Ako'y Pinoy-Sa Isip, Sa Salita at Sa Gawa
by Erick San Juan
I would like to share the outcome of my recent trip to Indonesia which is quite fruitful. Every time I go out of the country, I enjoy every minute of it because I learn a lot from the culture of each country I visit. Indonesians are like Filipinos in so many ways. They also treat their guests with warmth and hospitality. It is an archipelago with lots of nice tourist spots.
I met and had a short conversation with His Excellency, the President of Indonesia – Hon. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a man who love books that is why I was honored when I gave him a copy of my book, Conspiracies and Controversies. After browsing it, he said that he will surely read it. Being the world’s fourth most populous country with an estimated population of more than 240 million people in a country of more than 17, 500 islands and 33 provinces, I observed that they have a policy of using their national language as what President Yudhoyono used when he delivered his speech to his countrymen while foreign guests had to use monitors to understand the meaning of his speech. Come to think of it, most countries using their national language are the ones that had already developed or in the advance state of development. For the Indonesian people, the use of their national language is a must especially with their government. Indonesians in all levels of society can comprehend much better by using their national language in their daily life.
I can’t help comparing this with what is happening to our country and our government. Just recently, the never ending telenovela in the halls of congress make it more unbearable when you hear each one of them lambasting each other with a language that is hard to understand by the ordinary "Juan dela Cruz". In fact, behind most of these political bickerings, our country’s money that are being spent and wasted by these politicians and their cohorts. Senator Lito Lapid when he first came to Congress in 2004, filed a resolution in the Senate requesting the translation of the Senate Rules of Procedures to our national dialect. The Senate approved this resolution and came out with the Filipino version of the Rules of the Senate. But, when Sen. Lapid sponsored the Bill recommending the use of Filipino language in all levels of accounting firms, banking institutions and other laws to provide a better understanding of the business transactions especially for those who are inexperienced and non-English speaking citizens, Congress approved it but was vetoed by President Arroyo. Most of the lingo used in banking and finance, when translated in Tagalog are somehow not allegedly good for public consumption.
This is the sad state of our country and culture, colonized and influenced so much by its former rulers. We are always branded as having a colonial mentality. As for our few nationalist historians put it, we are still a neocolonial state. We are being bombarded daily with all forms of foreign culture through the mass media, believing that the "white guys" are always superior to us. This is what Indonesia and other nations could not allow, the use of media and education to brainwash its people.
Hopefully, our government and its nationals will come to their senses that in order to achieve a real development, we must patronize our own, starting with the use of our national language. All government institutions especially the legislature and judiciary are very important branches of the government that should use the "Pinoy lingo". In the process, laws and other regulations of the land will be implemented, followed with ease and understanding by its citizenry.