Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Poorly-written Letter from the White House

I despair a lot about the state of English in the country. Most Malaysians don’t speak well and certainly, they don’t write well either. 

It is actually disgraceful and really embarrassing but we all conveniently put the blame on the BN government who had wilfully allowed the teaching of English in our schools to deteriorate so dramatically that most times, when I hear Malaysians speak – I cringe painfully. 

If there is any consolation, one prominent American seems to also share this problem. 

He had sent a letter to a fellow American but it would seem that he couldn’t write properly. And of course, because he is a public figure, the whole world now knows about it! 

That big-league person is none other than the US president, Donald Trump! 

The recipient of the note was a retired secondary school English teacher. And it must have been so badly-constructed that she tut-tutted her disapproval. Not only that but she corrected it before sending it back to the White House. 

Yvonne Mason (pic) from Atlanta, Georgia taught English at Hughes Middle School and Mauldin High School in Greenville, South Carolina for 17 years before retiring last year. 

She said the missive would have barely passed and there were countless grammatical errors. This included 11 examples of incorrect capitalisation of words such as “president” and “state”.

Facebook pic

“If it had been written in middle school, I’d give it a C or C-plus. If it had been written in high school, I’d give it a D”, Mason told South Carolina’s Greenville News. 

Mason argued the epistle – which was a reply to a note she had written about the Valentine’s Day school shooting which left 17 dead – was “stylistically appalling”. 

[A side note: For background info on the Valentine’s Day bloodbath, read about it @]. 

However, she acknowledged the document might have been penned by a staff member rather than the president himself. 

It doesn’t matter who wrote it – but if you are to receive letters from the highest level of government, you would expect them to be proper and correct. 

Still, Trump (right) is well-known for firing off rambling and inflammatory tweets – which include misspellings, typos and other linguistic errors – to his 52 million followers. 

Typos penned by Trump on Twitter include the now-famous “covfefe”, misspelling President Obama’s name as “Barrack”, “rediculous” and “politicons”. 

The White House too has issued error-prone news releases despite Trump boasting during his presidential campaign that he has the “best words”! 

Hmmm, I hope my English is proper and correct – it would be awkward and graceless of me to diss others when I too showed shortcomings in how I speak and write the language.

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