Don’t get me wrong, there are things that do bother me, but this is not bothering me at all. It’s just that I took note of it and thought it was remarkable.
This is about actors, presenters and singers that appear on TV from time to time. Mediacorp was revering to them as artists. That’s okay I though, it’s a small country and you have to look at your economy of scale and stuff, that’s why you don’t make a distinction between them, you just call them all artists. In a tiny country like Singapore, you’ll probably have to because, people need to be able to take-over eachothers role. Hey, the newsreader is sick, come let’s get that guy from Pua Chu Kang, I think he speaks English too. As the folks in this business say: the show must go on.
However, what I noticed recently is that these guys are not called artists at all. The union of presenters, actors and singers probably said that they’re worth much more and can’t just genericly be called artist. To make it sound more expensive they have followed the artist with an ‘e’, so that it’s now artiste. I saw this recently when I was reading something about Mediacorp, in which this was spelled out. Now, the Oxford dictionary says that there’s indeed such a word, but that in English the most common form to use is actually just artist.
So why do they want to call it artiste (with an ‘e’). There’s two possible reasons. The first reason could be that they’re trying to make it sound mediterranian. Check that word out in the French, Spanish or Italian dictionary. It probably exists in them all, and does contain the compulsory ‘e’. In Singapore, French or Italian goes together with words like luxury, as in a dinner prepared by the French chef, or the Italian Da Vinci furniture. Mediacorp could be trying to express that their artistes are luxury goods, and should be compared to Louis Vutton bags. But then: why do they look so cheap?
Another reason could be that they’re trying to make them all females. In my native language and also a lot of other western-European languages a job is made ‘female’ by just adding the ‘e’. Given the fact that most of the folks at Mediacop seem to be female (whether they’re genetically a lad or a lass), this could be a very good reason. I find it unlikely that in a conservative country like Singapore, Mediacorp would really openly do this though.
If it were up to me, I’d just keep it to the first reason: Mediacorp folks are supposed to be luxury items. So, I’ve decided that I’m going to print new business cards and follow their branding example. E-Marketer sounds cheap and in a western context almost like e-spammer. From now on, it’s going to be e-Acheteur!