Monday, March 14, 2011

Is it really "Game off for Asian Accent?"

On March 6th, The Straits Times, Singapore's leading newspaper, published a story about Ms. Kelly Ong, an online gaming commentator who has been ridiculed for being hard to understand. (I wish I could link to the article for you, but it's protected content.) 

In a nutshell, Ms. Ong has been hand-chosen from a number of gamers to be a commentator for one of the Asian Championships for an online game. Now, I know very little about online gaming, but you don't have to listen to her for more than 30 seconds to realize that this girl really knows her stuff!

Regardless, online gamers have been tearing her apart, complaining that she's too hard to understand and that someone with such a "heavy accent" shouldn't be allowed to be a commentator. The Straits Times pointed out that most of these comments were coming from native English speakers.

I wrote into the paper to stand up for Ms. Ong and her accent. They published an edited version of my letter in the Life! Mailbag section (p.E6) on March 12th. Here is my full response explaining why I think we need to redefine a "proper English accent" and "fight the misconception that accent and clarity are linked."