Archive for the ‘language’ Category

Finding the right term for the global war on terror

March 27, 2009

The Obama administration wants to retire the phrase “global war on terror” and replace it with “overseas contingency operation”—- This is political correctness pushed by critics who think the old term used by Pres. George W. Bush “justifies human rights abuses including detention and interrogation methods.”

In a directive to administrators and speechwriters, the Obama government seeks to avoid terms like “long war” and “war on terror.” Not everyone supports this fancy recommendation though. Those who know that “a spade is a spade” dismiss this as a wimpy change which lessens the real threat posed by terrorists.

Americans cannot protect themselves by “softening” the terminologies of war. It is dangerous to assume that their enemies will be kind to them by such naive gesture. (Photo Credit: MrMoonKe88; lonesome:cycler) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuffs Obama’s peace message” Posted by mesiamd at 3/22/2009


Declining English proficiency, a cause of fewer hires among Filipino college graduates

March 22, 2009

The Philippines is relying heavily on its workforce to shore up the economy, but a recent evaluation of the Universal Access to Competitiveness and Trade (UACT,) a research arm of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce reveals that:

For every 100 applicants, only six to 10 percent are effectively recruited and deployed for an entry level job.” —-Philstar (03/22/09, Ronda, RA)

The main reason given why the Business process outsourcing (BPO) is having a hard time recruiting graduates from Philippine colleges and universities is the inadequacy in English proficiency. This is radical reversal of the Filipinos’ long-standing reputation of being good in English. It appears the country is now suffering the negative effects of its schizophrenic bilingual policy that continues to be a contentious issue in education. (Photo Credit: Atsibatsi) =0=


Mga Tuntunin ng Senado—-mungkahi ni Sen. Lito Lapid, babasahin kaya ng tao?

February 5, 2009

Masaya na si Sen. Lito Lapid na itinagalog na ang “Senate Rules of Procedure.” Mas ma-iinitidihan na ng artista na HS gradweyt ang procedimiento ng senado na kanyang kinakasapian mula’t mula ng siya ay nahalal sa pwesto. Nakasulat na sa wikang Pilipino, ang Lapid Resolusyon Numero 19 na nagmungkahi na ang mga reglamento sa Senado ay i-lagda sa Tagalog para madali daw “magkaintidihan ang senado at mga tao.” Ang pagsa-Tagalog mula sa Ingles ay ginawa ng Komisyon ng Wikang Pilipino.

Pero di tiyak kung bibigyan pansin ng mga taong basahin ang nasabing “Mga Tuntunin ng Senado.” Isang senador na si Juan Miguel Zubiri ang nagsabi na ito’y isa lamang ng “reference material” at di gagamitin sa kamara. Wikang Ingles o Taglish ang ginagamit sa pang-araw-araw ng Senado.

Si Sen. Lapid ay nagpapasalamat sa kanyang tagumpay:

“Para maintindihan ng ating mga kababayan, isa na ako roon (So that our countrymen, and I myself, would understand),” he told reporters. “Kasi Inglesan ng Inglesan dito. Matagal na rin ako dito pero marami pa rin akong hindi maintindihan na matataas na Ingles (That’s because English is widely spoken here, and I’ve been here for some time now but still don’t understand those high-falluting terms),” Lapid said. —-Inquirer (02/05/09, Avendano, C)

Mahirap talaga ang may kapansanan sa lenguaje—-lalo na sa legislatura na kailangan ang bokadura at malawak na pagka-initindi sa pasikot-sikot komo senador. Ang artistang si Lapid ay isa sa mahigit sa 20 lamang na nahalal na mga taga-gawa ng batas ng Pilipinas— kung mahina siya sa pag-intindi o pagsalita sa mga debate, malaking lugi ito ng bansa.

Di matiyak kung ano ang mga nagawa ni Lapid sa 4 taon na siya ay senador. Kaunti ang nakaka-alam kung ilang pelikula ang nagawa niya habang siya’y nasa kamara. Wala naman reklamo ang mga tao sa di-pala-imik na senador. Sabi ng iba, mabait at guapo daw kasi si Lapid. (Photo Credit: Tatlong Hari) =0=


Bicol as a medium of instruction

December 19, 2008

“I imagine some of us resisting the idea of having to learn math and the sciences in Bikol/Filipino instead of English. But do we think that the French students learn math and science in English?”—Raniela Barbaza

The snowy cold Friday afternoon in December 19, 2008 is an excellent time to read Raniela Barbaza’s insightful pitch on the use of English as a medium of instruction for Filipinos. Anywhere in the world, it is a subject of warm debate that doesn’t go away. From New York, Raniela’s message is clear on the subject. Bicol, our language in Maogmang Lugar is just fine as a medium of learning, says our Ibalon scholar-guru holed in the Empire State.

Take a bite on her insightful piece in “The Lure of the Apple: on the question of English as medium of instruction” (12/20/2008, Barbaza, R) (Photo Credit: Iansagabaen; Mr.Bwcat)


Banning the words “Muslim” & “Christians” in the media lexicon: ultra-sensitivity & the desire to sanitize reality

October 18, 2008

The Philippines seems to have joined the bandwagon of onion-skinned nations who give lots of thought on words that are otherwise innocuous. Per se, I don’t see anything wrong in using “Muslim” or “Christian” to describe a person, whether he is a criminal or saint. Adjectives make descriptions clear. If one calls a “dirty spade a dirty spade,” then that’s the honest truth. Regardless of whether the spade is sleek clean or dirty, it is objectivity that we desire in communication. Sometimes reality does bite. Risking of minor abrasion, I believe it is better to articulate truth than be restricted from using words that could be helpful in understanding.

The Philippine House Bill 100, now on its way to its third and final reading in congress, proposes to prohibit the use of “Muslim” and “Christian” or any word that indicates religious, regional, or ethnic affiliation. Violators (i.e. newspaper editors using “Muslim terrorists” to describe a convict) are threatened by a hefty fine of P50,000.

Authored by Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara with Reps. Pangalian Balindong, Arnulfo Go, Luzviminda Ilagan, Bienvenido Abante, Justin SB Chipeco, Yusop Jikiri, Raul del Mar and Neptali Gonzales, this bill shows how political correctness has crept into our brain like a neuron-gobbling worm. Why have they become wimpy in describing reality?

The “criminalizaton” of specific words in our media lexicon can be a new road to curtail our basic right for free speech. It is an attempt to sanitize reality and reprogram our way of thinking—perhaps to make as feel good that we don’t offend any religious groups including those who want to harm us— even if nasty, libelous, and more vitriolic words are hurled on us in the media everyday. However good-intentioned these congressmen are, they better be specific with the words they want banned. For fairness and balance, it will serve them well to consider adding more negatively charged words in their list such “discriminatory” terms as lesbian, homosexual, mentally retarded, old, disabled, illiterate, obese etc.

Our legislators say the words “Muslim” and “Christian” create “a sweeping generalization on other members of the race, culture or region” when the words are used to describe a suspect or convict. I don’t think this is true. I believe our rational mind doesn’t think this way, unless certain neutral words are accompanied by qualifying statements that lead to a particular derogatory generalization.

The bill’s stand seems distorted by its own tunnel-vision. There is the desire for political correctness and perhaps an inclination for approval. There is that unexpressed subliminal paranoia that we might want to cast away.

As long as “brandings” only refer to the criminals or suspects, those who are unintentionally linked with them by religious or ethnic associations need not worry. It isn’t the media’s fault. The people who make unfounded generalizations and make unfair conclusions are the ones who are culpable. Guilt by association without evidence is often debunked and doesn’t hold credibility in intelligent news reporting. Our legislators must be mature to understand this.

Congressmen may want this House Bill No. 100 like a comfort Barbie doll for all, but they fail to see that many Filipinos are fair, highly discerning, less paranoid, more considerate, and smarter than they think. Rooting for political correctness and becoming hypocritical in the process, at the expense of truth, is not the way to bring peace in the world. It only adds up to the cumbersome double talk that we are too tired of hearing. In spite of our frailties, let us try to work together to build a more honest world. (Photo Credit: VanLuchi; CiudadanoPoeta)=0=