Letters to the Editor: PAssion?

The word of the moment gives our reader all the (wrong) feelings
LettersMarch 26, 2019
Our continuing correspondence with a reader, now antagonised by the spine-tingling ubiquity of one of this century’s most pervasive buzzwords – PASSION.

Dear Frank,

Thanks for writing back again; hope you’re feeling better after the last episode with the car ad. We continue to be impressed by the fact that you seem to look to us for life guidance, and truth be told, we panic at the office when your letters come in.

We do agree that “passion” is an awkward word to use in Asian culture and it generally does not sit well with our Singaporean psyche. Passion by definition is “a strong and barely controllable emotion “ (We doubt that the suffering of Christ is of relevance to this discussion, but that is also a definition of “Passion”). And really, while we are not lacking in passion when it comes to buying 4D tickets from previously winning outlets, or all that stuff that henpecked husbands do in Batam; we are hardly boiling over in visionary risk-taking or general expressiveness as a people.

“Passion”, in our somewhat emotionally stunted society, tends to be more linked to something illicitly revealing – not so much the innocent idea of doing something for pure love and joy. We also always feel, if asked whether or not we are “PAssion card member” at the Cold Storage cashier… that it’s like being asked if we are card-carrying members of a community centre-based swingers club. (Ghim Moh lodge? Or Pasir Ris?)

So, with regards to your rising feelings of randiness when you encounter the word, the short answer is no, you should not feel alone, weird, or one kind.

But we understand if you would like to not be habitually triggered by the wanton use of the word “passion” so we’ve come up with a quick and effective solution inspired by the civil service. Mentally replace the word “passion” with…



“Purview Made Possible”.

See… jia lat right? Suddenly, with one simple word change, the tingling sexiness of “Passion Made Possible” has been sucked out harder than a modified Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute with a jammed trigger.

“Purview” feels responsible, dry and measured. It is one of the many words that desperate civil servants use to sound like they have something to say, or something to deflect. Ain’t no “passion” here! Just rule-following, by-the-book bureaucracy. And nothing is less sexy than that.

In many ways, “Purview Made Possible” actually makes more sense as a Singaporean slogan, because if you think about it, with purview, then scope is determined, KPIs are set, work is distributed… and then it is possible! And that’s how Singapore got to where it is right now.

So Frank, we hope we have provided you a mental focus tool to help control your wandering mind. We even encourage you to mouth it out quietly when you see the word “passion”. But if at this point, you now discover that the word “purview” gives you an ever bigger boner then “passion”, then you are clearly beyond help and we’ll just have to let you burn in your version of hell.

Your friends at JUNK

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