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.
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