Wednesday, July 30, 2008



A few Saturdays back while taking some time out from reading Taxation Law, I happened to watch Wowowee’s portion of Ms. Fitrum. Of the 8 girls that blatantly exposed their bodies in front of the whole world in exchange of their small share of the limelight, a certain Nikka Santos took my attention. She was speaking in slang carabao English. The worst part is, SHE WAS CONFIDENT ABOUT IT! All the three judges were laughing at her. I bet the whole world is laughing at her. I remember the beauty queen who created the same fiasco some months ago in the question and answer portion. The worst is SHE WON. I do not know what came up in the judges’ head for their call. As a Filipino, it is a concern that we Filipinos are known most in the world as laborers, as secondary citizens of the various countries they are forced to work to. These beauty pageants can be an avenue of telling the whole world that hey we are far from what you see and hear. We are a great nation. We produced the most of the brightest people in the world. And we still can.

This issue does not only concern the rusty education system we have in our country. It’s about learning at home. It’s about cultivating your own abilities with whatever facilities you have. Sometimes, we can hone ourselves and our children within the four corners of our home. Truly, the family is the basic unit our society. And the values and education must suppose to start there.

In an article or interview, I’ve read that this beauty queen is a mass communication student in UE and that her taking up the course is her step into making a difference in her life. Not to be pessimistic about it, I know that habang buhay me pag-asa but I also know that it would be very hard to teach old dogs new tricks. She is 17 years old. She has hurdled elementary and high-school with that kind of English and answers. And so is the Ms. Fitrum contestant, I heard she was taking up nursing. I bet she wants to work abroad. She’s the same age as the beauty queen. I am saddened that these children have grown into the ladies they are now but they failed to work up their brains. Don’t get me wrong, intelligence is not only counted on your facility of the English language. It’s also about logic, analogy, simple bright responses to even the most unintelligible questions. Don’t be misled that I forsake our language. The point is, don’t try to be someone you are not. If you know you can’t speak fluent English, speak Filipino. Why, other countries have interpreters? The pressure however is that collectively, we Filipinos are known to speak clear English. I think that is where the pressure comes from. Personally though, the pressure must not be translated to overdoing it or trying it so hard. Instead, it must be constructively translated to developing oneself. Read more. Study more.

I do not forsake our language. I know that even our national hero, Jose Rizal, does not mean we should restrict ourselves with our native tongue. He himself embraced a lot of language. He was multi-lingual. His mother was his very first teacher. The point is, he needed to study those languages because his mother knew that that will equip him to survive during those times. Times are changing, and the way technology is going, the world is becoming a smaller and smaller. I wouldn’t want my children to be left dumbfounded when they happen to be surrounded by people speaking the universal language. English is our common ground with the other nations. And I believe we are still one of the best English speakers. What Jose Rizal probably meant was we as a nation, must not deny our lineage, our culture, our language. While we conquer the world speaking fluent English, we must not deny that we are Filipinos. We are Filipinos. And the slang tongue we may have acquired in many years of living abroad would not and should not make us feel less a Filipino. I admire those parents who have found greener pasture abroad but have raised their children the Filipino way. We can do that.

Right now there is a collective clamor to uplift the lives and better the future of the Filipino youth. We need not pay a high price. At the moment, the Philippines is a picturesque of poverty, hunger and illiterate youth. It's saddening fate that we can still change by making the first step at home.

Mama and Papa, thank you for teaching me the rudiments of proper youth here less to worry about.