eK! is electronic Kabalen, a web-exclusive Kapampangan journal of ideas

wilfrido david
wilfrido david COME TO think of it---why do we always communicate in English when we still have our Kapampangan or Tagalog? Eta na mangapampangan uling, munang-muna, makaba la reng kataga tamu at misane tanang mag-Inglish, puwera keng maina tamu keng "amanung sisuan" at masakit ing ustung ispeling. Example: "kaluguran kung" takes so many letters as compared to a simple "dear." Does anybody, young or old, ever text in Kapampangan? I doubt it very much, because not only it is impractical, it also takes more time to type "Kmsta ka, nnu ing pln mu kg drtg a dmgo?", as against "whzzp, any plns ths wknd?" Now if you're real smart, you would just type "cl me".

So much for texting. Why do true-blue Kapampangans criticize those who prefer to write in Tagalog? What is the national language for if not to resort to it when we find it necessary? What's the big deal about it? As a matter of fact, it should be the language used in Congress and the Senate, where most of the elected officials would rather speak in English, even if broken (to the utter dismay of voters who brought into office, purely for good looks or popularity, has-been actors or entertainment personalities turned politicians). The honorables who "no speekee English" cringe in fear on their seats when called upon to utilize their privilege hour. If any one of them has enough guts, he can go ahead anyway. Why do you think Erap Estrada has two books published about him and his hilarious "Erapisms"? He speaks English recklessly (irresponsibly?)---much like a drunken bus driver trying to eke out "boundary"---and yet he's none the worse for it.

Indeed, Tagalog is more preferable, because, for one, you can get by even with an accent or a way-out pronunciation ("yees" for "yes", "tricycol" for "tricycle"). What's up with insisting on answering in English when an interviewer asks a question in Tagalog? Does one have to prove that he finished college and got high marks in English? Now if one is an Atenean, he can hardly be blamed. Or if one is a lawyer, he can be as eloquently outspoken as Miriam Defensor Santiago. (Those close to her reveal that one has to have an umbrella ready if you happen to sit next to her---you could easily get the N1H1 virus if she was afflicted by it.)

I can imagine how Lito Lapid must have felt amidst all those "English-spokening" colleagues of his. Rising to the podium to say his piece was an occupational hazard, and he would have made a fool of himself if he said as much as "Good Morning!" At the end of his speech, if there ever was one, he would have said "Thank you" and, to himself, "Thank God" for having survived the ordeal. (By the way, he really looked good in his tailor-made suit and his image-building eyeglasses.) Ever wonder why he didn't run for re-election? Your guess is as good as mine.

Juan Ponce Enrile is one who firmly believes in the advantage of speaking in English. He is good at it. Although his manner of speaking can put you to sleep. He speaks English as if every Tagalog word is simultaneously being processed digitally in his mind---translating into the proper English term, which gets delivered with Tagalog intonation. To his credit, he doesn't even try to sound like an Oxford graduate---what you hear is what you get.

No one will contest the fact that English is now the universal language. The Japanese send their executives to a special English language school before they are assigned abroad. The Chinese have always spoken good English, heavily-accented though it may be. Likewise with the Koreans. When it comes to proficiency in English, the Indians and Filipinos have an edge over their counterparts in the business world. India, having been under the British empire, and the Philippines under our great American liberators. Each their country's school system was patterned after western institutions of learning, and the mode of instruction was (and still is largely) in English.

Having English speaking skills is a big plus when aspiring to land a job where you have to deal with people who are multi-cultural or who hail from various ethnicities. Pinoys, as we now want to be known, find it easy to blend in foreign workplaces or adopted countries.

I have been living outside my native land for almost three decades. Yet I still have my "Kafamfangan Haccent." My roots still tingle in my shoes. My taste in food is as greasy and as salty as ever. I am still as "noisy" as always in family functions, as fastiduous and as vain as Kapampangans are known for, and as staunchly sensitive when it comes to matters about my side of the family. Simply because in our home we speak the mother tongue, cook Kapampangan dishes, keep our house orderly and tidy the way we did back in Mandaluyong and in Angeles, share household responsibilities with nary a complaint, while rarely, if ever, associating with the white and hispanic natives hereabouts (for which matter, we still experience discrimination, although subtly---and strangely, even by fellow Asians).

Kapampangan tamu king ugali at king pamibale-bale guiang nukarin ta pa king yatu, guiang medyo balid-balid tana king pamagsalita. Pero ing sarat kung arung mangibabo ya pa mu rin---eta mu asalikut ing panga-Pilipino tamu. I am proud to be Pinoy, and I have instilled that pride in my family as well.

Pero, neng misan, iwasan ku ne king pisasabian ing gubierno tamu. As I always say, take the bad with the good


[About the author. Wilfrido David first retired as Computer-Analyst from the Ayala Group of Companies. He immigrated to the US in 1985, worked there for another 25 years in the Medical Field (Medical Lab Tech), until he retired for the second time. Sometime ago, he was involved with FAANM (Filipino-American Association of New Mexico) as correspondent-contributor-writer-editor, publisher—all rolled into one. He says about that stint, "I ran out of energy, patience, and money but kept on with my duties until the next set of association officers were voted in." The earliest writing he did was for his high school paper in Holy Angel University. His present writing derives from the perspective of a Filipino expat in the US who faithfully keeps up with what's happening in the home country, as gleaned from his Filipino channels on DirecTV, aside from CNN and HLN.]

-Posted: 9:56 AM 10/10/09 | More of this author on eK!
Nextnext