[VIEWPOINT]Take a tip from an old warblerNewspapers carried big headlines over a story they all carried saying that President Roh Moo-hyun received no applause during his first address to the National Assembly.
This story is a delicate one, in my opinion, because an absence of applause cannot be covered by television by nature. That is, there are news items that can only be covered by newspapers. It seems to me that even a biased television news anchor would find it hard to say, “President Roh received no applause during his address to the Assembly.” The story was fit for newspapers, but not for broadcasting.
I don’t want to talk about the differences between newspapers and broadcasting here, though. I want to talk about applause.
The ruling party grumbled at the opposition party about not creating a cooperative atmosphere. The opposition party complained that the president’s address had no points deserving of applause. Listening to the story is only an embarrassment for me. In a word, nobody is responsible for a lack of applause. If Mr. Roh’s were a cold-hearted address that hit the nail on the head, the address could stand without any applause.
I’m not speaking out of conceit when I say that I’m qualified to talk about applause. I have been living on applause for 30 years. If a singer’s song doesn’t receive any applause, the singer would quickly be categorized as a failed entertainer. A singer’s song is a lot different than a president’s address to the Assembly, though. All singers, including me, are very sensitive to the sound of applause. When a singer says he is not, he is lying, and every singer has his own tricks to stimulate applause. They fall into three general categories.
The first group of singers get angry and flare up bluntly at the audience for not applauding. Many times in their moment of bewilderment the audience will be frightened into clapping. But only career singers with a lot of experience have a good command of this skill. Beginners who try it are more likely to be met with jeers.
The second method is to coax the audience into applause. For instance, some singers may say slyly that clapping one’s hands is good for the circulation. Some may take a deep, long bow or stand on stage with arms outstretched to stimulate applause.
Pretending to be indifferent to applause is a third technique, and I belong to that group. They make it seem that they are indifferent to applause, but deep down inside, they are not. They make use of a higher-dimension skill to incite applause. But this technique is also risky; the audience may easily look down on singers that pretend to be indifferent to applause after botching a song.
The times have changed a lot, and it is harder to get applause from others. Because there are many people who can get better marks than I do in the karaoke rooms that give out a score, how can I hope to get a storm of applause every time I sing?
I watched President Roh’s address on television and indeed, as the newspapers reported, there was no applause. So what can we do about that? In the past, an orator would bang the table with his fist and make use of the art of public speaking to induce the audience to clap hands. But these days that skill would look awkward enough to embarrass the audience.
Generally speaking, appla-use comes to those with confidence and broadmindedness. The president should reflect on his confidence and the latitude of his thinking if he was disappointed by the lack of applause during and after his speech. (Perhaps, though, he didn’t really care?)
Good singing stimulates applause naturally.
* The writer is a pop singer.
by Jo Young-nam