Monday, 14 July 2008

A plea to the new generation

UPDATE: For those of you following this saga, I'm now Facebook friends with this SBU student, and we've agreed to keep the flag flying high - so do turn up at the alumni gathering on 6 September 2008. Cheers, Joanna

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I've just received a note from a SBU student, asking me to announce the formation of an alumni association on 6 September 2008 at the new school premises.


It made me very happy and sad at the same time. I'm thrilled to know that the new generation cares enough to organise an alumni and reach out to the "older" generation. Yet, I am a little disappointed at the quality of English in the note, quoted in full below without edits.

(From SBUian to me)

hi. first of all, i know tat you are one of the ex of bbgs rite,? I think you have heard tat there will be an alumni going on in our school on 6 Sept. For more info, you can go to bbgs-sbu-alumni.blogspot.com. There'll ber an application form and hopefully you will be able to make it. Oh ya, can help to inform your other friends too ? Soory because i don't realli know them but hopefully can know them when they attend the alumni. Please reply if you have seen this msg.

(From me to SBUian)

Hi, I'd be happy to help you publish this information and I commend your efforts in setting up the alumni network. However, in keeping with the traditions of BBGS excellence, I'd appreciate if we could use proper English in terms of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Let's keep the flag flying high!

Come on girls...good English is the hallmark of a BBGS girl and some of us have gone on to become Pulitzer prize winning journalists. I encourage you to live up to the highest standards.

- From your super super senior

________________________________________________________

In less than 24 hours, this blog entry has drawn some interesting responses. I'd like to share some of these comments with you....

CW said...
Hi super super senior, I am quite amused with SBUian's enthusiasm in organising the alumni. It is this type of spirit & initiative that SBUian has, which is so lacking nowadays. And probably this girl wrote the email in a jiffy, hence the short forms & lack of grammar correctness? Whatever it is, let's admit it. BBGS indeed has instilled the best values in us. But not everyone graduated from BBGS with superb language skill. Not everyone will win a Pulitzer prize. But all of us have a talent or two or maybe more, to make BBGS stand proud still. Ok, so what is your plea again?

Joanna Yeoh said...
My plea? Simple sentences, proper English. That's all. You're right, not all of us will win a Pulitzer prize but we can still try to maintain some basic standards, don't you think?

Ade said...
Joanna, I do agree with you. This issue also happens to be one of my pet peeves so I feel that I really have to give my two cents' worth. It's the era of sms and internet chats that is contributing to these 'abbreviated' spellings and grammar.

Although it may be 'acceptable' when sms-ing, or in the chat forums, but it just does not come across well in writing.From SBU-ian's writing, it seems that she was 'chatting' with you but in the written form, rather than writing, which is really a no-no.And yes, not everyone is blessed with good grammar and spelling, but we can always T-R-Y.

That said, "Pulitzer prize winning journalists" is rather far-reaching for most of us mortals lah (ok so we are Malaysians, we can add some 'lah' here and there when giving comments Heh). Maybe "good blog writers" is nearer to earth? :-)

Hamizah said...

Hi Joanna..

It's great that you've created some brouhaha over good english.. It was in BBGS that I first got a big knock on my head over using perfect english... remembered when my class mates laughed at my inappropriate "did" or "done".. or the lack of it! It was hard... BUT, I learnt from the hardest way.. (remember the all english speaking day -- MONDAY? Duh.. that's when Monday Blues was created..) and now, I'm doing the same for my children.. During weekend, it's all english day.. It's imperative that the younger generations are taught & use proper english, because after school years, it'll be too late.. Believe me.. And yea, I'm not into abrreviation either.. It's lck feelng if x prpr wrds r usd..dnt u tnhk..?? :))


Concerned SBU-an said...

Dear super super senior,

I am equally appalled at the quality of the e-mail. As a concerned SBU-ian, I would like to apologise on behalf of the author. I myself am a former BBGS girl, albeit a young one. I only completed my Tahap 1 in primary school before we were kicked out of our plot of land. Haha!

Regarding the comments, I would like to reassure our other super super seniors that the level of competant English may have degraded in popularity (let's face it, we are facing a global english crisis), there are still those who practice the international form of communication (ring a bell?)

There is still hope, I hope.


Moonlake Lee said...

Hey Joanna

I understand your dismay about the standard of English in the letter....but look on the positive side- the new generation is trying to build a bridge to the "mature" generation....and I think this effort should be applauded.

We really do not want to alienate them and should encourage them in a positive manner :)

I have noticed a trend, however, among the younger generation used to using abbreviations while SMS-ing..that the SMS-speak also gets carried over to emails. I hope that more awareness is brought to this issue....and that while it may be acceptable in SMSes, it certainly is not acceptable in a more formal or business context.

6 comments:

CW said...

Hi super super senior

I am quite amused with SBUian's enthusiasm in organising the alumni. It is this type of spirit & initiative that SBUian has, which is so lacking nowadays.

And probably this girl wrote the email in a jiffy, hence the short forms & lack of grammar correctness? Whatever it is, let's admit it. BBGS indeed has instilled the best values in us. But not everyone graduated from BBGS with superb language skill. Not everyone will win a Pulitzer prize. But all of us have a talent or two or maybe more, to make BBGS stand proud still. Ok, so what is your plea again?

Joanna Yeoh said...

My plea? Simple sentences, proper English. That's all.

You're right, not all of us will win a Pulitzer prize but we can still try to maintain some basic standards, don't you think?

Ade said...

Joanna, I do agree with you. This issue also happens to one of my pet peeves so I feel that I really have to give my two cents' worth. It's the era of sms and internet chats that is contributing to these 'abbreviated' spellings and grammar.

Although it may be 'acceptable' when sms-ing, or in the chat forums, but it just does not come across well in writing.

From SBU-ian's writing, it seems that she was 'chatting' with you but in the written form, rather than writing, which is really a no-no.

And yes, not everyone is blessed with good grammar and spelling, but we can always T-R-Y.

That said, "Pulitzer prize winning journalists" is rather far-reaching for most of us mortals lah (ok so we are Malaysians, we can add some 'lah' here and there when giving comments Heh). Maybe "good blog writers" is nearer to earth? :-)

Hamizah said...

Hi Joanna..

It's great that you've created some brouhaha over good english.. It was in BBGS that I first got a big knock on my head over using perfect english... remembered when my class mates laughed at my inappropriate "did" or "done".. or the lack of it! It was hard... BUT, I learnt from the hardest way.. (remember the all english speaking day -- MONDAY? Duh.. that's when Monday Blues was created..) and now, I'm doing the same for my children.. During weekend, it's all english day.. It's imperative that the younger generations are taught & use proper english, because after school years, it'll be too late.. Believe me.. And yea, I'm not into abrreviation either.. It's lck feelng if x prpr wrds r usd..dnt u tnhk..?? :))

=========================================== said...

Dear super super senior,

I am equally appalled at the quality of the e-mail. As a concerned SBU-ian, I would like to apologise on behalf of the author. I myself am a former BBGS girl, albeit a young one. I only completed my Tahap 1 in primary school before we were kicked out of our plot of land. Haha!

Regarding the comments, I would like to reassure our other super super seniors that the level of competant English may have degraded in popularity (let's face it, we are facing a global english crisis), there are still those who practice the international form of communication (ring a bell?)

There is still hope, I hope.

Concerned SBU-ian

Moonlake Lee said...

Hey Joanna

I understand your dismay about the standard of English in the letter....but look on the positive side- the new generation is trying to build a bridge to the "mature" generation....and I think this effort should be applauded.

We really do not want to alienate them and should encourage them in a positive manner :)

I have noticed a trend, however, among the younger generation used to using abbreviations while SMS-ing..that the SMS-speak also gets carried over to emails. I hope that more awareness is brought to this issue....and that while it may be acceptable in SMSes, it certainly is not acceptable in a more formal or business context.