I’m amazed how my kids quickly pick up the Filipino language now that they’re enrolled here in the country (Don Bosco School, Baguio). I remember in Canada, well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) people were telling us to teach our kids to speak Filipino (and implying irresponsibility on our part as parents if we don’t).
Thing is, Pinoys oftentimes confuse use of Filipino language with Patriotism. Love of one’s country (patriotism) can be expressed in numerous ways. Speaking in Filipino is just one of these ways, but is certainly NOT the only way.
I say that English should be taught by every parent starting childhood, regardless of your stature in society (I know most rich families do, and perhaps that’s one reason they get ahead in life). English, and not Taglish, should be the medium of instruction in every school, public or private. There should be less Filipino subjects as well … Makabayan, Araling Panlipunan, Pilipino … What the heck? Can there just be one? Pilipino? After all, we speak the language most of our free time after school. We hear them on TV and radio. We converse with our friends and family using the Filipino language. I do believe our own language is actually overused.
I remember my own childhood days (I was born in the 70’s) when my favorite shows like Sesame Street, Looney Tunes, Voltes V, Daimos, Uncle Bob Lucky 7 Club, etc. were shown in English. We did not speak English in our family. In fact, the only other exposure we had in English was our time in school during classes, just about 5-6 hours a day. But I can tell you we understood what were being shown. And the fact that I knew and learned English well did not in any way affect my patriotism even when we lived in Canada. It actually gave us a better chance in adapting to Canadian culture.
Nowadays, most TV shows are either dubbed in Filipino or has a Filipino counterpart (like Batibot for Sesame Street, Tabing Ilog for Dawson’s Creek). I guess it all started when some no-good politicians in the past proposed a bill that Filipino language should be the medium of instruction, invoking nationalism and patriotism as their causes. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Like I said, Patriotism does not have anything to do with the knowledge or use of Filipino language. One may not know how to speak Filipino fluently but it does not necessarily mean he/she is not patriotic. Patriotism is love for, and devotion to, one’s country. Filipino language is just one symbol of our identity as a Filipino nation. .
Look at the result. A decline in English Proficiency among our people, even College graduates. Hence, outsourcing by North America to our country is limited. They mainly choose India, China and Russia. Philippines just come in fourth. My company, Bell Canada, the largest telecom company in Canada, has 3 Call Centers in India and zero (as in nada, nil, zip, NOTHING) here in the Philippines.
Whoa, wait … India, you say? Pinoys, wake up! I just mentioned India. Ooops, no offense meant to people from India (I have a lot of Indian friends). What I’m just saying is that if India can do it, why could not we? I mean, English has always been our second language since the Americans colonized us. Whatever happened to our knowledge and correct use of the language? We go back to those idiots who insisted that speaking Filipino is patriotism at its peak.
I have more to say on this subject but this can't be a novel-blog. So, to be continued.
"Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation." - Jane Addams (www.wisdomquotes.com)