The below is one of the stories in my book ‘Out of Stock, Sir’. These are a collection of observations made by my alter ego, The Anonymous Bear. I never did anything wrong while living in the Pinas, The Anonymous Bear did. He rode the neighbor’s carabao and the roof of jeepneys and had as much fun as was to be had, all the while shaking his head at the everyday goings on in The Land of Lip Service.
Do You Feel A Sense Of Rootedness?
Now that I am up in Manila with Perry, I can’t just nip down to the Gaisano House of Fake Rolexes and Empty Shelves Supermarket when I need some inspiration. Apparently they only have them in Cebu, or the Visaya’s or down south. Not in Manila! Bugger! Nevermind, luckily I am still in the Land Of The Dong Factor and inspiration surrounds me!
If I find myself a little bereft for ideas and the rain is too heavy to wander out into, I simply pick up a newspaper. Doesn’t matter which one, they are all pretty shabby as far as their grammar and syntax is concerned. They might try and argue it away with claims of Filipino English being a legitimate form of the language. We still haven’t confirmed that for the American version, so don’t get ahead of yourself mate!
I love the National Myth that this is the third largest English speaking country in the world! They figure that as they have a larger population than Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland, they are third after the USA and the UK. Give me a break! When they stopped using English for all teaching in schools and introduced Filipino languages they began the slide towards Taglish!
Prepositions are a major stumbling block. People are on when they should be in and in when they should be on. Pronouns are another problem. He and she is used indiscriminantly because in Filipino there is no gender to worry about. Of course it can make a world of difference in English, especially if the speaker is relating a story with more than one character in it!
My favorite place to start is often the Classifieds. I love the way they can specify, almost down to what they had for breakfast, exactly who they want for the job. Age, sex, looks, personality, height, education, everything. I like the one in last weekend’s Bulletin that said “preferably from a reputable school or college”. Does this mean if they come from a real shady seat of learning they can still get the job?
How about the obvious scam ad that says the candidates must be available for “trainings in the USA”. Don’t you mean training? By the way that will be from a “trainor” not a “trainer”. And how do I know it is a scam ad? Because they are the only ad in the entire newspaper to have an age range of between 21 and 52! Like every other ad must think people no longer need to work past 30, or they are so entrenched they won’t be looking for a new position! This ad has to be scamming people to buy something, maybe “trainings” in the USA?
What do people over 30 do here if they find themselve out of work? Just about every ad specifies an age range of 21-26, rarely older. What if you are like poor old Nestor Pananga? His photo is plastered across the job ads page (where any employer looking to see if their ad made it into print will look) along with this admonition: “Be advised Nestor Pananga has been terminated with cause from XYV Inc and any dealings made with him on behalf of the company after 15 November will not be valid..” etc etc. Terminated with cause? Does that mean he was fired or executed? What cause? Was he a thieving mongrel or did he have an argument with the boss who expected him to work his weekends for no pay to prove his loyalty and increase the boss’s bonus next month? Who knows why, all we know is poor bloody Nestor is going to have a hard time finding a new job. Hope he hasn’t turned 30 yet!
I like the multitude of ads for work in Saudi Arabia and the Middel East. Those sheet heads (can’t call them towel or rag heads as it is offensive, apparently) can’t seem to find any of their own citizens to do anything, if the range of jobs available is any sign. From highly technical to simple and menial, they want Filipino’s to do it for them! The hospitals in Jeddah must be awash with asawa wanna be’s! I wonder what it must be like to be a foreign female in a country still stuck in the 14th century? If the ads in the paper are anything to go by, at least they will have a lot of Filipino company.
I like the housing ads, too. The terms for loans here are criminal! They will allow you to “avail” of 18 and 20 per cent financing, luckily it is only over two to five years! I thought the terms for financing a car purchase were pretty customer savage but housing takes the cake. They have these tiny houses on postage stamp sized lots stuck in the boonies with a three hour each way traffic jam to face twice a day and the picture shows happy families loving life in the sub division!
When you check these places out they either have huge fences and guards and paranoia to spare, or else the local ruling junta is out to show the plebs who is boss! I have heard horror stories of home owners groups running rough shod over any who may wish to vote against whoever feels being “President” is the equivalent of running the country or at least their big break into “politics”. I had enough of that with the Parents and Teachers Association election campaign for Kindy One at Bogo Elementary! The mind boggles what they get up to for Fifth Grade!
Anyway, my favourite, and really only Aussies and Kiwis who understand what it means if something is “rooted” (buggered, stuffed, really broken) will get the full value of this, is this ad for Fortezza Sub Division. Apparently it is the one and only Italian inspired (nothing remotely wop looking about any of the houses) estate in Laguna, a place where you will bond with your neighbors and, wait for it…….develop a sense of rootedness! Bugger me roan! That word isn’t even in the Aussie dictionary, let alone any English one! Rootedness! The mind boggles! I’d call the paper and complain except the receptionist will tell me, “for a while sir”, I just know she will. For a bloody while what?Published in