The issue on the uses and significance of languages in the Philippines is as strong as ever.
In many ways you have got to thank James Soriano for sparking a nationwide discussion about it in the first place.
Never has reactions about a seemingly trivial thing that almost everybody take for granted has generated so much public opprobrium and vicious online lynching that can probably make even the strongest member of our society flinch. Next to the RH Bill debate (and religion incidentally), discussions regarding national identity in the form of the written and spoken medium in this country are met with the same unyielding and fiery resolve of Old Testament proportions.
The comments below are kinder and more forgiving compared to the initial reactions (some even threatened to kill the guy) posted on social networking sites several weeks ago. But this has been the overwhelming reception to the man’s work.
Shortly after that, the author published an article written entirely in Filipino (or Tagalog) defending himself that what he did was a satire of sorts—that all he did was superimpose his observations and rub it on the reader’s nose. Confirming most columnists and notable bloggers’ suspicions about the piece not being an attack on Filipino, but on the institutions that produced people with a skewed view of both languages, notably the education system which he ‘thanked’ on his previous article.
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Less than a week ago, Sen. Lito Lapid caused a minor controversy in the senate when he declared he was hesitant to engage senators Cayetano and Santiago in a debate regarding the equally controversial RH Bill.
In a lot of ways, Soriano’s observations and Lapid’s actions merely reiterate what most Pinoys have known all along, but refuse to openly discuss and resolve. That English is given a lot more premium in most—if not all—institutions than Filipino. That English speakers are held in higher esteem in this country than those who have difficulty speaking it. And that it has become the medium for certain transactions that using Filipino in its place becomes uncomfortable.
The comments below merely represent a small fraction of the modern Filipino society and its views on language. Clearly, there is a great divide that is not even confined between English and Filipino but perceptions on other local dialects and regional cultures. It will take a very long time to agree on things, but merely talking about it, at least, is a marked improvement.