Monday, July 21, 2008

On Being A Filipino

Salamat, Nestle

Note: This post has nothing to do with Mark Lapid and his proverbial "Saging lang ang may puso" chutzpah.

I have tried being a Filipino for almost all my life. Sadly, I seem unable to translate myself in an expression that is truly Filipino. However, before you saddle me with full-blown remarks such as "Suck white-boy cock" or "Mabuhay ang Inang Bayan," I am proud to say that my favorite author is F. Sionil Jose, one of my favorite movies is Salawahan (Jay Ilagan, among others), and my 2nd year Filipino teacher who everybody hated pegged me as one of her favorite students, for some strange reason.

Just when I thought that my stock as a Filipino rose, it immediately devalued after I realized that I have yet to actually care about political issues that shape the country; I have yet to attend anti-government rallies in campus even though I'm not particularly fond of the consensus degradation path taken by our government officials. I would say that, in case the Philippines completely decays like banana peel in the near future, it's because of people like me and my alarming indifference that have let this once-proud country down. Worse, I don't even care what happens, as long as I have a sweet-ass job paying me a fat paycheck.

I have been taking classes about Philippine Literature In English this past month, and throughout the sessions, I am seriously wanting to change all of my bullshit ways. Well, not really.

(Forgive me if I turn a tad academic in this post, but please bear with me.)

What particularly struck me while reading the assigned texts for the class is the use of English in the country under American rule. Unlike during the Spanish regime, where Filipinos were prohibited from educating themselves of the horrible situation they're in, the American period marked improved communication and sharing of thoughts and ideas.

There was always the issue of Filipinos not being able to cultivate and fully harness their culture due to the forced influence pressed by their colonial masters. Throughout the years, Filipinos developed a distorted and fucked-up identity smeared by elements from different countries. This made an indelible mark in the national language because, during that time, Filipinos were actually reluctant of using Tagalog. Manuel Quezon believes that the Filipino language does not embody a the voice of being a Filipino. He even went as far as to say that something like the English language could do as our national language.

Well, I'm sorry to say, ex-President Quezon, that you are incorrect, and that Tagalog has served well in being the preferred language of the country throughout the years.

So ano nga ba talaga punto ko sa entry na ito? Magbabago nga ba ako? Ano koneksyon ng pagsalaysay ko ng pagiging alipin natin sa mga ibang bansa at ang naging bunga nito sa ating paggamit ng Tagalog.

Ewan ko. Bahala na.


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