CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Khaled Talib: Giving Language Its Due

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Khaled Talib: Giving Language Its Due


When exactly I first met Khaled is not quite clear to me. I feel like I’ve always known him since I’ve been out on Twitter. Maybe it’s because whenever I have needed an inspirational message or a swift figurative kick in the pants to get moving on something, it seems just the right words were flowing from the twitter account of this PR guru and experienced scribe.


If you follow Khaled, you know what I’m talking about. I find myself frequently sharing his tweets and those of the insightful peeps he follows. His tweeps also know that he’s a generous online friend and frequently RTs others, helping those he follows spread their news and words of wisdom. So when I learned that he was not only working on his own debut novel (a thriller called Smokescreen expected to publish early next year!), I was excited to tell my readers about this thoughtful man. Then, just recently, I saw on his TL that he already has a book of motivational and inspirational phrases specifically geared toward writers available on, The Little Book of Muses. I knew right then given the large number of fellow authors and poets who chat with me that I had to share this wise and witty man’s words with my friends here on Twitter!


Khaled’s bio is fascinating. Born and raised in Singapore, this former journalist and travel writer has been around the world and met people of all backgrounds and cultures. It would make sense that when I approached him about doing a guest blog that he should happen to pick one of the most fascinating topics any of my guest bloggers has chosen so far (and that’s meant with no disrespect to past bloggers whatsoever): language and cultural respect for it. I think you too will find his frank, outspoken perspective on the subject intriguing.


Khaled, thanks so much for taking part in my CHRIS’S CORNER series and especially for helping me kick off a new set of guest blogs with this fascinating read. To connect with Khaled on Twitter, be sure to follow him at @KhaledTalib.




I am surprised that the world is still full of people who love and appreciate the written word (logophiles). I come from a society where almost everyone speaks Singlish, a crude pidgin language, which rapes and maims spoken English.


Since I was a child, I have never been able to understand or communicate effectively with most people in this country. Communication is more than often spoken in chop-chop fashion.  More than often, I am forced to comply with the nuances. I am like a double-agent, depending on who I am talking to.


If you are going to speak or write a language, you must give it due respect – be it English, French, Arabic or Japanese.  More than often in Singapore, when I do meet someone who has an appreciation for words – whether it is because that person loves poetry or books – they tend not to share their thoughts freely.


Many lack the confidence to express themselves. Their voices are often hidden in the pages of their personal diaries. They are pressured by society to talk in a certain way and behave in a certain manner. A friend of mine complained to me that she was accused of being uppity for using a certain word in a conversation.


A Speak Good English Movement is ongoing in Singapore. Mugs with language tips printed on them are distributed at food establishments and other places to encourage people to improve their proficiency in Standard English. So there you go…


For this reason, I muted myself for years, living in seclusion in my own mind. While I have no issue talking to someone with limited vocabulary, I am constantly tortured by boring conversations that revolve around gossip,  latest computers and gadgets, bargain sales and  discount coupons, mobile phones, stock market results — and stupid business schemes that never materialized. I tend to stare at people when they ask me what is the pixel size or dimension of my phone’s camera.  Do I honestly care?


Hardly do I hear someone who shares stories about their travels or talks about a page from a book. For as long as I have lived in Singapore, I have never heard anyone talk about a book they have read, notwithstanding my own family members. However, if it’s a how-to book that promises success and riches, well, that’s an entirely different story. While few yearn to share, they are… few.


My initial intention to create a Twitter account was to promote my upcoming novel, but in the interim I had no idea what I should tweet about. So I decided to broadcast a whimsical phrase that I had created, uncertain how the response would be   — and lo and behold! The world continues to have a pulsating sensation.


The response that I received on Twitter has been so overwhelming that I began to write more phrases.  I honestly didn’t think that my words would appeal to anyone. So it came as a surprise to me when people from around the world started raving about my quotes and re-tweeting them.  The response has given me a sense of assurance that the world is still a colorful place.



  1. Kim Jorgensen Gane

    Hello Chris & Khaled! Well done! It always surprises and delights me when I hear from either of you on Twitter. It truly has been a terrific tool for getting to know other writers like the two of you.

    • chriskuhn

      Appreciate the feedback and…likewise! 🙂 Khaled is a wonderful writer, a generous soul, and I’m thankful he was open to taking part in my guest blog series to share his honest, insightful words. Thanks, Kim! ~ chris

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