IDK, but I learned!

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

by K Liang


K Liang, is a Staff Writer of Quattro Communications. Not your atypical baby boomer, this ahjussi swears by Korean thrillers and tries hard to bridge the gap and catch up with millennials

WFH during MCO was testing and that is putting it mildly!


Something as key as communication via WhatsApp, mainly for speed and convenience, could go so wrong. One could be either caught in cross hairs or one could be literally tearing out one’s hair. And it could be even hair-raising with communication moving to the unfamiliar territory involving speaking in letters!


Speaking in letters (read as ‘incomprehensible’ as speaking in tongues) was my pet peeve during WFH or work from home (if you have not got it by now what this acronym meant).


Just picture this. A baby boomer working from home getting this cryptic AFK message on WhatsApp for example.


Horrors! What did I do wrong? What’s with this obscenity? WTF after all landed a ‘blue skies and everything nice’ septuagenarian a few days in jail!

Duh and facepalm! That would be the retort from the millennial office colleagues. It is away from keyboard’. AFK. Get it?


I had to school myself in a new lingo and jump hoops to survive this new environment that Covid-19 and its accompanying MCO landed us in. To save face and rather than keep on asking each time faced with new words, I did what millennials would do -- check it out in Google. That, introduced me to Urban Dictionary.


Thank god for Urban Dictionary. It became my very good companion during MCO. For the uninitiated, like I once was, Urban Dictionary is god-sent. It is a crowdsourced online dictionary for slang words and phrases, operating under the motto "Define Your World."


From then on, I became as smart as a millennial and built up by vocabulary.


I know what is IDK (I don’t know). BRB (be right back) will be my retort if thrown with seemingly complex ICYMI (in case you missed it).


That was how I survived IRL (in real life). There’s no FOMO (fear of missing out). YOLO, the millennials would be saying that I am stretching it a bit too far. (YOLO for you only lived once is just an overused acronym or expression for everything and anything)


Traipsing millennial speak was not the only challenge to communication during this period. Unfamiliar acronyms, new buzz words and catch phrases were as ubiquitous as the coronavirus. Acronyms that popped up everywhere were MCO (Movement Control Order), CMCO (Conditional MCO), the latest RMCO (Recovery MCO) and also CB (Circuit Breaker), the Singapore version of MCO.


Social distancing was never in the vocabulary of many. Even Zoom took on a new meaning with the widespread adoption and use of this web conferencing platform to bridge the social distancing gap.


While countries zoomed in to flatten the curve (another new popular phrase) in checking the spread and infection of Covie-19, the curve was steep for me in terms of learning. It was one vertical line reaching to the skies, nowhere near flattening. That is the new normal.


That is what old donkeys have to go through to learn new monkey tricks!

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