Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ang Buwan Ng Wika At Ang Kadahupan ng Pagmamahal Ng Maraming Pilipino Sa Sariling Wika


       Nagkaroon ako ng isang may kasinsinang pakikipagtalakayan sa isang punong-patnugot ng isang malaking limbagan ng mga Tagalog na aklat ilang araw na ang nakakaraan at nabanggit niya ang tila kawalan ng interes ng maraming kabataang Pilipino sa malalalim na wikang Tagalog, na isang paksang may kabalintunaan dahil Buwan ng Wika ngayon. Marami raw kabataan ngayon ang walang pagnanais na matutunan ang maraming malalalim na salitang Tagalog.

       Nakapagdudulot ito ng ibayong kapanglawan dahil kung ating dadalumatin, walang dudang napakarikit at nakakarahuyo ang ating pambansang wika. Narito ang ilang halimbawa: Matitimyas Na Mga Salitang Pilipino.

       Sa halip na hayaan lang na tuluyang anurin palayo ang loob ng ating mga kabataan sa malalalim at mga lumang salitang tagalog, hindi ba’t mas mainam kung pagsisikapan natin silang mabato-balani sa mga ito at himukin silang matutunan at mahalin ang mga katagang ito? Hindi sa nais nating gawing makata silang lahat, nakalulugod lang na marinig na ang maga katagang binibigkas noon ng ating mga ninuno ay patuloy na nanunulas sa dila ng maraming Pilipino.  Kung ang terminong Pak Ganern! ay agad nauunawaan at naisasapuso ng maraming mga kabataan, bakit hindi ang mga salitang tulad ng dagitab o paham? O sadyang lubhang marami nang pinagtutuunan ng kanilang mga pansin at panahon ang mga kabataan ngayon  at wala na silang oras para aksayahin sa pagtatampisaw sa ilog ng mga salitang ipinamana pa ng mga sinaunang Pilipino? Na kahit si Gat Jose Rizal ay hindi na sila mahihikayat? Ito marahil ang sasabihin ni Rizal ngayon sa mga kabataang minsan niyang tinaguriang pag-asa ng bayan: "Ang hindi magmahal sa sariling wika, mas pak ganern sa malansang isda."

       Don’t us! mabibigkas siguro ng mga kabataang hihimukin mong lagumin ang kahalagahan ng sariling wika, mababaw man o malalim.

       Yeah, don’t me!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Have You Seen Your Doppelganger Lately?

       I chanced upon an article about doppelgangers (described as  1. A ghostly double of a living person, especially one that haunts its fleshly counterpart. 2. Either of two people who physically resemble each other very much)  and it reminded me of a curious incident that happened when I was still in college (which was an awful long time ago). I was in a jeepney then when a pair (a girl and a guy who both looked probably just a few years older than me) boarded it.

       The girl (who sat in front of me with the guy at her left) instantly brightened up upon seeing me. “Have you paid your fare?” she asked me.

       I didn’t know her nor her companion who was also looking at me and smiling at me at that time, it was the first time I saw them, but I nodded.

       “Where are you going?” she then asked.

       I stared at her, puzzled, why was this lady stranger wanted to know where I was going.

       “Dave (not really the name she used), I asked where you’re going?”

       I smiled awkwardly, didn’t answer  and looked away. And it was the girl’s turn to look puzzled. “Uy, Dave!” she called me out, her voice a little louder now.

       “I’m not Dave,” I told her.

       And I couldn’t forget her reaction: her jaw dropped in disbelief and astonishment. The two looked at each other, the girl seemed freaked out. She didn’t ask any question again; they started talking to each other and I could hear them. There were other passengers in the jeepney, others were minding their own business, the others, I could see eavesdropping.

       “That’s not Dave?” the girl, in a low, skeptical voice, asked her companion.

       “He said he’s not “ said the guy.

       ‘Then who is that? Dave’s twin? They look impossibly alike, even the mannerisms and their voices are the same. And they’re both unbelievably handsome. (Okay, this last sentence is not true, she didn’t really say it, but I had a feeling that it’s already at the tip of her tongue. Lol.) But I know Dave doesn’t have a brother!” the girl exclaimed.

       “I don’t know,” the guy muttered, scratching his head.

        The other passengers were now looking alternately at the couple and me with amusement. Then, the girl looked at me again and she asked, smiling,( she had a pleasant face), “Hi,” she said. “if you don’t mind, what’s your name?”

       I told her my name.

       “Do you know Dave (she said Dave’s surname but I’ve forgotten it)?” she asked.

       I shook my head, and now, she looked totally amused.

       The jeepney traveled a few hundred meters more before the flabbergasted duo alighted, with the girl taking another glimpse of me—she even waved and smiled and made face at me as the vehicle scooted away.  The look of amusement never left her face.

       It happened eons ago but it still amuses me whenever I remember it.

       I haven't seen someone who really looks like me, but they say, one should not really look forward to seeing their doppelganger, human or ghostly. A doppelganger showing itself to you, they say, is not a good omen and is warning you of something unfortunate or tragic to happen. A terrible thing that will not happen to the people you love or you know but to you. And if other people see your doppelganger (the supernatural one, that entity that, like vampires, has no shadow nor reflection on the mirror, it means that you will soon meet your death.  Scary, isn’t it? Luckily, like our own manananggal, ghostly doppelganger belongs to the realm of folklore and legends. Meaning, untrue. Wait, manananggal is not real? 

       But back to Dave, my human doppelganger, I know that it is really not unusual for someone to have a look-alike, but it is still a puzzle to me why God has to burden Earth with two of my face.

       One is tedious enough. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Philippines' War On Drugs (And The All-Powerful Cardboard Signs)

“Is everyone in?
Are you having a nice time?
Now the final solution can be applied…”
                            Pink Floyd, "The Fletcher Memorial Home"

       Brand-new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ran on an anti-illegal drugs campaign and won. There was hardly a mention of clear policies on economy or on the West Philippine Sea case during his campaign, it was all anti-drugs or anti-crimes pronouncements and still he won, overwhelmingly. He promised that his war against drugs will be ultra-violent and bloody and still, 16 million Filipinos voted him into power. Law-abiding Pinoys are tired of crimes, we get it.

       And now, he is fulfilling his promise—blood have been flowing in the streets and many  drug offenders are dropping dead like flies.

       More than 300 have been killed (and thousands arrested and surrendered) since June 30 (the day the new president assumed office). That’s around twelve killings a day. Bloody indeed. Curiously, most of those killed came from poor families. A couple of drug lords have been killed but the corpses were dominated by poor drug offenders. At first glance, you’d be tempted to applaud. You suppress drugs and you automatically suppress other crimes.  A drug user, in all likelihood, is also a snatcher, a hold-upper, a rapist and a murderer.

       So we, the law abiding citizens, must be happy, right?

       But hold your horses first. Why are these victims not being apprehended, why are they being killed? Why are the police so scared in giving them due process? Cops are saying that it was because they tried to resist arrest and and they shot it out with the cops. In some cases, it probably is true. And people has no problem with that. Cops also have duty to protect themselves. But in most cases, it is most likely plain bull. Most of these victims, critics say, are being intentionally silenced. Why? Some cops are allegedly only out to silence would-be snitches against them. And why are the victims mostly poor? Are there no rich drug users and pushers? Why do the poor always get the full brunt of the law? Punish these drug users but punish also the cops who circumvent the law in their favor, critics say.  Punish these cops who, in their hurry and eagerness to kill would-be rats,  kill innocent people and dismiss them and just label them as collateral damage. We are in war they say, and collateral damage is unavoidable.

       What’s quite bothersome is that people are hardly protesting. There should have been demonstrations against these wanton killings, demonstrations demanding inquiries and investigations—but there are none. And the silence from the public will only embolden some trigger-happy cops to continue their murderous purge.

       And you know what’s scarier if these extra-judicial killings continue unabated and unchecked? Consider this scenario: You are a law abiding citizen but someone is angry enough with you to think of killing you. And this someone does kill you and puts beside your body a cardboard with words that read: Pusher ako, huwag tularan! And majority of those in your community will believe what the placard says and will not demand an investigation regarding your death. They will suddenly forget that you are a good neighbor and that you don’t have a police record and that you live peacefully. The placard declares that you are a drug pusher so you are a drug pusher. These cardboards, these signs are infallible for some people these days. Your relatives will go to the police and complain but the cops are too busy putting bullets in the body of suspected drug offenders to investigate.

      Every decent person agrees that these drug offenders (and other criminals) must be stopped and punished, no question about that, and that resorting to violence to achieve it is sometimes inevitable. But the problem is, we need to have some evidence first. Without evidence, is it really hard to just apprehend some people first and put them in jail, and make sure they stay in jail, then give them due process, and execute them if the law so warrants? We can't just kill on some people's whims and caprices.

       Is it really so hard to spare all the innocents?

Friday, July 1, 2016

A BASTARD MUST DIE (And How Game of Thrones Ends Season 6 with a One-Two Punch)

       Season 6 of Game of Thrones has ended and a lot of fans are saying that it is probably the best season of the show, owing to the strength of its last two episodes, Battle of the Bastards (Ep 9) and The Winds of Winter (Ep 10, Season Finale). There’s a word that best describes these two episodes: stunning. It bolsters my suspicion that TV, really, was invented for Game of Thrones.

       Battle of the Bastards features a mind-blowing battle (see fantastic GIF above) between Ned Stark's bastard, Jon Snow and his wildlings-fortified army and Roose Bolton's bastard, Ramsay Bolton and his soldiers. And yes, Ramsay Bolton finally dies in this episode, but not in the battlefield. Sansa feeds him to his dogs, which is a far more fitting death for this repellent character.

       The Winds of Winter is literally an explosive episode. It is here where Cersei unleashes her villainous fury and finally gets rid of the pesky Sparrows, including the High Sparrow, by blowing them to kingdom come. And as a bonus, she also gets to torture the "Shame woman." Unfortunately, her son, King Tommen ends up as a collateral damage. Depressed by the knowledge that his wife, Margaery, died together with the Sparrows, the young king jumps from his tower’s window to his death.

       This is also the episode where Arya finally gets his revenge on Walder Frey. She makes pies out of his sons and feeds them to him before she slashes his throat, making a lot of fans happy. I was hoping that Frey’s death would be a lot more brutal and dramatic, but it’s okay.

       And this is also where Danaery’s and her dragons finally sail to Westeros.

       True to one of its taglines, Valar Morghulis (All Men Must Die), the body count just won’t stop in Game of Thrones.

      Here’s a YouTube video showing all those characters who perished in Season 6:

       Tears for Hodor, Osha, Wun Wun, Tommen and Margaery. Hurray for Walder Frey and Ramsay Bolton. 

       Excited for the next season? It will take another year.

       Shame! (ting ting ting!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Vice President's Inaugural Menu (And How Choc Nut, Like Rudolf, Will Go Down In History)

       Vice President-elect Leni Robredo will take her oath of office this Thursday, June 30, and included in the merienda fare that will be served to the guests are Choc Nut-filled buchi. Yes, Choc Nut. It is the vice president's favorite, they say. But who doesn’t love Choc Nut? A lot of people consider it tastier than caviar, yes. Now, it will be part of Philippine History. Other food in the VP's menu include sotanghon, maja blanca and pichi pichi

       My siblings (niblings included) love Choc Nut and whenever we go to the grocery store to buy, well, groceries, Choc Nut is always on the list. We suffer withdrawal symptoms whenever we run out of Choc Nuts. Made up of roasted peanuts, sugar, milk powder, cocoa powder and vanilla, Choc Nut is a proof that there is forever. I think it predates the dinosaurs. No, I’m not really sure about it, but Choc Nut has been in existence for a very long time and it will probably outlive rock and roll, or at least the music of Justin Bieber. It’s your grandfather’s favorite snack when he was still a toddler, go ask him.

       I am sure Madame Leni Robredo ( I voted for her, incidentally) will be a great vice president. She has great taste in food.

       As for our Incoming president, Monsieur Rodrigo Duterte, there is no Choc Nut-flavored food in his menu, what he has are pritong saging, lumpia and Vigan longganisa (another favorite chow in our house). Maybe, because Choc Nut is addicting and President-elect Duterte thoroughly hates addicts.  I’m just kidding, what the president hates are drug addicts.

       So no worries, indulge yourself with Choc Nut. Some say eating Choc Nut is better than having sex. I can neither confirm nor refute it; I haven’t had the privilege of having sex.