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Dear email sender, I don’t want to e-meet you & I prefer not to touch your base

Soft truths to keep Singapore from stalling.

Tan Xing Qi | October 20, 11:18 am

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So what’s the problem? The fault in our emails.

Case in point? Do you mean caseS, since I can name you many (don’t get me started). How about “e-meet”? “Touch base”? An email “finding me well”?

Technically it’s e-meet since it’s e-mail? Since we are on the topic of technicalities, the word meet suggests a coming together in the presence of all parties. So when someone uses e-meet, does it mean the unthinkable notion of our physical shells being sucked into the Internet plane and finding and offering one another’s hands in an email?

Surely it’s not literal. Yes, I surely hope not because I don’t want to touch anyone’s base, nor do I want my base to be touched.

Pretty sure it means to briefly make or renew contact with someone. And I’m pretty sure one can easily replace “touch base” with something less touchy like “wasssup?”.

But that’s so… modern? True. And IIRC, it’s also true that the email is a product of the 20th century (1965 to be precise). So, IMHO, the contemporary “wasssup” can surely work. The physical letter has had a thousands-of-years headstart so I think we can stop being so uptight about email language.

And don’t even get me started on attachments…

What about attachments? “Attached please find…” — Yoda, are you? Are you allergic to “I’ve attached…” or “… as attached”? Admittedly, an attachment is a useful thing and gives the receiver more context but the presence of “attached please find…” breaks the spirit and limits any attempt at a meaningful human connection.

What, human connection? Okay you need to chill. I can chill when I’m dead; I’m not done.

Having a fixed sign-off is highly irresponsible: Imagine the look on my face when the content of the email throws me a couple of demands and deadlines but ends with a “Best wishes” or “Warmest regards”. Sure, send me another email but don’t send me mixed signals please.

Wow you don’t seem to be doing too well. Speaking of which, how is an email supposed to find me well?

I imagine a life-sized email standing at the corner, while observing me with my kopi at the coffee shop and reporting to its sender its groundbreaking discovery of my wellness. I’d like to think my life is going pretty well until an email decides to visit my inbox — hey, join these 743 other unread ones.

Ok, fair enough. You know what’s really fair? Fairness is having the decency to avoid starting the email with “Happy Monday” or Tuesday or whatever weekday: Happiness simply cannot be found in weekdays.

This article is pretty pointless. What’s the point of anything really? I kid. I think I’m giving quite a pointed opinion about the pointlessness of email language. But, yes, point taken.

Top photo adapted from Getty Images.

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