Monday, July 02, 2007

Manic Monday #18: Independence

Ang pagiging malaya ay isang nakatutuwang bagay. Makalipas ang mahigit sa isandaang taon matapos makamit ang kalayaan mula sa Espanya at maraming dekada mula sa mga Amerikano, nagpapatuloy magpasahanggang ngayon ang pagtatalo kung ang Pilipinas nga ba ay totoong mlaya na. At isa sa mga pinagtutuunan ng pansin ang paggamit ng wika.

Independence is a funny creature. More than a century after gaining independence from Spain, and decades after independence from the Americans, debates rage to this day as to whether the Philippines is really independent. And one hot topic involves the use of language.

May mga pahayag na naaayon at kumokontra sa pagturing sa wikang Kastila bilang isa sa mga opisyal na wika (bilang karagdagan sa wikang Filipino at Ingles). May mga tao na kumokontra sa pagtatalaga kay Gat. Jose Rizal bilang pambansang bayani ng Pilipinas sapagkat (ayon sa kanila) hindi niya gustong magkaroon ng kalayaan mula sa mga Kastila. At sa kadahilanang mahilig siya sa mga babae. At dahil isa siyang miyembro ng mga matataas na tao na tinatawag na “Ilustrados” (the Enlightened Ones). At dahil siya’y sumulat sa wikang Kastila.

There are arguments for and against establishing Spanish as one of our official languages (in addition to Filipino and English). There are people who decry the designation of José Rizal as the national hero of the Philippines because (they claim) he didn't really want independence from Spain. And because he was allegedly a womanizer. And because he was a member of that elite class called Ilustrados (the Enlightened Ones). And because he wrote in Spanish.

Isa sa pinakaprominenteng pahayagan ng rebolusyon ng mga panahong iyon, “La Independencia”, ay ginamit upang makamit ang kalayaan mula sa mga Kastila, at sa kalaunan, sa mga Amerikano. Hindi ito nakamit ng lubusan (“ibinigay” ng Espanya ang Pilipinas sa Amerika, kasama ng Guam at Puerto Rico bilang pagsunod sa Kasunduan ng Paris, at matapos magbigay ang Amerika ng $20 milyong dolyar bilang “regalo” sa Espanya) ngunit ang pahayagan ay nagpakita kung paano ang pagiging makabayan ay mainit at nananatili sa loob ng mga makabayang Pilipinong kasama sa pagbuo at pagpapaandar nito. Sina Antonio Luna, Apolinario Mabini, T.H. Pardo de Tavera, Rosa Sevilla, Jose Palma at marami pang ibang kasama sa pakikibaka. Maisip lamang ang pagsasama-sama ng mga malalaking tao sa likod ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas ay nagbibigay sa akin ng kakaibang pakiramdam. Lahat ng bayani, lalaki at babae na nakibaka sa kung paano ang bansa ay pinagpasa-pasahan mula sa isang mananakop patungo sa iba pa, “binili at ibinenta na parang mga kabayo at bahay.” Masasabi bang ang pagsusulat nila (at ni Rizal) sa wikang Kastila ay magiging basehan ng pagkawala ng pagiging makabayan?

One of the most prominent revolutionary newspapers of the time, La Independencia, was instrumental in efforts to achieve independence from the Spanish, and later, the Americans. It didn't quite achieve those goals (the Philippines was "given" by Spain to the USA along with Guam and Puerto Rico in accordance with the Treaty of Paris, and after the US gave a "gift" of $20 million to Spain) but the newspaper showed how nationalism burned hot and bright within the hearts of the nationalists involved in its creation and operation. Antonio Luna, Apolinario Mabini, T.H. Pardo de Tavera, Rosa Sevilla, Jose Palma and many other luminaries. The thought of these historical giants of Philippine history in one place together gives me goosebumps. Heroes all; men and women who were outraged at how the country was passed from one colonist to another, "bought and sold like horses and houses." Does the fact that they (and Rizal) wrote in Spanish make them any less patriotic?

Ang pagsasalita at pakikipag-talastasan ba nang maraming Pilipino sa iba’t ibang wika, bukod sa Pilipino/Filipino, ay basehan na nababawasan ang pagiging makabayan? May mga ibang taong nag-iisip nito. Para sa akin, wala akong nakikitang masama sa kagustuhang matutong makipagtalastasan sa ibang wika. Hindi ko iniisip na kinakalimutan ko ang aking pagiging Pilipino, at hindi ako hihinto sa paggamit ng sarili kong wika sa pang-araw araw na pamumuhay o kaya’y mawalan ng paghanga sa ganda ng wikang Pilipino (na mayroong mahigit isang daang diyalekto). Ngunit hiwalay sa potensiyal na benepisyo nito sa ekonomiya, sa aking palagay, ang pag-aaral ng ibang wika ay isang magandang oportunidad na maibahagi sa iba ang istorya tungkol sa aking bansa, kababayan at kultura sa wikang kanilang maiintindihan.

Does the fact that many Filipinos are presently capable of communicating in languages other than Pilipino/Filipino make us any less nationalistic? Some people think so. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with wanting to learn to communicate in another language. I don't think I'd be neglecting my Filipino-ness, and I'd never stop using my own language in everyday life nor cease to marvel at the beauty of the languages of the Philippines (we have more than 100 dialects). But apart from the potential economic benefits, I think learning a foreign language is a good opportunity to share with others stories about my country, people, and culture in a tongue that they'd understand.

Bukod dito, sa aking palagay, ang pag-aaral ng ibang wika ay isang simpleng bagay lamang, at magaling para sa pagpapalawak ng pag-iisip. Mag-aaral ako ng wikang Italyano sa halip na “sudoku” anumang araw.

Besides, I think language-learning is just plain cool, and it's great for stimulating the brain cells as well. I'll take learning Italian over sudoku anyday.

Visit Manic Monday creator Morgen's site, It's a Blog Eat Blog World to go to other Independence posts. Advanced Happy 4th of July to my American buddies!


Daddy Papersurfer said...

非常に利発である Lizza!

Lizza said...

I hope that wasn't an insult, DaddyP! :-)

Gattina said...

Learning languages is very important it opens the world to you. Look I write in english because most of the world speaks english my mother tongue is german, but I also speak perfectly french because I live since over 40 years here in Belgium. If I would have written in German or French, I would never have met you. That has nothing to do with love for the own country. But as Einstein already said : "Nationalism is an infantile sickness. It is the measles of the human race."

ian said...

I'd look at it like this - technology makes for a smaller world, and the language of technology is English. I'm thrilled that you know it, speak it, and write it so clearly, because otherwise I'd never have been able to read your blog. I've got a smattering of Spanish and French but not enough to effectively communicate in either one. Je suis pathetique. LOL


Matt-Man said...

Excellent post. Languages are fun. I wish I had learned more and because of that I am making sure that he learns several. I also find the origins of different languages fascinating. Cheers Lizza!!

Butanding said...

Bukod sa pagiging magaling mong manunulat, hinahangaan ko ang iyong pagiging isang mabuting Pilipino, makabayan at malawak na pag-iisip. Tama ka, hindi basehan ang pag-aaral at pagsasalita ng wikang banyaga upang masabing may pagmamahal ka sa bayan. Tulad mo, binabahagi mo ang iyong pagiging Pinoy sa iyong galing sa pagsusulat. Sa bawat titik na iyong sinusulat, namamayagpag ang galing ng Pilipino at sa bawat salitang iyong binibigkas, ang ganda ng iyong pagkatao (labas at loob) ay gandang Pilipina na walang kaparis. Mabuhay ka, Kabayan!

Photo Cache said...

life has changed. the world has gone global and nationalism is in the heart and mind not in the tongue.

btw, happy first year anniversary. if i remember correctly we started at about the same time, you slightly ahead of me.

it was a glorious and humor filled year reading your blog.

tegdirb92 said...

what a great post. Have a wonderful week!!

Comedy + said...

What a great post on independence. I enjoyed the history lesson too. Have a great MM. :)

Sanni said...

Excellent, Lizza!

I haven´t tried Sudoku yet... Luis doesn´t allow me. I bought a Sudoku journal some months ago... and Luis ate it =)

But my Italian is quite good. We´ve learnt Italian at school, as well as English, French and Latin (which helped to learn the Romanesque languages). Later I took Spanish lessons and a Swedish course. See... I love learning languages. But after a few San Miguels... a horrible mixture falls out of my mouth. No... a language mix-up. I always (try to) stop drinking before I get sick *LOL*

CS said...

The more languages you know, the better off you are. It has nothing to do with love of your country. I wish I was fluent in another language - I have a little Frecnh,a nd I tend to pick up a bit when I travel to another country, but that's it. It limits me. There are folks here who are panicking over the idea of Spanish becoming our country's second language, but I think it just make sense for all kids to take it in school. After all, English wasn't the original language here, either.

Lizza said...

Gattina: That's a nice quote. I think nationalism is good, but not when it's taken to the extent of excluding everything else. And I'm glad you write in English.

Ian: Je suis even more pathetique than vous, haha! I know a smattering of other languages too, but I'm thankful to be fluent in English. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to enjoy your wonderful stories.

Matt: Oooo, what languages are Ryno learning? (I assume you're referring to Ryan and not Corky or Schmoop because the latter two are females, haha!) Tagalog (the Philippine language I'm most fluent in) is influenced by Spanish, Malay, Chinese, and even English!

Butanding: Salamat, kabayan. Nakakataba naman ng puso ang mga salita mo. Pero parang nang-aasar ka sa pangalan na ginamit mo. Uupakan kita, leche ka. :-D

Photo: Thank you very much! Woo hoo, we can have a joint virtual party. You take care of the pizza and photos, I'll bring the beer and chocolate cake. Haha!

Tegdirb92: Thanks! Have a great week.

Comedy+: So glad you liked it. Happy MM!

Sanni: Luis ate your Sudoku journal?? Haha! That baby sure is precious.

And I would love to hear you speak like a demented translator after you've had a few beers. A drunken sexy lady speaking in tongues is even sexier. :-D

CS: I think it's terrific you try to speak a bit of the language of the place you visit. Some don't even want to try. It's so endearing when I come across tourists here who obviously made an effort to learn even a few local phrases.

Crazy Working Mom said...

I'm no good at sudoku OR foreign language!

Great post, though. ;)

Hope you have a great MM.

Daddy Papersurfer said...

It means 'You are very clever' ...............I hope

Odat said...

I wish that we were taught more languages here in the US. Seems that all over the world people speak several of them....
(and happy one year blogaversary?????)

Butanding ulit said...

Hindi naman kabayan, isang karangalan para sa akin ang gamitin ang pangalang iyan. Isang uri ng rare species. Malaki pero mabait! Iyon nga lang... MALAKI! he he he! Pero teka, tinamaan ka ba at parang nasasaktan ka? Tama ba ang pagkakaintindi ko na tinatamaan ka? Tinatamaan ka nga! Tangina, bakit kaya? Pero sorry na lang, hindi kita gustong saktan pero kung iyon ang gusto mo... eto pa! Wala kang pinag-iba sa butanding na ina-adore ng marami at iniingatang huwag masaktan. Sa taglay mong kariktan, buong mundo'y napapasunod at paulit-ulit na napapalingon... KASI MALAKI! nye he he he! Pero maganda ka talaga, gandang walang katulad kaya dapat ingatan at dahil kababayan kita, wala akong choice kundi ipagmalaki ka!

Mert said...

Wonderful post, and very informative. Rock on and happy MM!

lizza said...

crazy working mom: Thanks, fellow sudoku-challenged woman. :-) Have a great week!

DaddyP: I hope so too, for your sake. :-)

Odat: Go learn a new one, if you like. It's fun! I'll give you a sampling of Tagalog: "Ako si Odat" means "I am Odat." :-)

Thanks for the greeting! My blog's anniversary is on 5th July. My, how time does fly!

Butanding: Tinamaan ako kasi tabachuy ako! Tangina. Malaki ang ano? Sigurado ako hindi ang suso ko ang malaki...bilbil! Tangina ulit. Uupakan na talaga kita. Kung may kabababayan tayo na ipagmamamalaki dahil sa ganda at talino, wag mong banggitin si kristeta ha?

lizza said...

Mert: You rock on too, and happy MM! Thanks for visiting.

Bond said...

Again.. you rock us with some incredibly deep and soulful words Lizza.

My journey here is always so special.

Butanding pa ulit said...

Tabachuy? Ikaw? Sige na nga, malaki ang puso mo! Mabait ka at maganda! Hindi ka tabachuy tulad ng lagi mong iniisip. Pinoy ka, and very proud ako na kababayan kita! Galing mo, iyon ang lagi mong iisipin... at maganda! At hindi ka pwedeng i-compare kay Kristeta dahil special ka sa lahat ng bagay. Hey people, do you agree with me that Lizza is beautiful? (Louder so she can hear you!) Did you hear them Lizza? :)

ShadowFalcon said...

Wow i didn't know much about philopino languages but I'll look it up on wiki and learn more

gem said...

Great post. Educational, too. I was such a bad history student in school that I lap it up as an adult. And I'm with you, Lizza. Italian beats suduko. But I don't think we are in the majority.

Travis said...

You've written eloquently in two different languages. What more proof would anyone need that learning more than your own native language is a key to growth and knowledge?

I do think that if you're going to move to another country, you should make every effort to learn that language.

Turnbaby said...

I love it that you are beautifully fluent in English sugar--your insight is a treasure I savor

And thank you for the history--it's so helpful to have different perspectives

I learned Spanish and was fluent for a while--I don't use it much so now I can read labels and such and can pick up fractured bits of conversation. I want to update it again and learn French. It's good brain exercise if nothing else.

it's the little things... said...

Happy MM to you, Lizza. If you ever stop and think about how many languages exist in the world, plus the different dialects, and all the dead languages as's kind of a wonder we can communicate with each other at all!

Natalie said...

I would say that being able to speak many languages is an enormous asset. Having to go through the hands of many colonizers is not so good though.

Lizza said...

Bond: Thank you very much. I'm honoured.

Butanding: Salamat ulit.

Shadowfalcon: Oh, do! And happy travels!

Gem: Welcome back! Yes, sudoku's very popular, but my brain comes to a standstill when numbers are involved.

Travis: Thank you very much! I agree with you; learning the language of your new home is part of experiencing the local culture.

Turnbaby: A refresher course would be nice. Then you and Fabby can do a program in Spanish!

Marlayna: Yes, that's right. A common language is essential for online communication. Body language just doesn't work in cyberspace.

Natalie: No, but I guess we learned a lot from them. Including pig latin.

Tammie Jean said...

Hi Lizza! What a great post! I've always wished I knew more languages. Every language you know increases the amount of people in the world you can communicate with. I used to be quite good in Spanish, but I haven't used it much since moving back to NY and I've lost a lot of it. Maybe I'll take a refresher course...
How do I say Hello Lizza! in Tagalog?

Lizza said...

Hi Tammie Jean! Languages are fun, and taking a refresher course sounds even more fun. Getting re-acquainted with a language is easier than learning it the first time around.

We don't really say "Hello" in Tagalog. I guess the nearest thing would be to say: "Hoy, Lizza!" which means, "Hey, Lizza!" Intonation is important; your tone indicates whether you're saying it in an angry or friendly manner. :-)

Tammie Jean said...

Well that makes sense to me... I use "hey" a lot when I mean "hello". And intonation is important with "hey" :)