Words with Teeth

I’ve been getting an education in Islam, more than before, in some of our law classes. It was during our last Consti class that I learned of another common mistake made by people who do not understand the true meaning of treason.

It is quoted that the first Muslim Caliph after the death of Muhammad (pbuh), Abu Bakr, said that:

Behold me, behold me, charged with the care of government. I am not the best among you; I need all your advice and all your help. If I do well, support me; if I make mistakes, counsel me. To tell the truth to a person commissioned to rule is faithful allegiance; to conceal it is treason.

To me, that just makes total sense.

That is why I complain and fuss so much about the bad things that are happening in my country. I even offer myself to serve on government committees to help shape the direction and discourse. However, I come in a thorny package and not everyone can handle me.

I was recently asked by a colleague to help out with an overseas job application. This colleague said something to me that made me laugh a little inside. I’m paraphrasing but it went something like this: “your comments are very sharp, but they are very good.”

When I’m asked for my comments, I usually put my honest opinion forward. They can be sure of one thing – that my comments will be sincere and true. I don’t waste my time with platitudes though and my comments usually come out raw, which is why others sometimes think them sharp.

Some people think that it’s unprofessional of me to sting and hit out strongly but I disagree.

To me, being a professional means being able to check your emotions at the door. We must all be able to go into the room, trash things out truthfully, curse each other honestly, and come out of the room to share a drink after. However, there are usually plenty of people with very fragile egos in the room.

So, I must wonder whether it would be better to speak softly instead of bluntly.

Unfortunately, I’m my mother’s son and it’s been said by others that her words have teeth, so do mine I guess, and I have no intention on changing that any time soon. I would not be honest to myself if I did and that would be doing a disservice to others too.

Once I stop stinging and start lacing my words with honey, you should know that I no longer care.


Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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