Thursday, March 13, 2008

English and Filipino (or, Why We're Screwed)

...The Filipino's unwillingness to learn something perceived as "difficult" or "unpopular" is what's going to doom us.

The average Filipino laughs at his countrymen who speak English well. He says we're too uppity. We uppity folk learned our English because we had the opportunity and because we found that the language is a good one.

Well, the Filipino is now scrambling to learn English only because it'll potentially earn him big money.

But why we learn something is as important as how. I love English, and that's why I'm damned good at speaking, reading, writing and thinking in it. It's why my Korean students keep asking for my classes.

Trust me, the only time the average Filipino displays his English proficiency is when--

  1. he is watching Baywatch, Friends or porn; or
  2. she is chatting with her Australian/American/Japanese/Dutch online boyfriend while planning how to stab her husband in the back
The average Filipino cannot hide under Rizal's overcoat and accuse us uppity folk of being traitors to nationalism either. If the Filipino really loved his own language he'd actually enjoy reading the Noli, or Mga Ibong Mandaragit. Hell, I have. But he can't even muster enough willpower to do that-- ask any high school kid.

He can't even write proper sentences in Filipino: "Nag-enjoy kmi, sobra!" does not make sense. Kung sobra ang enjoyment mo, hindi ka talaga nag enjoy.

But dangle enough cash in front of him and he will be motivated to learn Filipino too.

Visiting Kenneth Yu's site is becoming a bad habit. His whole site is the epitome of "writing-meta." (He writes about writing.) Most every entry is an invitation to a refreshing exchange of views about stories and how and why we come up with them. The sort-of rant above is an excerpt from a reply --all of them threaten to balloon into full-blown blog entries-- to one of his posts. For the full context, look it up here.

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