Mon, Dec 19, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letter: The power of language

By David Tzou

The language of political rivals has been causing divisions between the people of Taiwan for too long ("Chen and Lu need to grow up," Dec. 15, page 8). It is high time that politicians across the political spectrum put a stop to the bickering and seriously considered what could be done in the best interests of their constituents, rather than dwelling on how best to sustain their power.

Sadly, most politicians' verbal communication is nothing more than an outpouring of words with little thought given to the listeners' perspective. They are too busy thinking about what they want to say or how they might sound, and never really tune in to what others are saying to them. Genuinely meaningful, productive conversation has been very hard to find from them.

During last month's election campaigns, many candidates and those who stumped for them made promises that they could not deliver on. Mudslinging was also widely used. This kind of behavior proved to be counter-productive.

Command of language is one of the most powerful tools we have as human beings; it can either make you popular and powerful, or destroy you completely. When we choose our words carefully, we have the power to transform the way we interact with others.

Although we may not be aware of it, our words reveal who we are at our deepest core level. When we pay attention to the words we use and how we use them in our daily conversations, we begin to take control of our communication with others rather than having the communication take control of us.

In the face of the omnipresent and almost omnipotent mass media and with constituents now much more sophisticated, political leaders, and especially the top leaders of the country, should be more circumspect in what they do and say. People are holding up a mirror to these leaders. Maybe they don't like the picture in the mirror. But if they smash the mirror, the picture is not going to change.

Let's all begin to pay more attention to the words we use and see if harnessing the power of language doesn't start to change our fortunes.

David Tzou

Taipei

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