SABBATICAL NOTES. 6 JULY 2014. SUNDAY. N3.
Falsifying Tagalog/Pilipino/Filipino as a 'unifying' language. Or, why the claim to a national language is the same claim as having a national animal that is essentially wild and privileging that animal at the expense of others.
A NATION STATE that professes to be democratic and regards democratic principles as the pillar of its collective life and at the same time privileges one language (using the fictitious term of the 1987 Constitution) at the expense of another is a bundle of contradictions.
One cannot declare democracy and in the same breadth repress the fundamental rights of citizens and still professes in good faith that the polis is built upon the social contract that guarantees the good life for everyone.
The good life for everyone, the meat of the social contract, is not realized--cannot be actualized--when one's inalienable right to her language is deprived of her, and in it stead, a new, strange, alien, and foreign language is imposed, with that language having an army and a navy, and much of the resources of that country allotted to the development of that privileged language while the rest of the 180 languages (as in the case of the Philippines) are simply dismissed for reasons that these are not the 'de facto' national language.
We check the lousy argument of one Johann Reuel Capugan, one person who has not learned so much about social justice, the meaning of the bill of rights, and the inalienable right of a person to her language, and we realize we get the same kindergarten argument in the mold of the argument one academic from De La Salle University.
Capugan repeats the same motherhood statement but is not offering something new to enlighten us. I cite him verbatim:
“The main question is: What then should our unifying language be? The USA has English, Mainland China has Mandarin, Taiwan (as an independent state) has Cantonese, Malaysia has Bahasa Melayu, and even Singapore has English (to solve the issue of the different cultures it has: Malay, Indian, Chinese). Filipinos however came from one race only, the Austronesian race (argue it if you can); hence, there is no need to choose a foreign language as our unifying language, in which English wrongfully fulfilled (I’d been to Cebu, and the Cebuanos and I only understood each other through English). If Tagalog people and non-Tagalog people could not sort this out, English would only rise into its ‘power’; thus neither parties win. Kung Tagalog na nga ang pinakasasambit sa buong Pilipinas ay bakit hindi yaon ang gamitin? Kung hindi Tagalog ay alin pa?”
Chao-wei, Joven Ramirez in real life, responds, and I cite his two responses fully"
“I’m sorry, but your misconception of the history of the Philippines is what leads you to accept Tagalog as a national language.
"The Philippines did not come from one “race”. The concept of “races” is debunked by modern biology and social science. We should think of Filipinos as coming from a common Austronesian root.
"The thing is, the language these Austronesians speak is not Tagalog. Face it, it’s not. Proto-Pan-Philippine (as reconstructed) is not even close to Tagalog. Iyon naman ang punto ko: nagkaiba-iba na ang mga kulturang yaon mula nang dumaong sila sa Pilipinas. Hindi rin naman ganoon karami ang Tagalog sa panahong iyong iniuukol. In essence, the “pinakasasambit” that you say is a modern politico-cultural construct, forced by the use of Tagalog as a national language! Hindi naman talaga iyan ang pihong ibig sabihin ng “pinakasasambit”, hindi ba?
"There is no real problem with adopting English as a unifying language. Have you read English works by Filipino authors? They have made the language so pliant to Philippine realities. Kay Carlos Bulosan pa nga lang e.
"We must develop a method of overpowering the colonial mentality in us, by transforming symbols of colonial power into our own instruments. Post-colonial na tayo, matagal na, kaya magagawa na natin iyan.
Nagawa iyan ng India, bakit hindi natin magawa? Ayaw natin gawin, ka’mo, dahil tinamad na tayong lahat.”
Response Number 2:
"And I must draw your attention to some errors as well. Mainland China has Mandarin as official language, but the languages of the regions are taught in schools. This is part of China’s official line regarding the union of nationalities in a Communist government.
"Taiwan also has Mandarin as official language, but 90% of the population speaks Taiwanese, or Hoklo (not Cantonese), and Hakka. In addition, there are fifteen Austronesian languages in Taiwan. All of these languages are being preserved by the ROC government. They’re being taught in schools, and there are cultural foundations devoted to preserving them.
"Malaysia uses Bahasa Melayu AND English. Unlike the Philippine government they are not concerned that using English will diminish their national interest. They do not fear their former colonial master, because they seldom think about it. That is post-colonial thinking, which we must adopt.” [Source: http://jovatiram.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/the-real-story-behind-tagalogism/comment-page-1/#comment-34. Retrieved 6 July 2014.]
Capugan is dreaming the same dream of Quezon who was misguided, conflating the unification of a diverse country with a national language and stopping there, dreaming about the creation of a new France, a new Spain, a new England, and a new Germany in the Commonwealth Philippines. He did not see beyond the issue of language, and never realized that the real language of unification in a country that is diverse and multiple is the language of justice and fairness.
You deny this language to your citizens, a trouble brews.