that fuss, it’s just good old telephone conversations and a connection between 2 complete strangers…I may not know you now but I’m getting closer to your life with every conversation. I love chatting with you. Thanks for opening up your heart to me late into the night and talking about your pet hamsters. Your stories, I will carry them in my heart. But I also have to be honest; sometimes I do get really frustrated, when you have little words but strange noises in between. Sometimes I get really scared as well, when you put on a demonic accent and say lewd things I cannot air.

It’s been a good fight.

If you‘ve been chronicling my life from an ambitious wide eyed driver wannabe to a licensed P plate maniac on the road, I hope you’ll look back and laugh at the stories of my great inability to parallel park or try to beat my 20 min struggle to reverse in a tight spot. For those who ever turn on the stove and tried to make a meal before, there are some videos of my experimental dishes tried by the Muttons. They are currently still alive. If you’ve been part of my life somehow, going through a tough time or a celebratory moment, thank you for sharing my life. If I’ve been part of your life, going through a break up or mad study night, thank you for having my voice in your ears.

I’ll be moving to a different, perhaps, more adventurous chapter of my life and I hope you'll think of me fondly from time to time and always remember that if I ever have the chance again, I’ll pick up your call and have a good old friend’s heart to heart chat.

Till then,
Soldier on

If I'd wished to listen to someone talking in an American accent, I would turn to the podcasts in my iPod, not the local radio station.

Who is the Great One that decided that DJs in our English radio stations shall speak in a British or American accent and DJs in Chinese radio stations with a Beijing accent? That will be as faux as the American voice in my GPS pronouncing "Ang Mo Kio".

There is a reason why people smiled inadvertently at Mr Brown's "Lekuasimi" and even more baffled by "What Do You See".