BLIP with me


beauty contests and all

Alright, I bet most of you have seen this video if not watched the show itself last Saturday. Being interviewed is Janina San Miguel who won Bb. Pilipinas World that same night. Initial reaction is laughter, shame, ridicule and all the nasty and cursing words one could ever throw at someone who preferred to answer in English but turned out was not very articulate in that language.

Most subjects since gradeschool are taught in English and until college, even in graduate school. Our constitution itself is in English, speeches, executive orders, proclamations, ordinances, etc. I'd like to think though that most Filipinos still construct their thoughts in Filipino.

I admire people who speak and use Filipino in their speeches especially when they use "old" Filipino words, and I can only find a few of them now. I admire people who speaks English fluently and confidently. But I am indifferent to those people trying to combine them both in one sentence, a product popularly known as "Taglish" which is to me is an insult to both languages.

The title, Binibing Pilipinas to me is simply Filipino, but spiels, questions, rules and everything are in English. I do understand the fact that because whoever wins in the competition gets to represent the country in international beauty pageants, people vie more for those who can answer questions in English, properly and confidently. In these pageants though, there are other countries who would not be ashamed to take with them an interpreter and indirectly tell the world that they can not speak English but then again, do people or judges take that against them?

For me, the issue of Bb. Pilipinas World 2008 Janina San Miguel is another case of loss of nationalistic spirit. She may have thought that if she dares answer the question in Filipino, people may laugh at her more, but her confidence in using a language she is not so familiar about puts her more in peril (she's still lucky she gets a title). People assume that those who speaks in foreign languages are always smarter than others who prefer to speak in the vernacular. A non-sense sentence in English, French, Chinese, German, Spanish, etc. at the end of the day is still non-sense compared to a single perfect thought spoken or written in Filipino. We again lose one important point in all that we do, the essence.

I was never a fan of beauty pageants and never in my wildest dreams have I ever dreamt of becoming one. Others justify pageants that because it was called a "beauty pageant", the only basis of who gets the title is beauty, looks and not brains. I am not saying one has to have beauty and be geek to get a title, but a little pinch of intellect is necessary. Young girls look up to title holders as role models and what a role model would we have if they can't even construct a simple sentence in English.

We may laugh and ridicule all we want, but when we reflect about it, this boils down to poor quality education which is often a result of a corrupt government and government systems.

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