I have been writing online in Singapore for a little over three years now (here), and the experience has been quite tremendous, in terms of meeting new people and representatives, as well as articulating my perspectives through commentaries. Besides these advantages, more fundamentally, I have always sought to improve my linguistic and writing skills too; hence, I will pen two quick points (questions, not necessarily answers) which have emerged over the past month or so.
How should one express himself linguistically online?
Weeks ago, two gentlemen left interesting comments on Today’s Voices page (above) – responding to my letter on how policy-makers can expand spheres of influence through dialogue sessions (here) – which led me to think about whether I have been needlessly verbose, and how my communication can be improved. These criticisms are not new (here), and certainly possess some form of validity (though I am not entirely sure I can tweak my style to appeal).
I have been making small adjustments to render posts more accessible: I have cut down on double words, adjectives and nouns (a technique typically reserved for oratorical presentations); I have sub-headings to guide the readers, especially for longer articles; the arguments are structured more intuitively, et cetera. More importantly, in response to the comments that I had prioritised breadth over depth in my areas of focus, I have narrowed down my writings to three key areas: education, National Service and community service. Consequently, I do feel more confident that I am adding value to present discourses.
Moving beyond the rhetorical dimension?
With the website, what is the next step for me? Writing about issues of interest is great, because it frames your thinking, coerces you to explore alternatives, and allows you to learn – especially if you are wrong – through discussions and debates. But I need to take the next step; and that for me means placing even greater emphasis on generating solutions, as well as policy recommendations (such as with the community service study (here), and the National Service survey (here)); meeting up with more stakeholders, political representatives (discussing these proposals); eventually looking to see how they could be applied. Most significantly, continuing my commitments with service organisations and non-profits is absolutely imperative.
Fingers crossed; a potentially wild ride, but could be a wonderful one.