balitang binisaya

Yours sincerely

April 17, 2020

WHEN letters were the only form of written correspondence, signing off was obvious. Actually I am still  adopting that old tradition. No matter, if it comes to letters or emails. It's just a matter of respect and education. If addressing a sir or madam, it was unambiguous. You concluded "yours faithfully". When writing to a specific person – for example, a Mr or (hey, ladies first!) – it was simple, your letter would always be signed off "yours sincerely". Only missives to family or close friends would ever finish with a "love from" or "with much love, yours". For many people, there's a weird status thing when it comes to the more blunt you are in emails. I'm asking myself, why? An email is just a letter - an online one ... . Sad to say,  the arrival of email has disrupted this etiquette, making the rules far less obvious. Indeed, for many of us there are no rules. A whole subculture of personalized email sign-offs has emerged everything from "TTFN" to "peace out". And of course, it’s not just what we say but why we say it. Neither in English nor in any other language. I get the same stuff in German written emails and even letters or text messages. "Emails have become the medium of business, leisure, family, love and everything,” says children’s author Michael Rosen. When we sign off emails, we try to give off the "right vibe", he adds. He says it’s all about how we want to come across to the recipient. "Thoughtful, grateful or just very, very busy?" Oh sure, we are all so very, very busy... . Some of the most successful business people are notoriously blunt in email communication – if they even bother with a sign-off at all. "There's a weird status thing when it comes to the more blunt you are in emails, the more you can be (blunt) because you're senior in the company," says author Emma Gannon, recalling the editor of a famous newspaper whose response to pitches was often just a curt "yep" or "nope". Although being succinct can convey a certain authority and status, it also communicates a dose of self-importance or arrogance. And we’ve all dealt with bosses who fire off email edicts of "is this done?" or "update me on that". Even if they are not so direct, many emailers (email senders?)  like to convey a sense of being busy by using or adapting abbreviations. So "kind regards" becomes "KR", or "yours" may do away with pesky vowels to leave "yrs". Heaven forbid! "When someone signed off 'BR' for 'best regards', I just thought they were cold, brrr," says Gannon. And, in my opinion, sorry to say, I even don't reply anymore after receiving such correspondence. Oh sure, we are all busy, but there should be just a minimum of respect, if I communicate with someone. In business or personal. By letter, email or text message. Many times, there are those who pare it down to the absolute minimum, signing off with simply their name or even just the initial letter of their forename. Others might omit a sign off altogether. While this may come across as peremptory or rude, at least it avoids misinterpretation. Nearly formal but not totally formal, but they're not as informal as 'CU in a MNT on bus OMW'. Some people swing the other way and end their emails with an altogether friendlier tone. While most would consider that kisses have no place in a business environment, they often creep into emails – and sometimes from people the recipient has never even met. For some, an "x" at the end of an email is a friendly end note; for others it is totally inappropriate. What’s clear is that some British terms used to end emails just do not translate well. A casual "cheers" is frequently used as a sign off on UK emails, but can be utterly perplexing for other nationalities. Not surprising when a hearty "cheers" also can be used for clinking glasses at the pub, or to thank a checkout person at the supermarket. Here we have to deal with British and American English. For author Michael Rosen, emails now occupy a halfway house between texts and letters. "The key thing is that emails aren't the same as letters. I position them in my mind as a sort of halfway place between texts and hard copy letters: nearly formal but not totally formal, but they're not as informal as 'CU in a MNT on bus OMW'," says Rosen. I strongly agree with him. And, he adds given their place in this ambiguous no-man’s land of communication, it follows that there will continue to be a whole raft of ways to say "goodbye". +++ In times with Covid-19, I can only say: people stay safe. And sad to say but it will never be the same again. +++ Email: or follow me in Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit my or .


April 15, 2020

I LOVE both. Veggies and any kind of meat. While staying at home due to the "house arrest",  I fund much more time and came across a new slogan: pass the beans, hold the beef to save yourself and the planet. I suddenly felt guilty while really enjoying a wonderful steak for lunch today. With salad of course. But here is the thing: Humans need to eat more beans and lentils and less red meat to protect the planet and our own health, researchers said. Meat intake for adults would be limited to 14 grams per day, that's about half a slice of bacon. Again: half a slice of bacon!  How many slices did you take for your breakfast today? Where did I get all this stuff? Food production and consumption must change drastically to avoid millions of deaths and "catastrophic" damage to the planet, according to a study published already on January 16, 2019 in the scientific journal The Lancet. The key to both goals is a significant shift in the global diet and would mean eating about half as much sugar and red meat and twice as many vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts, the study found. Researchers from the EAT-Lancet Commission said, and allow me to quote, that if people followed the "Planetary Health" diet, more than 11 million premature deaths could be prevented each year, greenhouse gas emissions would be cut and more land, water and biodiversity would be preserved. The diet would see adults limited to 14 grams of red meat a day (about 30 calories — a quarter-pound burger patty contains roughly 450 calories), no more than 29 grams of poultry (around one and a half chicken nuggets) and 13 grams of eggs, or just 1.5 eggs per week. The diet is the result of a three-year project commissioned by The Lancet and involving 37 specialists from 16 countries. I don't know how you feel right now, my dear readers while getting to know this: "We are in a catastrophic situation," said co-author Tim Lang, a professor at the University of London and policy lead for the EAT-Lancet Commission that compiled the study. We are indeed in a catastrophic situation because of the Covid19. But climate change is still far from over ... . Lang said feeding a growing population of 10 billion people by 2050 with a healthy, sustainable diet will be impossible without transforming eating habits, improving food production and reducing food waste. "We need a significant overhaul, changing the global food system on a scale not seen before," Lang said. Life-threatening diseases  including obesity, diabetes, malnutrition and several types of cancer are linked to poor diets. Researchers said unhealthy diets currently cause more death and disease worldwide than unsafe sex, alcohol, drug and tobacco use combined. Honestly, it's difficult for me to believe this. The dietary changes would be felt more in some regions than others. For example, people in North America eat almost 6.5 times the recommended amount of red meat, while people in South Asia eat only half the amount suggested by the planetary diet. Meanwhile, meeting the targets for starchy vegetables such as potatoes and cassava would require big changes in sub-Saharan Africa, where people on average eat 7.5 times the suggested amount. "More than 800 million people have insufficient food, while many more consume an unhealthy diet that contributes to premature death and disease," said Walter Willett of Harvard University. "If we can't quite make it, it's better to try and get as close as we can." Beans of beef? What's your decision at the moment? Hard to give the correct answer in times of Covid19. +++ Email: or follow me in Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin or visit my or .


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