Friday, October 02, 2009

Abused Beauty

After all is said and done, I think Singaporeans have been a bit mean (well, ok, very mean) to Ms Ris Low. Much has been said and written about her less than perfect English diction and videos have made her the laughing stock of the whole country. Why are we so mean? It is not as if she is totally unintelligble when she speaks. I can think of and heard other Singaporeans pronounce English words the way she does. Just today I was at a seminar presented by a major public-listed company, in a room full of professionals, and its speakers were pronouncing 'badder' for 'better'. There were a couple of other words that were similarly abused. This isn't all that different from Ms Low's diction. In this respect, I think some of the Youtube videos about her less than perfect diction have been made in bad taste. Yes, they are funny, but they are also very cruel. In fact, unless Mediacorp (or whoever the original video belongs to) is in on it, some IP rights may have been violated and the perpetrators could be charged in Court. What's the difference then between Ms Low's trouble with the law with this sort of 'stealing'? So whoever put them up should take them down.

And what's wrong with Boomz? At least now English has a new word, and words are created all the time. Singlish has produced not a few of them, which we have come to love. We don't understand what Boomz is? Well, neither do I understand what the 'lah' that ends Singlish phrases mean. But don't we use it with relish because that is so Singaporean? That's one thing you look out for when you are overseas, when in a sea of people, it brings a smile to your face the moment you hear it. You know for sure that a countryman is in the midst. Lewis Carroll himself was probably 'guilty' of spouting nonsense, with his invention of the nonsensical words 'jabberwocky', 'chortled and 'galumping' in his poems. But these words have since entered the English language. OK, ok, Ms Low was not being particularly poetic when she blurted out the Boomz word. But inventions are often made at the spur of the moment, no?

But isn't the whole of Singapore, in ridiculing it, now trying to give meaning to the word? In time, who knows, it may become a peculiar Singlish word that our children will use without the ridicule that accompanies it today.

I think the real 'problem' is not her language, nor particularly her diction. If it were, many Singaporean's will be just as guilty as her. Her diction could have been 'badder', as befits the representative of Singapore women, but I think the real issue about her representing Singapore is her conviction for credit card fraud. She should have come clean about it from the start. Unfortunately, she did not. Maybe she was immature, maybe she thought that her achievements in the beauty pageant will erase her 'moment' of weakness (well, that moment did last quite a while, I admit). But I think enough is enough. Let the poor girl alone. Hopefully she has learnt the right lessons from the whole affair and we will hear better things of her in the future.

Boomz! RIP.


Anonymous said...

I agree. She should be allowed to keep her title. She made her mistake when young and had been sentenced, so where is the yellow ribbon think about society's forgiveness?

dinesh said...

i would disagree with george, as she is representing the country in an international competition. certainly, as a nation we need to send the best we have to offer and clearly it is not her. this has nothing 2 to with society and the yellow ribbon project as this competition will not become her rice bowl.