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By Ganiu Bamgbose, PhD

The incessant use of slangy expressions by young people has helped to linguistically code vice and vices among them. One of such expressions currently in use is: ‘cut soap for me’; a statement affirming the ritualistic tendencies among the youth. Given the fall of internet fraud and scams, many young people involved in the illicit act have had to resort to charms for perpetual favour from those being duped. The fear which compelled me to write this article is the unconscious effect of language use in the promotion and consolidation of any kind of habit; especially bad ones.

Language sticks and acts on people’s psyche in a manner beyond human imagination. I have heard highly religious and morally upright people express their surprising worry about how they found themselves singing musical contents which contradict their personal ideals. Such is the subtle effect of language on the mind. More dangerously, what you profess or confess, willingly or unwillingly, is what you are likely to become consciously or unconsciously. Language helps to normalise or discourage habits beyond human consciousness. In reference to the focus of this article, the free will and the degree at which people utter the expression ‘cut soap for me’ and other slangy expressions embodying acts of vice and vices, oblivious of the psychological effect of such utterances is demanding of public enlightenment. If words meant nothing, the action of making a false spoken statement about others a crime as it is in almost all countries of the world would not have been a norm. It is, therefore, important to guide one’s mind jealously against what is said to it and what comes out of it through words. That it is in vogue does not mean you have to be a part of it; that it is trending does not mean you cannot be an exception to the trend.

In the age of constant supply of slang, especially by pop artistes and social media influencers, you can choose and determine your perception and reception of such damaging expressions. The effects of such expressions will outlive the expressions themselves in you. A heart that is not guided against slang that promote scam will gradually move from considering such illicit engagement as a way of meeting ends meet and begin to legitimise such venture through pity for those who indulge in it. The final stage will most likely be to want to give it a consideration at the slightest life challenge that you experience. While you cannot do anything about the preponderance and popularity of such expressions, you are at liberty to determine how you conceptualise them and put them in perspective. Just like the title of this article, you can choose to ask yourself if you want the soap or you want to sow. Like my mentor, Professor Adeleke Fakoya, would say, life and living come in turns. If all your blessings come in a day, where will you keep them? Young people must believe that most times, shortcuts cut a person’s life short. The dignity in labour is what sustains fortune.

I wish to also call out to social influencers, especially those who are in the business of making comic skits, to direct their influence to the promotion of values. I watched one of the skits of Lawyer Kunle on the get-rich-quick syndrome which was anchored on the ‘cut soap for me’ slangy expression, and I felt the young talented man should have found a way of comically frowning on such act than leaving the skit hanging. Every social influencer in this age should be mindful of the fact that posterity will hold us accountable for our influence.

©️ 2021 Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose (Dr GAB)

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