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"Ew, Filipino Version"

Saturday, March 7, 2015
I was browsing through the Young Adult section at National Bookstore when a group of girls, who were probably highschoolers, strutted into the isle, chattering in "perfect" English. I watched them pick up and put down several YA titles, and listened as they loudly proclaimed their love for certain books. At that point, I was already annoyed. But what annoyed me more was when one of the girls pointed to a copy of The Fault in Our Stars and said, "Ew, Filipino version!"

Now it isn't uncommon to see people idolize imported products here, and one might even mention "Colonial Mentality" which is a good way to describe it. However, I am not implying that everyone in my country thinks that way. Idolizing a specific brand/product cannot be traced back to colonial mentality alone; many factors can support someone's preferences. It just irks me that this book, that has the same content as any of the versions, doesn't appeal to the girl because it is in Filipino.

Why say, "ew" when this copy of TFIOS has the same meaning as the English version? There might be some slight differences between the two, but other than that, the effect that the novel wishes to give remains the same. The book was translated into Filipino for those people who aren't used to reading pieces in English. If you don't like it, there's definitely something wrong with you, but you should just put it down. If you can't appreciate the book, too bad, but there will be people who will appreciate it.

Onto the bigger picture: why do we even have this mentality? If we look at our history, we can see traces of reasons why, like colonization and all that, but we can't change what happened, so let's focus on what can still be done. If you've lived in the Philippines for some time, you'll notice that there are some people who are naturally disgusted by Filipino things. These people would take any foreign item over a locally made product any day. They idolize foreign things even when that thing's quality isn't as good as the local one. It's quite funny, because they haven't even tried the local things, so how can they tell the difference?

I'm willing to bet that girl would have squealed loudly if that copy of TFIOS were in French. Heck, you could write a bunch of French words in there and they wouldn't have to make sense, because she'd still buy it. 

So how can we change this? In schools, Filipino teachers devote themselves to helping students appreciate the value of our national language. Many schools seem to succeed, but what teachers see is only the surface. But after school, it's up to us to help ourselves. Let's not be ungrateful citizens of the country that was nourished with the blood of many martyrs. Let us appreciate what we have.

6 comments on ""Ew, Filipino Version""
  1. Hello! Love the post, but could you maybe increase the font and darken the color of your text? The blog posts are hard to read.

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    1. Hi! Thanks so much. I set it to black now, and I'm going to increase the font. Sorry about that! Hopefully it will be more comfortable to the eyes after this. :)

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  2. Hello! Awesome take on the topic, though it's a sad fact how the social cancer that is colonial mentality is still rampant. There's this strong sense of Filipino pride only when someone from the country reaches international fame and/or when going against someone attacking/harassing said Filipino pride (read: Mayweather). Although I cannot say that I fully support the "mahalin ang sariling atin" movement, I hope through proper dissemination and promotion, the brown skin - white mind mentality will be erased.

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    1. Hi there, anon! Thank you so much.

      It amuses me how most people quickly cling to those with international fame, as well. Supporting what is local is great, but supporting the local things that are negative? I don't think so. I certainly do not support most of the Filipino attitudes, such as the Celebrity-Obsessed attitude and colonial mentality.

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