Me – A Conyo?

conyo smile

We used to make fun of them – the conyo kids – way back in college. I used to disdain their seemingly exasperating mixed use of the English and Filipino language. There was Taglish, then there was just pure conyo.

Fast forward several years later, it’s such a surprise for me when I catch myself becoming conyo.

You know, it’s like speaking in English only that minsan mag-shift ka bigla to Tagalog. And then you’re like mega shocked at how your brain naturally process such mixed language and then di mo na alam san nangagaling yung mga sinasabi mo coz it’s like really weird and stuff, you know?

See. Writing that bit wasn’t so hard. My brain just naturally composed the words.

I pride myself in having a good command of the English language and a decent command of Filipino. I can write and express myself in both though I do so more easily in English. And yet the beauty of the pure Filipino language is not lost to me too.

This month we are celebrating the National Language Month a.k.a. Buwan ng Wika. It used to be a week – Linggo ng Wika then it expanded to a month. Yet this group is advocating that commemoration of our National Language should not be confided to a week or a month but should rather be a year-long observance. We can have a Pinoy Arts and Culture Month where we commemorate Pinoy pride but observance of Buwan ng Wika should be year-long according to them.

Their argument: dedicating a whole month shows just how much of a colonial mentality we actually have. For we see people who, when the month has ended, ends also their observance of the uniquely Pinoy customs they were forced to observe during Buwan ng Wika i.e. speaking in Filipino, wearing Barong Tagalog and the like.

Reading that Rappler article has reminded me of probably the most viewed and most controversial post I had circa 2011. It’s about James Soriano and his controversial article attacking the Filipino language. Many were irked by his article and so it had to be taken down from the net. But not before people had downloaded or copied it. Essentially, that article explored the connection of speaking Filipino to actually having an identity as a Filipino.

My being a conyo is a testament to how our language is evolving. I won’t be surprised when time comes and our National Language is no longer Filipino but Taglish. I mean it’s really easy and natural for many people these days to speak in a conyo manner. Maybe some are not as flamboyant as others but fact remains that it’s still Taglish.

Language reflects the identity and culture of the people using it. In a society where majority of workers are in the BPO industry, you can’t blame if there’s a rise of so-called conyo kids. They may not necessarily have the wealth of the traditional conyo kids, but the way they talked, you’d think they do if not for the identification badge stating which call center company they’re part of.

Globalization has greatly impacted the way we use our language. Since Filipino has not been deeply ingrained in us before the Americans came and converted us to an English-speaking nation, it can’t be helped that we haven’t naturally developed a love or a flair for the language unlike our Asian counterparts who have developed strong affinity for their language and hence you can see the strength of their culture. Wonderful examples are South Korea and Japan. Just look around you and you will see Pinoys wishing they could speak either Nihonggo or Korean just so they can understand or better relate to their pop idols. The Koreans and Japanese, despite not embracing English as a natural language became so successful in promoting their own language and identity. We can conclude then that loving their language led to a natural love for their own culture.

In the past I have advocated the strengthening of the Filipino language so we can eventually develop a sense of identity. However, today, even CHED mandates that Filipino GE subject need not be part of the required core subjects and can instead be an optional course for just anyone who wish to take it. And knowing how it’s Filipino, I am doubtful how many would want to do that. So how can we encourage a deeper sense of identity through the use of language?

I guess the conyo language identifies who we are. I guess this new breed language defines our very identity as a nation. What I see is a nation of mixed breeds. A nation who in adapting from other cultures have formed a culture distinctively their own. A nation whose culture is so dynamic it is perpetually evolving.

If before I see the conyo language as a negative thing – a hindrance to our growth as a country, today I see it as a language we need to embrace.

And I don’t think that’s even remotely connected to my discovery that I am already a conyo. ;)

Conversations with a Film Director

When my friend told me he knew the director of #Y, the Cinemalaya film I watched and found controversial, he offered to introduce me to the director, Gino Santos so I can interview him for my blog. Of course I said yes but I didn’t really expect actually meeting him. When my friend told me that Gino agreed, I was pleasantly surprised but still remained skeptical that we could actually set a schedule to meet. I texted Gino, not really expecting a reply but was yet again pleasantly surprised when he replied and warmly at that. When Gino and I finally met, I was beyond ecstatic for how many times do you actually meet a director – and a cute one at that?

And so, on a workday, I took a leave of absence and travelled to the posh South aka Alabang to meet Gino Santos, the young director of two controversial, Gen Y films – The Animals and #Y.

My first impression when I saw him, all alone sitting in Bizu was – “omg! He’s cute!” And yet, I can’t shake the disturbed feeling I had ever since I saw his film which claimed to portray the issues of today’s youth. Being part of the generation he portrays in his films, I was at a loss whether I do agree with him on his views or not. At one point, I viewed him as this conyo and privileged kid who knew nothing better than the issues surrounding his kind – and not really the greater whole of today’s Gen Y.

And yet, as blinded and naïve as I was with the film (as what my personal catharsis series revealed), I was just as naïve with my initial impression of Gino. During our conversation, I saw him as being more in touch with the reality of Gen Y than I ever will be. I saw him having this profound understanding of the deep issues surrounding today’s youth.

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#Y: A Journey of Personal Catharsis

#Y Cinemalaya 2014

I don’t have much experience with indie films – or films in general – but I do know that Cinemalaya films are a must-watch for they expose issues in society rarely discussed and much less shown on film. And so, I made it a goal to watch a Cinemalaya film this year – finally after being cooped up in the province for so long where Cinemalaya is virtually inaccessible.

With so many great films to choose from, I didn’t know where to begin. A friend recommended #Y and it being about my generation, I opted to watch it. And so, at 9pm on a Thursday night, there I was, alone, in Greenbelt, watching #Y.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the film. The reviews were mostly vague. And nothing could have prepared me for the film’s effect. Seemingly shallow at the beginning, the more I dwell on it, the more it exposed issues inside of me – issues I have been too afraid to disclose; issues I have set aside and never really dealt with. It was not your usual indie film. It didn’t just expose issues in society – it exposes issues within yourself.

And so, after almost a week of having seen the film and after countless discussions with friends, officemates, myself and even the director – here is my take on the film and how it has purged me of my own personal demons.

SUICIDE

The overall apparent theme of the movie was suicide. The trailer unapologetically led people to believe it was a film simply revolving on sex, drugs and alcohol and never really gave a hint that it was primarily about suicide. Hence it was a shock when the film opened with the main character – Miles (Elmo Magalona) – lying on the pavement, in his own pool of blood.

And from there, it was a flashback to how it all began.

The suicide theme was softened by Miles’ comedic monologue. I found it funny when, even while lying in the pavement, apparently dead, the audience can still hear his thoughts – about how dying by jumping off a building, despite being really fast, was in fact, very painful.

BBC-Sherlock-Season-two-cliff-hanger

No one really knew why Miles would commit suicide. In fact, his family and friends all pretty much had good opinions about him. They saw him as having everything he could wish for and living a pretty much good life. No one knew why he would do it. But I do.

And that I have expounded here.

SEX

Sex was another overriding theme in the movie. It tackled how sex is the norm in today’s generation and how the days of Maria Clara and sex-after-marriage are seemingly down the drain. My mom would have a fit when she reads my exposition on sex – and my vast knowledge of it but such is the reality of things.

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