Why Filipinos leave


Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: January 15, 2008

This is in reaction to Conrado de Quiros’ column “Tails and dogs.” (Inquirer, 1/7/08) De Quiros should, perhaps, get in the pulpit and preach about “being able to show off English [that] just prepares students to become nurses and forklift operators abroad.” He would do well to write in Filipino or any dialect of his choice.Local broadsheets in foreign countries are in the local languages primarily due to the homogeneity of language. That is not certainly the case in the Philippines. Regionalism is still deeply embedded in the psyche of the inhabitants of the Philippine islands.Supposedly, any “self-respecting” Cebuano or Ilonggo shudders at the thought of speaking “Filipino.” Within such a context, the speaker of the local dialect looks at “Filipino” as the language of a colonizer and an occupation force which seeks to obliterate and annihilate the local culture. And it doesn’t help when native Tagalog speakers pounce on the accents of the “promdi/probinsyano” Southerners, as if being born and raised in the Northern islands is a sign of pedigree and gentility.

Factor in the Department of Education’s central role in the distribution of educational resources with the attendant grease money flowing in from the top to the bottom of the food chain — please feel free to get enraged, gnash your teeth and weep.

Corruption, whether in English, Filipino, or any local dialect, is still corruption. And that is the gist of the matter. Call the Filipinos who have become nurses, caregivers, forklift operators what you will — “pahid puwet,” sellout, unpatriotic — but it will not stop them from leaving the Philippines. For one reason, we are sick and tired of all the crap that is being force-fed down our throats.

It doesn’t matter whether the politician is from the opposition or the administration — they are all corrupt, no exceptions. And to add insult to injury, we campaign hard among our friends and relatives, and tell them not to vote for corrupt politicians, and we get the same answer: It doesn’t matter whether the politician is from the opposition or the administration — they are all corrupt, no exceptions. Yes, we will continue to struggle against such iniquities — but it will be on our terms because we too have lives to live and children whose future we have to take care of.

Where does that leave those who do not want to be party to such depravity? Absolutely anywhere but the Philippines. We will leave and migrate while we are still in our productive years. We will not allow the corrupt politicians, the oligarchs and incompetent government to benefit from our sweat and effort — we have had enough.

To the very large number of the electorate who keep on voting for the corrupt, you get the government you deserve. Serves you right.



It’s Filipino, not English, stupid

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: January 15, 2008

Language is culture. This is a fundamental lesson in my college anthropology class. Filipinos think, speak and feel in Filipino and in many of its variants. The conduct of our daily lives is in Filipino — the culture, that is, and not just the language as expressed in written or oral forms.We are cognitively wired this way and therefore our structure of cognition is one that is built on the Filipino culture, if indeed we have a definitive characterization of this way of life. Our educators should know this fact and should confront the “problem” of deficiency in English proficiency in a manner that addresses the entire culture as a whole.Otherwise, our people would just be parroting a language that they can hardly feel — which, therefore, contributes to the demise of our culture. In the end, nothing much will come out of the state’s efforts, no matter how much we spend to address the issue. The French are proud of their language. So too the Italians with theirs. The Thais, Malaysians and Koreans have made great strides in their economy, yet their language was never viewed as a problem.

Are we trying to build a culture and an economy based on the English language? This really baffles me no end. Pardon the remark, but it’s in the structure of cognition, stupid!

LITO DAVID (via email)