Words used in communications frames the perception of the readers' reality. As such, words plays an important part in creating the right public relations between the subject and the reader. An example of this is highlighted in the choice of words used by our political parties in explaining mistakes or errors made in statement.
"WP clarifies Gerald Giam's remark in Parliament" shouts one of the headlines in The Straits Times today. This is reference to statement made by Mr Gerald Giam in Parliament recently on the debate on ministerial salary.
When PAP's Grace Fu tried to explain her Facebook status update on ministerial salary, the headlines shouts, "Public misunderstood my comments: Grace Fu".
Without going into dictionary definitions, one can clearly see how these two words "clarifies" and "misunderstood" immediately create a perception of how one frames the image of these two subject making that statement.
"Clarifies" creates the perception of "We made that statement and we have made a mistake in our explanation. Let us explain."
"Misunderstood" creates the perception of "We made that statement, but it you that do not understand what we wanted to say. Let us explain."
When one attend any marriage counselling or marriage preparation course, one of the most important lessons taught in communicating with your other half is not to start an argument or "nice" conversation with "You", instead to it with "I".
"You" creates the perception of one's index finger being pointed at you. A pointed index finger, according to body language experts is like an imaginary knife targeted at the recipient, thus is seen as a gesture of aggression.
When one starts a conversation with "I" or "We", it creates the perception of welcoming the recipient to your world so that the recipient can see the situation in the eyes of the speaker. "I" or "We" statements are often seen as a welcome gesture.
As such, when Workers' Party issue a release to clarify a statement, it is welcoming the readers to its environment to see how and why such a statement was made. "Clarify" is neither aggressive or defensive.
When the word "misunderstood" is made, it immediately creates an aggressive stand in putting the blame on the readers. When "attacked", the readers' instinct is to create a defensive wall to protect against such aggression, creating a war of words between the subject and the readers.