The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Bad, badder, baddest
OKAY, I know. This is grammatically incorrect. The irony is that I am writing about our proficiency, or lack of, in English. I read somewhere that Pablo Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”. Well, I am no Picasso and neither am I a pro as far as grammar is concerned, but I do think that “bad, badder, baddest” do carry a greater impact and reflect my feeling more accurately. “Bad, worse, worst” somehow sounds rather lame. So, I am exercising my writer’s privilege – my journalistic license of being creative.
The “bad” I am referring to is the performance of the teacher, Rafidah Rahmat, who featured in an education video by Didik TV. This is supposed to be an educational channel, an initiative by the Education Ministry to help students without adequate amenities for online learning to receive lessons. The video is what Uncle Roger would say (in a pseudo-Hong Kong accent) “failure”. Nigel
Ng is a Malaysian stand-up comedian based in the UK. He is popularly known for his comedic character, Uncle Roger.
The “baddest” is the person who went out of his way to produce a “reaction” video that absolutely ripped and mocked poor teacher Rafidah. It was done in bad taste. It is the case of barefaced of cyber-bullying. He deservedly deserved the “baddest” accolade. Thankfully, the bully had a slim shred of decency. After being roundly chastised, he deleted his posting, and I understand, resigned from his post as a DJ in a local station.
That leaves the faceless Didik TV production team holding the can, labelled “badder”. They being faceless, so I suppose I can be a bit blunt. They are negligent on a few counts. Firstly, the casting producer should be hauled over the coals. There are many teachers with decent, nay, I should say, excellent command of English and good presenter to boot. Why were they not selected to do the honour?
It appears that the teacher was chosen because she volunteered. I work with quite a few voluntary organisations.
Here is one of my peeves. Some people have the attitude that because it is voluntary and unpaid hence there is no need to do a professional job. I recall in one of NGO meetings some of the elected Executive Committee members complained. “Why are we so fussy about following procedure. After all, we are all volunteers and unpaid.” Perhaps the casting producer is afflicted by the same malaise – “chin chai do, OK lah.” (a quote from one of my more earthy friends.)
I saw a posting by a teacher and one of those who volunteered to produce content for Didik TV said that none of them received training on scriptwriting or producing slides for broadcast. She said, “We were trained to design lessons and deliver them live in class (sic). This is foreign territory for us. Yet, many of my fellow teachers took up the challenge to do so.”
Recently I saw a promotional eposter of a seminar on presentation skill. The trainer stated for presentation excellence: “Prepare 200x, Practice 100x, Present 1x”. So, there is no escape – prepare, prepare, prepare, practise, practise.
I saw a motivation video of Usain Bolt where he said, “when people see you run, they say it looks so easy, effortless. But before you get to that point, it is just hard work, day in day out sacrifice”.
I had a conversation with a world champion of public speaking once and he said, “The presentation at the championship is just one take.”
“So, how do you ensure that the one take on the stage is good enough to win?” I asked.
He just replied, “Stage time, stage time, stage time.”
So, I have a few questions for the Didik TV production team.
Did they help teacher Rafidah to prepare the script? Did they view her script and give feedback on whether it was suitable for broadcast and how to improve it? Did they give the brave (dare I say foolhardy) teacher Rafidah the chance to rehearse and rehearse? Did they set up the studio with a teleprompter or autocue? Autocue is a device that allows a presenter to read a script whilst maintaining direct eye contact with the audience. I notice that Rafidah was looking down all the time to read her script.
Many people rallied behind the teacher saying that she tried her best. Finally, I want to ask Didik TV. Do they have the guts to say to the volunteers “Your best is not good enough? Let us work on how to make your best better.”
If they did not carry out their responsibilities diligently, I would say that they have thrown the brave teacher under the bus or more appropriately, thrown her to the wolves. Believe you me, the cyber-world is full of wolves, ready to pounce, making their mark and having achieved their few seconds of fame, slink away. My two-cent worth to Rafidah. You have the guts to step up to the plate to try to bring education to the students. Kudos to you. Just one further step. Accept that your best now is not good enough but have confidence that you can be better. I know in your vicinity many can help and coach you to be a good presenter. There is even an organization that specialises in teaching public speaking skills. There is a saying, “when the student is ready, a master will appear”. So, go to it. I love to see that day when you can make those who mocked and laughed at you eat their words.