Feb 17, 2020
Just last week, a partial building collapse in Kuala Lumpur had the developer writing the following as their official statement via social media: " We note your concern on the [collapse] … we acknowledge of the occurrence of the incident … We will spare no effort in ensuring our obligations under the SPA are fulfilled … have our assurance on that". Ignoring the poor English, the tone of the communication was flatter than the building portion that collapsed, and done in such a monotone style as to come across as cursory and perfunctory - absolutely no emotion or concern involved.
There was no mention of the staff members trapped, and/or potentially injured was made, despite media highlighting this way prior to the developers communique. All up, the meaning conveyed was one of arms length interest, "just another industrial accident", and no genuine empathy for any stakeholder involved, least the injured staff. Trying to sound cool, calm, and collected, in fact backfired, as they come across callous and unconcerned. Perception, not words, is everything; and the perception provided was not a positive one.
Words are political. By that, we mean, each and every word chosen in a dialogue or prose has a political slant – they take on a select and specific meaning in the context they are used, and are chosen to enhance or water-down the statement being made. They include, just as they exclude; and they embrace, just as they show disinterest.
The problem here, as society and language develop, and with thanks to social media disseminating information so much faster on the time-space continuum than ever before, our audiences are beginning to see through the facade of PR speak, and realise the real meaning of the words being used – the terms “cover-up” or “whitewash” come to mind.
Read more at: https://orchanpr.blogspot.com/2020/02/the-politics-of-meaning-be-careful-what.html
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