Thursday, February 19, 2004

Bad English

If I have to write another e-mail back to someone who doesn't know how to use pronouns or plurals properly, I am going to loose command of my own language! Okay, you can judge me as a racist, and a racist against my own ethnic group, no less. I'm trying very hard to understand and be patient with some people lack of facility with English. Maybe I should actually take Mandarin or Korean so I can understand how difficult it is to communicate in another language that is so far from my own... but I just want to be around others who will help me get better at writing- not worse! (I realize that this is more of a rant and I will have to return to this to piece out my thoughts in a more coherent manner).

I am responsible for publishing a newsletter for our group... and I'll be damned if I have to release something to 10,000 people within the company if it is unintelligible and poorly crafted. However, when I go back and forth with certain people in my group who don't have a good command of the language... I usually spend a day or two sending email after email back with revisions. They send their own revisions back which usually make the content more unclear or their grammar is so poor that I can't justify actually releasing to the public. I'm no grammar and style maven myself, but I do have somewhat of an understanding of what is clear and readable and what is not. I am so tempted to cut and paste the original text that was given to me here just to demonstrate how bad it is.

And here's another problem as well... the people who write these submissions are usually Asian males who tend to be smug and reticent about having to explain themselves in the first place. I almost get the feeling that they assume that we should understand their words and should not question them. This is what happens when your parents unreasonably deify you and give you treatment that is far above what your female siblings receive. I have never understood that about Asian cultures! How they could do this? Maybe this is why many of the Taiwanese and Chinese women I have met tend to raise their voices when they want to get something done. (This is how they speak when they want to be heard. Please bear in mind that I'm still ranting here).

My father is a pretty textbook example of an Asian male who thinks that the world revolves around him, and my mother left him because of he held this view. Apparently living with someone who could not take her ideas and feelings into consideration was no longer acceptable. I look at the few of the Asian men I work with somewhat closely, and I see many similarities in their behavior and attitudes to my father's. They often don't want to be bothered by what others think and they are extremely focus on their goals. More, they don't feel like they have to document their work for the future reference.

Look, I'm not saying that all Asian men are like that and that men of other ethnic backgrounds aren't capable of being insensitive and aren't unreasonably self-assured about their assertions. I have friends (Asian men) who are considerate, reasonable people who know how to listen to others. They were not necessarily raised in this country. However, I do think that some Asians raise their sons as if they were gods and not mortals. I feel the same way about them as I do about the parents who let their child scream in line at K-mart. I think to myself, "We're all building the world- one asshole at a time."


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