THE United Nations has officially declared a state of emergency for the English language, following a rebranding exercise by Singtel - formerly known as SingTel - that has ripped a hole through the space-time continuum.
On Wednesday, the country's largest telecommunications group unveiled a tagline that read: "Let's make everyday better." It also changed its uppercase "T" in "SingTel" to a lowercase one, resulting in "Singtel", which is how it henceforth wants to be known.
News of SiNgtel's ungrammatical slogan has thrown various international bodies into a state of upheaval.
According to the UN's director-general of Lingual Peacekeeping, SinGtel's tagline is a formal violation of subsection 1688 of the Geneva Convention which pertains to the use of "every day" and "everyday".
"Every day" is used to refer to each literal calendar day, while "everyday" refers to the routine or ordinary.
"We are forced to declare the slogan as an act of aggression against the English language, which is spoken by 1.5 billion people around the world - yes, we have to count the Americans, unfortunately," the director-general said.
On Facebook, SingtEl has indicated that it does indeed know the difference between "everyday" and "every day".
In response to a customer who pointed out the grammatical error, a SingteL customer service rep said: "The 'everyday' in our tagline does not mean 'every single day' but actually refers to the 'everyday things' in life, to make the ordinary day better; which is a more humble promise."
While "every day" is a noun, "everyday" is an adjective. According to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), it is physically impossible to make an adjective better. But because the sheer forcefield of the slogan has been able to surmount this scientific impossibility, it has altered the laws of physics and set off a chain reaction of significant proportions. Malapropisms are multiplying. Participles are dangling. Subjects and verbs are in violent disagreement.
By Thursday, chaos reigned as the slogan warped the basic rules of English grammar at a molecular level. Books, newspapers and magazines rewrote themselves, incorporating commonly made grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. Schools cancelled English classes and replaced them with PE, much to the dismay of fat and articulate children everywhere.
By Friday, full-blown panic had hit the streets as the slogan's forcefield began to assert itself on human speech. As commas disappeared, young children went into hiding because their mothers began yelling, "Time to eat kids!".
A CEO of an independent publishing house said: "This slogan is literally the straw that broke the camel's back."
On the Internet, netizens posted messages about being afraid to "step foot" out of their house, while others chided them ("Your being a coward").
The website of the International Pacifists' Union was not spared. Appealing for calm, their statement read: "All we're saying is give peas a chance."
At the World Economic Forum which began in Davos this week, however, proceedings continued smoothly because the only language spoken there is Money.
In Singapore, the financial community was particularly worried about S!ngtel's new logo, which features five red dots in an arc that head upwards before curving downwards. "That's not the trajectory of the stock price, is it?" a telco analyst said. "I don't have a valuation model for that."
The telco's customers were similarly bemused.
"Wait, so an 'everyday' thing is like when I do normal things like go number two in the toilet, right?" a postpaid mobile subscriber wanted to know.
"Why does Singtel want to make my bowel movements better? Actually, I guess they could be more regular. I should eat more fibre. You could say that I'd like to go number two every day."
Singt@l was unable to comment on this story, on account of this whole thing being completely made up. Except for the bit where they said, "Let's make everyday better". They really did that.
This piece originally appeared on Miss Ann Thrope, a blog on The Business Times website. For more, visit btd.sg/missannthrope