I do not usually watch those beauty contests, and I have every reason not to.

But one of the contestants is a daughter's dear friend, so in keeping with the virtue of solidarity, family members gathered around the boob tube this Sunday to watch how the contestants of Binibining Pilipinas murdered the English language.

One opted to answer in Tagalog the question asked of her , and the result is not different: murder.

Why we keep on with this show of female body and brainlessness is something that I cannot understand.

Some of the contestants are sharp, and that sharpness of mind is something that cannot be given in several weeks of training how to walk, how to do the stomach in and the breast out, and how to pick up oneself  when the foot does not land on the floor firmly because the six-inch heel only wants to fly.

The questions the judges asked were simple.

The simplicity of these questions tests brilliance, however.

And that brilliance should be innate, not rehearsed.

They test the capacity of the brain to summon the power of language and order the words of that language in such a way that these come in logical succession.

With a logical mind, one can only hope that each of the candidates understood clearly the question asked of her.

The philosophers of language have warned us univocally: You do not bother about the answer--yet.

What you need to be worried about is the question.

When a question has been formulated well, we can draw from it the seed of its answer.

I thought that the questions, each of these, were formulated so well.

But there is the limit to human imagination and human reasoning.

Either a candidate is brainy or the exact opposite.

One was asked what to ask of the Pope when she meets him, and there you go, those ramblings about what not, ramblings that had nothing to do with what she would ask him.

She had no question to ask the Pope!

Next time around, there should be a test of oral communication skills among the contestants.

The skills should not be based on the English language, nor the Tagalog language but on the mother language of the candidate.

It is simple enough.

You are not expected to appear like a moron on TV because you are forced to mouth those motherhood statements that do not even cohere in order to impress, and in order to appear intelligent.

Intelligence is not measured--and ought not to be measured--by one's ability in these languages.

Intelligence ought to be measured in one's ability to use one's own language.

The moral of the story this Sunday is this: do not fake it.

And do not even try if you can manage explicating what you want explicated in a language you are not adept at.

Just be humble and say, 'Can I answer the question in Ilokano, please?'

Oh, well, perhaps, those Ilokanos cannot even speak proper Ilokano anymore.

Language murderers, this Binibining Pilipinas contestants.

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