Street Observations 1

I seem to be talking to myself  a lot more ever since my self development plan was made. I am trying to be more fluent in English verbally, so I try using the language majority of the time. Not everyone of my acquaintances are willing to help out, so I resort to talking to myself, even in public. I try catching my mispronunciations, and even grammatical errors. I have a little black (clear)book for grammar structure tips, and I read it everywhere and anywhere, as long as I have the chance. I also find myself writing down observations as well. Thus, this post. I will try to keep a steady flow of posts and hopefully my observations will be unique. It’s hard to be original nowadays, especially that there are already a good number of great thinkers.

I wonder what is with our aversion to foreign language? I am a bit scared to speak English outside of our office premises since Filipinos tend to be negative with any language foreign to their ears. Earlier today, an American tourist was walking with his Filipino friend along the Stock Exchange bus shed. The tourist was, of course, speaking in his native tongue. The Filipino had, of course again, no choice but to speak in the same language, since the tourist does not know a lick of Filipino. I gave the duo a quick glance, and my eyes accidentally moved to a guy walking beside the two. Eyes fixated at the Filipino speaking in a foreign tongue. I looked at the rest of the people at the bus stop, and true enough, their gaze,  eyebrows meeting at the center, followed the Filipino. I overheard two ladies laughing and saying “trying hard naman si koya!” (“that guy’s trying too hard to speak English”).

Another incident happened a few weeks ago. I was walking toward the same bus shed, and used an escalator in the underpass to get to the other side of the street. I stood at a step and heard two Koreans (I was able to tell by their language, and their fashion. Koreans have a unique look) talking to each other with, you guessed it, their native tongue. The people in front of me then turned around and gave the Koreans a quick glance, and then snickered. “Parang mga alien!”, was their whisper (“They sound like aliens!”).

I don’t think Filipinos fully understand “respect”. We are known for being very courteous, but sometimes, we are also very disrespectful. We mock other people when we know that they don’t understand us. I talked to a friend about this, and he mentioned that it maybe a result of the masa effect. The term “masa” in our vernacular means “the masses”, or the majority. The term is used, and abused by politicians and celebrities looking for general acceptance. If you are not part of the masa, or has a characteristic that is different, even in a very minute sense or detail, then the masa  will hate you.

I even received a snapshot (from a college friend) with a very ironic thought. Someone said “ang tunay na lalaki, di nag-eenglish! hahahaha” (Real men do not speak English!), followed by another screen cap, “Feel ko lang nauungusan na tayo ng mga karatig bansa natin” (“I feel like the Philippines are no longer at par with our neighboring countries”). If only the creator (I have no idea who it is) of the post realizes that the only way to stay competitive is to learn a foreign language, such as English, in order for the Philippines to stay afloat. Let’s face it, no other country speaks Filipino, and we can’t force them to. You can’t expect to trade or barter with a person who can’t understand your language, can you?

If people will give me funny looks or laugh at me at what I’m trying to do, then so be it.

If “real men do not speak English” then I guess I’m not a “real man”.

  I’ll take those instead.    


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