Apparently there’s this rage going all over the internet about this certain James Soriano. I chanced upon his name in a few comments on FB, and curious about what exactly he did for the notoriety he has now, I read the column he wrote for the Manila Bulletin.
I can’t say I’m enraged, actually. There is an ounce of truth in what he wrote, but it’s the delivery that caused all the outrage. Let his supporters call it a satire in all the poorness of a satire it was written.
But let me put it this way, to everyone who thought “It (Filipino) was the language we used to speak to the people who washed our dishes." or "It was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed “sundo na.”" was derogatory, let me ask you… What do you think of a tindera, or a katulong (I prefer the term “kasambahay”), or a manong? What do you think of people who washed dishes?
To think that these lines were in any way discriminatory is an indication that you too discriminate these kinds of people. These are respectable lines of work, with which no one need be ashamed of. It’s only a shame that many of those who got offended were the very people who looked down at people from this segment of the society.
But let me return to the article, yes? “It might have the capacity to be the language of learning, but it is not the language of the learned." It’s a bit basic to point out, but what is being “learned”? In my humblest opinion, learning is not only limited to the classroom, or to the education system we’ve been provided with. Academic learning is not the only kind of learning there is. Learning can also be derived from life experiences.
Therefore, restricting learning and being learned to academic proficiency is not only a display of narrow-mindedness, but also of ignorance. (Everyone keeps on sputtering phrases from Rizal, but how about Bonifacio? He is the very epitome of someone who wasn’t very fortunate to receive an adequate amount of schooling, but is learned all the same.) In this light, the manongs and manangs may just be as learned as the university graduate, albeit differently, but learned still.
I’m not going to lambast on the author, as many have already done so. It would be like beating a dead horse; it wouldn’t bring about anything good. I would however, like to comment on the way he wrote his article. I’ve always sincerely believed that no one is as intrinsically evil as to call his brethren bad names—and I still very much hold onto this belief. If there’s anything Soriano is guilty of, it’s bad writing. There is no excuse for bad writing, and if a piece is vulnerable to misinterpretation, the blame lies on the author, and not the readers.
The column definitely could’ve been written in a less condescending manner, with a tone that did not reek of arrogance.
Why the Manila Bulletin even decided to publish such a tactless article is beyond me. Had they recognized its problematic nature (which was, by the way, quite evident) pre-publishing, this wouldn’t have ensued.