Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Would Appreciate If...

 
Have you heard of conversations such as when A says to B, "I would appreciate if you could inform me much earlier before hand in the future..."? Taking the phrase "I would appreciate if" as it is - without any context attached to it - the phrasing seems to be of a rather polite disposition. It seems to function as a prelude to the actual point you want to make - to soften the blow for the listener.

In contrast, a person equipped with a sharp tongue that draws blood with every sentence would say, "In the future, please inform me earlier" or worse still , "You better inform me earlier in the future!" Yet, in reality, conversations with the prelude tend to contain a confrontational undertone - no doubt, in varying degrees. Rather than softening the blow, it seems to be an avenue in which confrontations can be made without going into the profane. Can anyone think of an instance in which it is not confrontational?
 
As such, I often wonder if it is the case of the language evolving over time or has it always been used this way? Finally, if starting your request with "I would appreciate if" feels confrontational, what are the alternatives? I am not sure if there is a right answer to this one. But I would always phrase it like this:
 
"Hi, erm... I know it may be difficult in certain circumstances but is it possible that I am notified earlier for future events? Thanks!"
 
What do you all think? Am I being silly for pondering over such a minor issue? Leave your comments below...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Scorecard


As the summer holidays come to an end, I thought I should write a little post just to keep track of what I have done. I decided to change the template of my blog because I felt it was getting too cluttered and the browns and beiges of the previous template made it worse. Hopefully this simple template will be much more pleasant to the eye and that my readers can focus on the words rather than the bells and whistles. Despite promising to blog more in my previous post, I realised that I have not written one word for this blog and I apologise. However, I still did quite a bit of writing. 

For starters, I wrote three articles for The Kent Ridge Common (KRC). The first is a review of Singapore Dance Theatre's 25th Anniversary Gala. While my opinions of the show are not worth repeating here (click the link!), I was surprised by a couple of things. Although entering the professional dance scene is not a popular option and fraught with many obstacles, it is sad that not even a seventh of the company are made up of locals. Also, where are our local boys? It has been ages since we had Goh Choo San. With the government starting to focus a little bit more on the arts, let us hope that this will change. Speaking of Goh,  it is  a pity that he is not widely known by Singaporeans because he is clearly a talented choreographer. Before the show, I knew that he was a famous dancer but I am ignorant of how much he had achieved in his rather short life. Imagine my surprise when I found out that he even choreographed for Baryshnikov! Perhaps, we should dance to a different beat and celebrate Singapore not by looking at various statistics or rankings but at individuals - especially our pioneers - who really excelled in what they do. 
 
The next two articles are related to the Cantonese opera scene. The first of which is a review of a biography of opera doyenne, Joanna Wong. Her life is such an amazing story of passion, perseverance and love. She is really an inspiration for anyone intending to pursue the arts. The other article is a feature of the Chinese Theatre Circle's teahouse at 5 Smith Street. It was an evening well spent and anyone looking for a different sort of entertainment and enrichment should call up and make reservations.
 
Aside from writing articles, I am glad that I managed to write a short story and a poem for the Golden Point Awards and Goh Sin Tub competition respectively. As the competition is still going on, I am not at liberty to discuss my work here. However, I would like to thank Filipino writer, Joni Cham (author of In My Mother's House) for her help with my short story. It is such a waste that I did not have enough time to incorporate her suggestions into my final draft but I will edit it perhaps in December. Many thanks also to Jerrold Yam (Chasing Curtained Suns, Scattered Vertebrae) for his comments on my poem that spanned over many drafts.
 
The notion that writing and reading going together has been repeated by almost every writer out there. I am glad that I managed to read more books over the summer than I would in two semesters combnined. In no order of preference, the books I read are:
 
All Broken Up and Dancing by Kelvin Tan
 
Rickshaw Reporter by George L Peet
 
Red Dot Irreal by Jason Erik Lundberg
 
Chinese Theatre by Fu Jin
 
Tales from Beijing Opera by Huang Shang
 
Origins of Chinese Opera by Fu Chunjiang

Chasing Curtained Suns by Jerrold Yam
 
 
Speaking of writing and writers, I have decided to start a writer's blog. I was a little hesitant at first because it may come across as a rather pretentious move. Who am I to start such a blog when I have not published a book? Cognizant of that fact, I openly declare that I am an aspiring writer. Basically, the blog contains all my thoughts and experiences with writing. It is also a portfolio that allows me to keep track of all the articles and works I have written in case I need to fish out writing samples for job applications. It is also a sign of commitment as a friend once told me that if I want to succeed, I should take myself seriously be it as an actor or a writer. In any case, in the event that I fail, deleting the blog is only a click away. For the precious few of you who are used to this blog and hate to toggle between two blogs, fret not. I will post a quick announcement whenever there is a new post on the writer's blog.
 
So the final tally for this summer: 3 articles, 1 poem, 1 prose, 2 blog posts, 1 new blog, 7 books.