Thanks Trinetta, for not standing on ceremony!

Posted on 03 August 2011

Valedictorians have a lot to live up to. You just upped the ante.

By Belmont Lay

The view from the stage is surprisingly good. You can tell who is actually sleeping or iPhoning.

Hello Trinetta, you seriously did a John Cleese!

With just one word, you managed to turn cultured, sterile and dreary pomposity on its head.

And provided a spot of fun and spontaneity to the proceedings.

I should know because three weeks ago, I was invited back to NUS (my alma mater) to sit on stage and watch this year’s commencement ceremony.

Despite me being a dunce, the organisers made me wear a Zorro-meets-burrito-seller hat and shoulder-padded blue graduation gown, which was what the rest of the uberacademics and professors were wearing (in some form or another).

Sharing the dubious and undeserved honour of being on stage with all these beautiful minds made it fun and novel for me!

But can I say everyone else in that auditorium being a graduand or watching the commencement was having a ball of a time as well?

Certainly not!

From where I was seated on stage, I could see the audience in various states of concussion, with many others passing in and out of consciousness.

And this was only after the first invited speaker took over the microphone!

Many others were madly molesting their iPhones, obviously Angry Birding.

Still more others were in a state of fantasy, while several were displaying classic signs of incontinence: Fidgety, crossing their legs and trying not to grimace.

Last but not least, I could tell from the faces of some who were trying to will themselves to die or for the ceiling to collapse. So they could find an excuse to leave.

But because of valedictorians like you, you turned uneventful into memorable.

I remember two years ago when I was attending my commencement ceremony, the valedictorian from my batch executed a sleight of hand.

He had submitted his pre-written speech for vetting to whoever gets paid in the university to vet stuff, abiding by the standard protocol.

But being the cheeky bastard he is, he did the classic switcheroo: He pulled another script from his pants on the actual day of commencement and went on stage to give a speech that was completely different from what had been pre-written and approved. (Now I’m seriously thinking this kind of thing happens more often than people realise.)

The point is that he knew he could get away with it, saying what was not pre-arranged, veering away from the beaten path of approved boringness.

And there was absolutely nothing anyone could do about it.

Think about it: When given the chance to amaze, bamboozle, showboat and wow the bejesus out of your audience, why would anyone play it THAT safe?

What was the Dean to do? Withhold his degree? Call the police? Radio campus security?

Think about it: When given the chance to amaze, bamboozle, showboat and wow the bejesus out of your audience, why would anyone play it THAT safe?

Isn’t it worse to bore your listeners to death? Isn’t that a greater disservice?

Boredom is offensive to people, especially those like me, you know.

Boredom is the most intolerable form of death besides being burnt at the stake.

If I had to choose between death by boredom or castration, I’m inclined to pick the latter.

Even better still: Lock me in a room facing a wall for 24 hours with only bread and a dish of water as accompaniment.

And if you dare let me out: I’ll cave in and admit with gay abundance to all 17 counts of unsolved homosexual rape in the last five years.

Simply because I hate catching a case of boredom. It’s more deplorable than Ebola.

Therefore, what’s wrong with pushing the envelope and being spontaneous?

Some people, like this Bennie Cheok guy find time in their day to be professionally displeased enough to write to The Straits Times forum page decrying how using an expletive is “unnecessary”.

I believe Siew Kum Hong said the same too when interviewed by The New Paper.

Whether it is “necessary” or not is besides the point!

Come on! How many things in life are truly necessary besides breathing, drinking and eating?

I say: Blurting out what traditionally shouldn’t be said or done should be the new tradition set by valedictorians.

If you can’t or wouldn’t do it, you shall be roundly booed off stage by your peers.

So here’s the point of today’s missive: You just got to know when to break the rules some times.

So Trinetta, all I can say is that you got it refreshingly right (Which is why you got that rapturous applause!).

For that, thank you fucking very much.

This post was written by:

- who has written 230 posts on New Nation.

Contact the author