Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We F***ing Did It?

I'm not too sure how big of a deal it is in Singapore, but I know that if a class valedictorian ended her speech during a graduation ceremony with "We fucking did it!", it would create a hugeeeeee brouhaha in Malaysia.

If you do not know what I am talking about, watch this first:

Honest to God. She ended her speech, as valedictorian of the graduating class of 2011 from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information of the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, in front of the entire "board of trustees, distinguished guests, faculty", and parents of her fellow graduates (including her own, of course) with "We fucking did it!"

Did you cringe?

I did. >.<

I've never been able to really accept bad language. I used to reprimand some of my other classmates when I heard them using "bad words" in school (I know, what a goody-two-shoe! @.@)

However, over the years, yelling "Shit!" or "Crap!" when something goes wrong is fine. Calling someone a "bitch" is surprisingly growing on me (though I usually apologize quite remorsefully, after). And, much to the chagrin of my parents, "damn" is now part of my vocabulary to mean a higher degree than "very" or even "very very very very".

But among all these words with varying degrees of coarseness, I find the F word to be on the very top of that list.

Up until now, I have never been able to really say the word out loud. It's either "F" or "toot" or silently mouthed. While the rest of the world around me is using the word like water flowing from an open tap. They say it without thinking, without blinking. And here I am, still cringing every time I hear it. >.<

Well, I'm not here to say whether I think what she did was right or wrong. However, I would like to say that Ms. Trinetta Chong may have been a little inappropriate to use that word during a speech in a formal situation. No matter what reasons she had for using that particular word, the fact remains that F*** still brings with it negative connotations and is still offensive to a lot of people from all levels.

Putting that aside, I quite loved her speech. :)

It was simple, and her personality shone through. She was honest. She infused wit and humour into her speech--little jokes that I felt resonated with every single one of her fellow classmates who had gone through those four years in NTU. If I were one of them sitting in that great big convocation hall, I would smile or laugh at those crazy-but-good memories that I would certainly cherish always. Best of all in her speech, she managed to liken their School to that of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! xD

I kinda liked her :)

Even though I do agree with some that her ending line was inappropriate, I felt that her speech somehow showcased something that we Malaysians lack--a sense of camaraderie.

I have witnessed several Graduation Ceremonies since my first year as part of the Choir. There are just so many rules and regulations and protocol to follow. One thing out of place and it is seen as a hugeeeeeee sin, or something.

Everybody has their Datuk titles, or Dato' Seri, or Yang Berbahagia, or Yang Amat Berhormat. Refer to the wrong one and you'll most likely hear gasps of shock throughout the entire hall.

Why do we hold on so tightly to protocol? Why are all these titles so important? Why do we constantly want to remind ourselves of our position? To remind others that we are a rank above the rest? That we are better than everyone else? That the rest are beneath us? Unimportant? Insignificant?

A speech like that in a Malaysian institution of higher education will create a big brouhaha all right. Not only because it is considered inappropriate. More than anything, I think it will create a brouhaha because it will be considered inappropriate in front of our Datuks, Dato' Seris, Yang Amat Berbahagias and Yang Amat Berhormats. Such camaraderie would be inappropriate in the presence of these Very Important Pricks People.

Do not get me wrong. I am not saying we should not have protocol. Protocol is good. It keeps things in order, and structured. But not to the extent that in all ways, we are practically bowing and kowtowing to these people of higher ranks.

All I'm wondering is why we cannot have a simple graduation ceremony for the graduates, with no boring speeches by whichever Professor Emeritus who is receiving an award at the same time we are graduating. With no heavily-emphasized protocol. With no orang besar with long names and long titles (like Prof Tan Sri Dato' Dr. *insert even longer name of over ten syllables here*).

I'd like to hear a speech where the person begins by admitting she feels like she's "about to pee in her pants at this moment". I'd like to hear a speech thanking the lecturers for, something close to my heart too, like "allowing us to eat during lectures," at my graduation ceremony. 

How cool would that be? :D


k0k s3n w4i said...

I disagree with you. I fucking love words that society somehow disapproves of for puritanical reasons, and the more people think they are inappropriate, the more I am fucking moved to use them.

I was once told that the usage of foul words is the mark of a person with a fucking poor vocabulary. I am also frequently told that I write rather fucking well.

Liz said...

Ahaha, I guess I'm really still a noob! Even though my tolerance for foul language has significantly increased from my high school days, I still cringed every time I read "f***" in your comment! xD haha~

I guess there's a rebel in all of us. The more people think we shouldn't, the more we want to! :P

And it IS true, you do write rather, um, well :D