Mastering a word fight

By Cindy Rao Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/26 13:38:39

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

It is important to master your language.

When I found a post on Weibo with the above description, I was curious enough to click the photos. There was a comparison of the beginning passages of two articles from Chinese pop singer Xue Zhiqian and his ex-girlfriend Li Yutong, whose ongoing feud has been an online carnival for the past couple of weeks.

The beginning of Xue's article was a whole-screen long with no actual sentences. Its Japanese style of paragraph segmentation (while written in Chinese), absence of proper punctuation and abuse of ellipsis left an impression of hesitation and chaotic logic. You need to really focus to figure out what he wanted to say - and the content was quite irrelevant and hollow.

Li's article began with a 15-word sentence - "It's absolutely not a case of love for what happened between Xue Zhiqian and me." It was simple, powerful and to the point.

I would like to analyze the skills Li has shown in this rift for your reference.

It's not like we all have to fight with an ex-boyfriend who cheated on us and took our money. In addition, it doesn't mean I encourage you to start a feud with everybody who disagrees with you like Taylor Swift and J.K. Rowling. But the truth is, as long as we live there are chances that we will get hurt unless we fight.

Here are some tips to act gracefully in a feud (and win).

Know your enemy as well as yourself

If you are fighting with someone, think about how he/she would respond. In the case of Xue and Li, they know each other well as former lovers. If you are fighting some organization, it is very important to know the rules and unspoken rules and the best and worst results you can expect. Start with the best and stick to the worst.

I was going on a trip for the coming holiday to find the destination had suffered two strong earthquakes in a month. I had to call off the plan and it would result in a severe financial loss since the flight tickets and hotels I booked were nonrefundable. I called a friend who works for a travel website to know the force majeure exemption articles and their internal procedure of customer service, the possible outcome, etc. Her guidance did help in communications with travel websites and aviation/hotel suppliers.

Focus on reason and evidence

Sometimes, sentiment and sensation make a difference in a public feud, because the crowd of passive onlookers doesn't really care about the truth. All they want is to enjoy the show. You could take advantage of that but there always has to be a core of reason and truth in it, with substantial evidence for future needs. The eye-catching part in Xue and Li's feud was that people are waiting for further evidence that could support their accusations. Li is an expert in the timing and pace of releasing evidence, while Xue still needs improvement. For example, the screenshots he posted were widely challenged as forgery.

Skillful use of language

Never curse or use indecent words that may get you into vulgar personal abuse. As above mentioned, it is very important to express straightforward and logical ideas. Keeping calm and staying patient would make your response easier to accept.

With all these tips in mind, I would like to wish everybody a life without feuds.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.



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