A Forgiving Crowd


I’m not sure if I should be proud that 19 uniquely Singaporean words (or Singlish) were recently included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). These are not the first words to be added, OED has been adding Singlish since 2000, kicking off a new millennium of fractured English.

But who am I to say anything? I can’t even write perfectly and my blog posts must have made an English purist cringe with exasperation over a many broken rule and murderous act of the language.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer since I was born. Ok that’s an exaggeration… but since I can remember. Despite that, I didn’t become a career writer and often envy those who write for a living.

The desire was particularly strong when I was working in Reuters, the then world’s leading news agency. Whenever I met someone new and I told him or her that I worked in Reuters, the person would look at me with great admiration and exclaimed, “So you’re a journalist?” Of which I had to reluctantly kill the elevated moment with the truth that I was only in the sales department selling news.

With time I held on to the borrowed glory and led the conversation a little longer because by then, I knew a few journalists and could talk about journalism convincingly. No, I didn’t intend to be an impostor. Rather I needed to understand how news was collected in order to sell it.

Anyway, I digressed. What I’m trying to say is, it feels good being able to write. Writing normally and writing well are very different. Initially I was overly concerned with my grammar and vocabulary. These are important but one tends to be boxed up when you allow the rules to dictate your creativity.

So I adopted a basic code – ‘Write from the heart’ and remind myself – it’s the story that sells.

Over the years, I moved from a closet writer to writing for a small group of friends, to writing and publishing my stories, contributing to magazines, and now blogging.

The last check on my blog – over 20,000 views, 7,500 visitors from 61 countries. Suddenly I feel an obligation to write more professionally and not to use this space as a form of personal release of thoughts and ideas, record of my experiences and just do my own thing. People actually read this stuff!

First, I want to thank every one of my readers for being tolerant of my less-than-perfect English and rushed paragraphs put together in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere and everywhere, tapping on the phone, squeezing as much out of guest wifi, losing all my sentences and reconstructing them in frustration, getting stuck over and over again, feeling the artist’s rush and the performer’s nerves, with no editor or proof-reader to work with, just me and my words.

Wow! Now that I get this load of my chest, what I really want to say is you’ve been a most forgiving crowd, especially those who liked and commented on my posts. Really appreciate your kind gestures.

But despite what I said earlier about writing more professionally, I don’t think I’ll change my style of writing. If Singlish can make it to the Oxford dictionary, it shows that originality and authenticity do make a difference in expressing feelings.

So my dear readers, you will have to content with my wrong tenses and spellings because I’ll continue to write from the heart and keep telling you stories.

Have a happy Sunday!

Joan Yap

ps.. Please keep liking and commenting so I know you’re out there reading.



10 thoughts on “A Forgiving Crowd

  1. since the day you started blogging, it has been getting interesting with more depth in what you write…it will only be better by the days….well done mate!

  2. Always admired you perspective on life. Thank you for reminding us of thoughts and history that we forget.

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