My Anthem

Friday, September 28, 2007

Do you mean what you say?

In modern days, we seldom hear the saying: A man's word is his bond. (In the olde days, before the domination of the feminism cause outwardly demonstrated by bra-burning! when we said "man", it denoted both genders were represented. Of course then the third classification like homosexuals had not inruded into public consciousness in a big way. Like socialists once, they remained in the closet. This early digression is just for explanation purposes as background.)

So in the world of commerce in the old days, businessmen entered into verbal contracts and most times, there were no major breaches. Because then a man's word was his bond. And gentlemen seldom broke their bonds.

Forward to the 20th and 21st centuries, man had to rely on lawyers to bind their agreements. It made the solicitors very happy and courts became too busy and under-staffed as even with written contracts, more people did not keep to their word. Or the sipirit of it. Words are mere "closest approximations" of the intentions of two signee parties to an agreement, and some smart lawyers wrote in "loop holes" in small print to exact an advantage for their clients.

So I pose to my Esteemed Readers today: Do you seem to find that nowadays, people don't mean what they say in general?

That's my stance and inference speaking from experience. Hence you hardly hear any reiteration of the highly esteemed boaste from the olde days: A man's word in his bond.

First, I can accept it if a person, because of his poor command of the language used in communication, he said something other than what wanted to mean. That is: he does not have any intention to mislead or deceive the other party. This is the absence of bad faith -- mala fide as said in legalese? -- and therefore the speaker could be excused if he was deemed to have not meant what he said.

But coming from a person conversant or well-versed in the language, then there is NO EXCUSE!

(Desi will continue later as he has to break for makan-makan, Helen -- hoRst of -- whispered to remind Desi it's way past runchdime awe the way from Ipoh!:) @1.48pm...

Strange Interlude: Mr Coww and I wandered into the cinetheque at TerminalOne (gas w'ear?) after a quikkie for some air-cond comfort in the heat of the Malaysian siesta time (we got more than what we bargained for -- it was chilling, maybe 15 degrees Celcius!) Well, the movie was "The Brave One" snd Jodie Foster was ery much the "adult" version of her in "Taxi Driver" decades back when she won an Oscar (Right?) starring alongside Robert de Nero.Second digression, which is a Blogger's privilege to abuse, so why not become one? No, don't become an abuse victim, become a blogger! I'd continue with this Inter:nude cometh Sundae if I survive the chill:)

So, as I was saying, "A man's Word Is His Bond" dictum nowadays is sorely tested, and many not-so-manly human beings fail the test, IMHO-lah.

I can forgive such instances when it's the lack of command of the language that causes an adult to not mean what he says:

* Educated mainly in Tamil, he made a speech in English and instead of "meaning to say" he's condident he could do the job if given a chance to prove himself; he said: "I can prove able to do the job confidently."

** Educated in Mandarin, he made a statement in English that his father wanted him to become an engineer but he was disappointed by qualifying as a proud scientist; by he meant to say that although he could have disappointed his father who wished he studied to become an engineer, he was nevertheless proud to qualify as a scientist.

In both instances, I believe the speakers did have some language "deficiency" and hence could not find the right way or words to express himself clearly. The result was that the speakers' meaning of their intended message was not properly conveyed. But there was no intention to mislead.

But in Malaysia, when it comes to leaders and newsmakers being reported in the media, especially mainstream, we often suspect the speakers have not been honest or sincere. As well put by many Bloggers, the leaders, especially politicians -- both Government and Opposition, but by default more of the former in that they are given more coverage! These politicians often say things just to please the audience for the moment, but later their actions often contract their words.

Do I need to give examples?

Okay, I'll try, but you can beg to differ for we are still a democratic society, though if you gather in groups of more than five at the mamak tehtarik stall, you can be detained under the ISA.

* Remember the leader promises to deliver a transparent and accountable government?
Between talk and action for the past four years, the people's "trust" in that leader's words has dwindled for sure because many listeners have heard the message but don't seethe actions in tandem with the expressed intentions. In sort, the leaders don't mean what they say!

* Haven't all the CEOs of listed companies assured their shareholders that "the shareholders' interests" would enjoy the highest priorityin the company's scheme of things and the management would do their level best to add value to their shares?

Hey, note that the bosses still help themselves with high emoluments and bonuses even when the companies don't perform. Worst yet, the bosses would "unload" their own shares while publicly expressing confidence in the company's prospects going forward. "Going forward" is a favourite phrase with corporate leaders, and do you believe they mean to take the companies forward most times? ask the many "retail" investors who land up burnt or "carryi

So art thou surprised that there exists a close and intimate nexus among Bigwig Politicians and Business Tycoons. (By contrast, Desi is a small businessman running a freelance writing venture and lives in a BIG two-story house:)

Anyone out there wanna answer the BN leaders', led by the PM, famous calls in leading NegaraKu towards Vision 2020:

"Let's Fight Corruption. Let's Promote Integrity."

"Talk To Me. Work With Me!"


I believe some idiotic leaders truly mean what they preach to their Eat, Drink and Be Merry youths:

"Come on board the bandwagon. We'll make you a multi-millionaire by 27!"


The Ancient Mariner said...

Eh Desi, you must have heard about a federal minister who said, "Thank you for the hospital" instead of 'hospitality' ... haha

Maverick SM said...


People do hold to what they said and meant what it was said.

However, the world evolves and politics is about change and paradoxical.

Like what Bush said: Do what I tell you to do; not what I did.

Saying or telling others what to do or will do is intended to be what it is. But could it be done, is a matter of fact and would depend on the political environment including the factual position of power or threats.

Most of all, whatever is said by politician was absolutely intended for the hearer and voters. It is meant to soothe their ears and draws their support. Whatever will be done is personal, and will be done if it benefit the self. This is Ayn Rand's Objectivism.

Twisted Heels said...

In a more general context, we say things to please people more nowadays than trying to convey the real meaning especially if it's not so pleasant on the ears.

For me, I keep telling customers 'sorry' until it holds no meaning anymore. I'm not sorry!

pavlova said...

heyo.. just dropping by to say Hi.
Yes, unfortunately in this cynical world a lot of ppl don't mean what they say, unless we hold them in black and white.

but nonetheless, for the very few who do appreciate the true essence of integrity, it's a privilege to have them in our lives.
take care my friend, hope to catch up with you sometime? :)

desiderata said...

dear awe ER:

"awe" is DDC wordplay on "all" as Desi believes all his readers are awesum.

WRT "These politicians often say things just to please the audience for the moment, but later their actions often contract their words." the blardy writHer was careless in maing an ellor, a case of More haste Less speed and "contract" should read as "contradict" as planned by this speaker in the written word. Butcome to think of it, "contract"-ing their intent is ironically apt for most politikus, yes? And by now, most of my ER would no the preeding is a RHETORICAL Q, which is a question that does not anticipate any answer from my ER. It's defintely NOT sarcasm though some perceive Desi as being prone to this weeknurse. Todie it's Sundae Sept 30 as I reply as I'm feelin' off-form, a layman's hint he's not wellA, so send some grapes, NOT gripes K! -- to Lobal, Selemban KO?

desiderata said...

ah, ancient mariner, my fellow Selemban knight, how art thee. welcome thee t my sheep with tehtarik after night falls when we break fast...

Yes, I enjoyed capital hospital at the Seremban Genelar Hospitality recently. And the docs and nurses put the hostesses in the MASs plane to shame I must say, but I'm not in the hospital trade!:)

desiderata said...

mave: I asked for dat joke about "kemaluan" and you gave me a lecture on wat? -- "Ayn Rand's Objectivism."

Thanks a thousand, now if thee gift my eager ER the "kemaluan" tutorial, they will surely thank thee juta-jutaan terima kasih!:)

desiderata said...

now cometh a pair of twin sisters from the peral of the orient, but tempolarily in London and NZ? or Ozland respectfoolly. My engrish like one ex-MB when in Down U nder not goode enuf to fill in kastam forma, so if pockets fool of currency, who can charge for his fullery, eh?

Theels: what you wrote applies in general intercourse so society can proceed with decent interactions. Hence we bow our heads often as salespeople like Jepanurse to close the biznurse. Yes, "solly" is becoming an ezy word, so its normal meaning is LOST in the forest of pleasantres of commerce worlde.

But at a personal level, I believe in meaningful relationships, we must "mean what we say" OR we art guilty of dishonesty and inSINcerity, yes/No/mayhaps?

desiderata said...


Among my ORIgials mGf from blogsphere, also landed.
Long time no hear, do I see AUD dimes?

Yes, when you're back -- twistedHeels too! -- try make it to see in person Dr Mave yeoh sm, also Dr say yee how also renowned as howsy, on Oct 10, 2007 at PJ Keripapp Kelab.:)

Or me miss patience being also virtuous will await Y&A twins cometh Xmas or Chinoserie nude year!:):):)

desiderata said...

Dear Esteemed Readers awe, sum or in parts:

Desi is taking an unannounced HI-atus from todie.Gd willing and body able, I will be back with some satyre, sarcasm without bytes, and now I adjourneth for late CON BF at Men Kee, hoping myGOoDfriend AM turns up to kolek her autgiraffed kopi of Poemes by desi fool of errata. So funny, I have met pavlova awe the way from PP and back from NZ and this shy-shy Anak Merdeka from Furong hydes hersefl from YL> Mama mia, why-lah, AM going MIA from AP till PM? Do I have to hunt thee down with Mave, howsy in Putrajaya 3+1th floor?