Pop around Town:The 'Sympathy Sandwich' in our emails

【明報專訊】We have all learned how to keep our email salutations simple and friendly. Use ''Dear'' and not ''Dearest'' to open our email message, we are told, in order to avoid an overly intimate tone. And when signing off, write ''All the best'' or simply ''Regards''. Today, however, with the coronavirus ravaging the world, social unrest over injustices spreading from city to city, and so many people affected by illness, unemployment, violence, social disruption, psychological anxiety, and even death, those simple salutations seem all too detached now. Ken Tann, a lecturer in communications management at the University of Queensland, reminds us of using sensitive phrases: ''By using these phrases, we're commiserating over the impact we feel from the pandemic and reminding one another that we're not alone.'' He continues, ''By adjusting our greetings and sign-offs, we effectively adjust our social relationships.''