Sunday, August 28, 2011

0 Irony Personified

“I do, in fact, smell worse than a malansang isda. My own language is foreign to me.”

JAMES SORIANO’S Language, learning, identity, privilege article published by the Manila Bulletin August 24 did not only draw flak but also formed a lot of questions in the mind of his fellow Filipinos:
1. Why slam the Philippine national language amid the celebration of the Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa?
2. Should we only denounce Soriano for writing his self-serving essay or should we also put some blame on the Manila Bulletin for publishing it?
3. Does his piece make him “less” Pinoy; and us “more” Pinoy?
And Number Four, who the hell is James Soriano?

TO ANSWER the fourth question, Soriano is a third year BS Management student of the Ateneo de Manila University who obviously writes for the Manila Bulletin.

I did not know he existed until his name got a precious spot in the list of Twitter’s worldwide trending topics August 27.

Among those four questions, I suppose the first one is the heaviest for it forms another set of questions: Did Soriano simply practice a timely and honest self-expression? Or was he just another attention seeker who would rather write a despicable commentary than climb up an Edsa billboard the jilted man way?

WHY INDEED would a Filipino slam his national language amid the celebration of the National Language Month? This is an apparent irony. In fact this is as ironic as Willie Revillame giving out Biogesic for Kids gift packs to the “lolas” in the audience. This is as ironic as a dancing Kris Bernal. This is as ironic as a boring party called “Party Pilipinas.” This is as ironic as former vice president Noli de Castro delivering your evening news on former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s poll manipulation!

WE CANNOT BLAME SORIANO for having been raised with an English tongue. I actually envy that tongue! But of course we can censure him for insensitively dragging the “tinderas,” the “katulongs,” the dishwashers, the drivers and the people on the street in an attempt to disgust the Filipino language, which, for him, is “not the language of the learned.”

I PERSONALLY DO NOT WANT to see this situation from the perspective of a “Pilipinong maka-Pilipinas.” Question Number Three: Does Soriano’s piece make him “less” Pinoy; and us “more” Pinoy? Of course not!

Just because you hate him for ironically being an I-want-to-speak-in-English-forever Filipino does not mean you are a loyal ‘Pinas-loving citizen! Because you are more than willing to delete Sarah Geronimo’s songs from your playlist just to designate enough space for Lady Gaga! Because you would not mind dancing the Super Junior way and place Gary Valenciano’s dance steps inside your The Forgotten box. Because the last movie you watched was Final Destination 5. Because the Teen Wolf gets you hooked; and because ABS-CBN’s Imortal has just been a pinaghaluhalong vampire concepts from the West! Because Maria la del Barrio is a remake of a successful Mexican soap opera that made your mom wish for her own Luis Fernando during her younger years.

Because some Chinese manufacturers continue to imitate American products for the Divisoria-goers. Because you would still use Colgate despite Angel Locsin’s endorsement of a Pinoy-produced toothpaste brand. Because the owner of the maker of the Pinoy-made toothpaste brand that Angel Locsin endorses is not 100-percent Pinoy.

See? We can’t really fault Soriano for his choice. He is just another irony personified.

If Soriano wishes to use the English language for the rest of his life, who are we to hold him back? After all, language is not the mere basis of “pagiging tunay na Pilipino.” Right, Janela Lelis?

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