NTU Valedictorian Trinetta Chong’s Speech and the F-Word

When I was attending my convocation, back in the 90’s, I didn’t even want to be there. The whole thing seemed like such a drag, and it was. I don’t think we even had a valedictorian. I was just bored stiff after queuing for hours.

So when I heard about the controversy over the NTU valedictorian Trinetta using the F-word and apologizing after a backlash, I just had to watch the video for myself. In this age of YouTube, nothing is left to the imagination. There is always video evidence so that you can make up your own mind.

I thought the speaker was relaxed and the tone of the speech was not formal or boring as I expected it to be. I was more surprised by the fact that the speaker spoke Singlish at a formal event, than about the vulgarity used. In my time, our lecturers would have never allowed it.

I liked the part in the middle of the speech where she requests for her fellow university mates to turn around and thank their parents. That was pretty sweet. It was also nice that she thanked her lecturers and she seemed very sincere.

As for the vulgarity at the end, when I watched the video, it was not as bad as I had expected. I sort of thought she had screamed it out loud and not mumbled it this way. However, it did not seem like a slip, because I know the word peppers the speech of some members of Gen Y. I was shell shocked when I heard a vulgarity in every sentence from some teenagers at a Poly, directed at each other, but my cousin who was a lecturer told me it was normal and to him it was no big deal.

In order not to be hypocritical, I laugh when I hear the F-word on sitcoms like Curb Your Enthusiasm or when it’s used for comedy. I just don’t like hearing the word uttered when someone is enraged, although it’s become an effective word for capturing your feelings. I guess the word takes on different meanings in different situations. In Trinetta’s case the word was used to mean ‘beyond amazingly’ I think.

It’s just that it can be scary when you’re nearby when it’s uttered in anger and that anger is directed at you. I have no issue writing it on paper – into my diary to be specific, once when I was very angry about a betrayal. It’s quite a release to vent, but at the same time, not so nice to read back and recall the emotion. It’s something I wanted to forget. The word can be quite powerful and scary to me when it’s takes on the meaning and feelings of ‘hatred’. Maybe I’m more conservative than I thought I ever would be.

I guess I am quite a fuddy duddy because I worked during a time when I was considered the inappropriate youngster for daring to utter words like ‘shoot’. The worst thing I heard uttered was ‘what the fish’ by my colleague, and never in front of the office manager who would smack our hands – I’m not kidding. But fish was just a cover up for the F-Word.

It’s quite ironical to me, how times have changed, and the whole situation makes me feel so ancient. So do watch the video and tell me what your thoughts are.

Other bloggers’ views:

I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie

Rants of a Shutterbug

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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6 Responses to NTU Valedictorian Trinetta Chong’s Speech and the F-Word

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 2 Aug 2011 « The Singapore Daily

  2. C says:

    While I don’t think a grad ceremony is acceptable usage of the F word, I do use it with extreme regularity. In fact, E recently repeated it and made me realize exactly how casual I am in the usage. Need to be more careful there for a few years anyway until she’s old enough to understand the difference between adult words and kid words.

    When I taught 6th grade (11/12 year olds) they all swore with frequency, although they tried to avoid doing it in front of us. I think I was a bit older when I started using it (high school) but as the word is more common I think it loses a lot of power, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I guess it’s all about the intent and meaning behind the utterance……. language is pretty interesting, especially how it evolves over the years and certain words either become acceptable or taboo. I get really shocked at the racist words used in old books.

  3. kirsten says:

    I used to be scandalised by the f-word but after going to poly and then NZ I have to admit that I swear with some regularity now. I can be extremely potty-mouthed if I am in the mood and I have to say that I even derive some sort of perverse glee from just being downright rude from time to time. Hehehehehe.

    I think swearing can be fun and has its place, certainly in colloquial language. I wouldn’t encourage it to be used in a formal setting, but I also find it stupid that Trinetta’s speech has been so blown out of proportion by it. It wasn’t advisable or appropriate, but it was NO BIG DEAL as well. She was celebrating, it gave her cohort a squeal, everyone laughs it off. What’s the fuss?

    • bookjunkie says:

      I thought it was blown out of proportion as well, but it’s fascinating to me the issues that take centre-stage in Singapore. What interested me most was the generational differences and the different meanings one utterance can take.

  4. Pingback: Blogging at Singapore Actually | Tiny Island

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