Trying to be pleased to thank you

Trying to be pleased to thank you

Winking like ninja stars as they fly across the messaging ether, the abbreviation "tks" has a neat yet potentially lethal shape. Short for "thanks", it looks harmless and, well, polite but it can be a weapon and shield for hypocrisy. The line between politeness and rudeness zigzags more than the outline of a ninja star.

I never tks-ed so many people in my life before I started work in a bigger office. I have never meant it less. I do not like that. The "tks" sometimes has about as much meaning as the signature "Warm Regards" or "Warm Whatever" you choose to have automatically stuck on to outgoing e-mail. Actually, it would be funny to see an e-mail message ending with "Warm Whatever".

I sometimes see messages with the "tks" imbued with a lot more meaning, but in a bad way. Without any dirty cursing though. Just a clean stream of tks tks tks spinning, twinkling through the air and sinking their poisonous blades into the backs of people.

The senders thank the recipients, sometimes doubly so ("tks tks" to go with the chirpy stuck-together greeting "hihi"), but they hide daggers in their hearts and in the angry thought bubbles above their heads, which later spill into revealing conversations not meant for the ears of the recipients. Are we polite so we can avoid confronting one another with the truth?

I have heard and seen barbed "tks" tacked on at the end of tirades. Okay, not so much tacked on but bashed in like smacking a Cantonese folk sorcery paper doll with a shoe. Yes, I have done that before. Bashing in a "tks" and bashing my own fake sorcery paper doll. As if ending with a "tks" makes everything better. As if asking for forgiveness at timed intervals means a blank cheque you can cash in for bad behaviour.

You know what, there might be some entertainment value in being politely mad. Well-mannered accented villains from James Bond movies tend to go, please and thank you, Meester Bond, before devising some exotic form of death for our shaken, not stirred hero.

Talking about death and the exotic, many years ago when I visited New York, I found it exotic that the locals barked "excuse me" at me because as an awestruck tourist, I was blocking the way by gawking at cinematic skyscrapers practically rocketing off the sidewalks.

I thought they were ever so polite because in Singapore, people just wordlessly hit you with shopping bags or expect you to step into a longkang (drain) because they absolutely have to walk two abreast as they are anatomically, atomically, photonically joined at the hip with their other halves.

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