August 09, 2019 - Friday 4:08 AM by Eva Aranas Angel
I am a Generation X baby. Sometimes called Gen- Xer or Gen X, I belong to the generation born from the early 1960s to late 1980s (I was born in 1968 to be exact so that makes me 51 years old).
This generation is typically perceived to be ‘disaffected and directionless.’ But hey, not in the Philippines. Our generation had direction. We were the generation that ended a dictatorship, toppled a tyrannical regime through People Power. I remember having been lured in college by a consistently left leaning classmate to attend a rally against the Marcos regime and to bring down the way too cozy dalliance between ‘US Imperyalismo-Marcos Diktador.' The lines ranged from ‘Ibagsak,' ‘Boycott,’ and ‘Kung hindi ikaw, sino? Kung hindi ngayon, kalian pa?’
Those were the best times of our lives. Imagine, classes were always suspended. We were excused if we were out in the streets for the Yellow Fridays and confetti and rally. The one who invited us to the rally, though, ironically ended up working in a multinational corporation after passing the Physician Licensure Exam.
I don’t know about you but my parents say I have an eidetic memory. It might not be Sheldon Cooper proportions but I do remember the time when I locked myself in the house in Vinzon Street in Barrio Obrero. I was alone as the adults were outside, doing finishing touches and some work with the garden. I tried to go out but instead pushed and closed the kitchen door and locked myself in. The heavy wooden kitchen door had one of the old fashioned double locks that had a protrusion the size of a pimple eager to burst. I remember my Auntie Dolly admonishing the now hysterical me with ‘Ayaw tanduga ang ilong-ilong’ (Do not touch that nose-like thing). I was one year old. That was also the beginning of my claustrophobia, but that’s for another article.
I grew up with my cousins in a compound in Obrero. The words at the time were ‘groovy,' hinapay, pomada, and Mormons. We were glued to the movies of the little Snooky, Liezl, and Niño Muhlach, the poster boy of Liberty Condensada. The advertising jingle was ‘Grow tall little man, Grow tall little man. You’ve got a lot of growing up to do.' Up until now, he’s struggling at it. I’m not sure if Liberty Condensada ran out of business.
There was no ‘Bantay Bata’ or ‘Bill of Rights for Children’ so corporal punishment came in the form of ‘plomero,' ‘kuthanger,' walis-tingting, and uway. OK, you may Google those gizmos. And oh, we got them when we were enmeshed with too much tansanay, shatong, Chinese garter, tumba lata, and ‘Berus’ that we forgot to water the whites washed with Perla, cleansed by wooden palu-palo and starched with almirol or Zoy and left to whiten some more over the hot tin roof.
Of course, corporal punishment was mandatory for most parents during my time because that was when ‘Anak’ by Freddie Aguilar became a hit. Anyone, any conyo who grows up a brat or spoiled, laki sa layaw had to be disciplined because no parent would like to have jeproks in the family. A few decades after, jeproks was more gender inclusive and anyone remotely similar to one was called jologs. And then, cellular phones became a common fixture. The world was fast paced and time is of the essence so jejemon texting was born. William Safire must be turning in his grave. LOL.
I remember hanging out with my cousins (Aranas side of the family tree). I grew up in the culture of ‘komiks,' the Carlo J. Caparas kind (Ey, don’t be consdescending. That dude became national artist for visual arts and film, ‘Lord Have Mercy.' It was declared void after so many controversies surrounding his conferment. ‘Thank You Lord.’)
We also watched Barok Subdivision which was a poor attempt at Hanna and Barbera’s Flintstone. The TV show starred Tina Monasterio and Chiquito. They spoke Korokan. The language was spoken with flair by the late beauty queen-actress Maria Theresa Carlson who popularized bastardized Tagalog and English Si ako, followed by a staccato of either broken English or Tagalog. She bookended her sentences with the smattering of si ikaw. That’s how she earned the monicker, ‘Si ako. Si ikaw.’
I also grew up in the time of Student Canteen. Hajji Alejandro was called kilabot ng mga colegiala, the latter having been stereotyped for their outlandish Taglish like ‘Kilig to the bones’ when they saw their crushes. Among us non-colegialas in the probinsya, we’d say‘Kulba my heart, kurog my feet.' You remember these lines, don’t you?
As a child growing up in a highly academic environment (my late father was a teacher and my Mama taught Music and Arts, PE, and English), we spoke mostly Tagalog and English at home but my Nanay’s (Lola) afternoon radio drama, ‘Handumanan sa Usa Ka Awit’ was our lullaby and woke up to the program of the late Tenny Banzon on DXDC AM radio where people can send message to their loved ones through ‘Tenny gram’ which accounted for my impeccable Bisaya.
The evolution of the language and the way we communicate with the common tao as a common tao myself has always fascinated me. I grew up old enough to know how Jolens (now wife of Rivermaya’s vocalist Mark Escueta) patented the word chuvachuchu. Chuvaness became a blog by Cecile V. Zamora, fashion designer and influencer of all things ‘soshal.' Tsugi or Churva/Chorva was a signature of Lolit Solis. You people know her don’t you? And all these words became a nightmare to my husband.
A long list of words and phrases have since been coined and ‘demonetized over the years, ‘Chancing’ became ‘Hokage,' and some words when inverted remained faithful to its meaning. Petmalu, di ba?
There was a time when the Supreme Court and the bar examiners incorporated objective items in the classroom and the Philippine Bar exams. At the time, my husband used to teach Criminal Law I, Criminal Law II, and Criminal Law Review (now his Angel notes with mnemonics, I was told are still being used by students in law school, not just in Ateneo but also in other campuses. This is a proud tiger stage wife speaking).
In his blue books, he would include about 30 objective questions. Since we do many things together, I helped him correct his students’ papers, at least the True or False part. I noted that there were several erasures and superimposition of answers, vague and equivocal Ts and Fs.
If there is one thing that triggers me that has to do with checking papers, it is erasures. I remark with all the panache of a two decade-old professor, ‘Love, for the True or False, do not ask them to write either T or F. You know it’s so easy to copy if one puts either T or F because all the ‘copier’ had to do from the ‘copy-ee’ was to memorize the sequence. Why don’t you make it more difficult for them?’ He stops pounding on his laptop, looks at me and asks, ‘What’s your suggestion?’ I answered with feigned gravitas ‘’You can make the words longer so for True you can let them write Trulalu, and for False ‘Eklavu’ What do you think?
There’s no truth to the rumors that I was, I have been, and I am the reason my husband is losing hair.
And then there’s the cliff-hanger phrase or sentence. Because, suspense.
Among enablers, beware of ‘kurakot pa more. ‘Because, Ombudsman.’
My gahd, like the President, I hate drugs. I hope drug lords and drug syndicates will be arrested. Sana all.
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