Rolando Tinio's honesty: Filipino is a sleight of hand thing

Lessons from Rolando Tinio's honesty, a real national artist unlike some others. 

I WISH THOSE who do not understand the discourse on the injustice in the institution of Tagalog/Pilipino/Filipino read--or read again--the book of one national artist who deserves that honor accorded to him by a nation made up of many nations. 

That nation made up of many nations is the Philippines for you, and the mind that does not see this but simply sweeps under the rug the remnant of an inutile discourse about 'nation building' following a centrist, dominant, and hegemonic reasoning and uses nationalism to deploy scare tactics to those who see things otherwise needs to revisit the assumptions in the institution of a national language that has caused our educational and cultural imprisonment.

Many simply mouth those motherhood statements they heard from their teachers who had no moral ascendancy to teach their educands on the merit of diversity and multiplicity of which the Philippines is.

Many of these teachers have produced citizens who are now as ignorant as them.

We read, for instance, those mindless arguments about the provision of the national language by the Cory Constitution, one instrument of law that dilly-dallied the institution of socially just and fair economic, cultural, and political structures right after EDSA I.

With all the powers in her hand--and with the Freedom Constitution that she could have used to institute sweeping reforms for the suffering peoples, what the yellow president did is simply remove the two years of Spanish in the tertiary curriculum, instituted the use of 'Filipino' in all government transactions (of course, no one followed that executive order!), and made it sure that the Hacienda Luisita will remain in the hands of the relatives of President Aquino and the superstar of Philippine television, Kris Aquino.

With the coups d'etat as a cottage industry of those who had the power of the gun and the training in Martial Law repression, that recipe for national disaster made sense.

And this disaster continued after giving Marcos the pink slip, and it continues until today. The presidents after him all had a last name: useless.

Now comes Rolando Tinio's book, Where English Fails.

He said, and rightly so: the institution of Tagalog renamed Pilipino/Filipino is a sleight of hand.



In Ilokano, 'O, Apomi a kitingkiting/Kurus nga agbibitin/Daytoy a Tagalog/Mabalin amin!'

Black magic.

And that--the 'sleight of hand' phrase--comes from a national artist.

Bless him for telling us the truth, a truth many academics do not see, does not admit, does not even recognize.

And many of these academics are supposed to be serving us because we are paying their salaries.


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