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Firth McEachern, Diversity Shock Part 5

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  • Manuel Faelnar
    Firth McEachern, Diversity Shock, Part 5 This week I shall analyze the exclusion of local languages in media. First, I start with radio. Why is it that almost
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 28, 2010
      Firth McEachern, Diversity Shock, Part 5

      This week I shall analyze the exclusion of local languages in media.


      First, I start with radio. Why is it that almost all the FM radio stations in Luzon are in Tagalog and English? I visited Pangasinan with my officemates and we excitedly flipped through all the radio frequencies looking for a Pangasinan radio station. Out of 11 stations, not one was in Pangalatok. One might justify the choice of Tagalog because it (or Filipino, to be precise) is the national language, so everyone can understand it.


      But aren’t we forgetting the fact that many radio stations around the world are located in places where the language is not universally understood? In Canada, my home country, I can turn on the radio and find English or French FM radio stations, even though I don’t speak French and neither does everyone know English. In England, I can turn on the radio and find FM channels in Arabic, Punjabi, and several other languages besides English, even though English is far more widespread than the others. The majority of the listeners of the other language programs, like the Punjabi and Arabic stations, also understand English, but they CHOOSE to tune into these stations because they LIKE to hear their native tongue. My point is that we should have more options when it comes to FM radio in Luzon. There should be FM radio in local languages, Tagalog, English, and any combination thereof, as found in other countries with diverse populations.


      You might ask, “Well, why is it necessary to offer FM stations that use local languages like Iloko or Pangalatok if you can already find them on AM stations?” First, AM stations rarely offer the frequency or modernity of songs that FM stations offer, so are less attractive to young people. Second, many of the smaller languages like Bolinao don’t even have AM radio stations. Thirdly, if there are English FM stations, why can’t there be FM stations in native languages too? The bias for English is perplexing given that the National Achievement Scores in English have hovered around 50% only, so English is not even understood very well anyway!


      Television is even less representative of the diversity of Filipinos. Despite the fact that Tagalog and English are second/third languages for 70% of the population, almost all hours of every Filipino channel broadcast in Luzon are in these languages. Typically, only one hour per day is allocated to regional programming on the main GMA and ABS-CBN channels, and these are not even always in the predominant regional language. Unlike GMA, at least ABS-CBN has local TV Patrols in different vernaculars, such as TV Patrol Bicol, TV Patrol Pampanga, and TV Patrol Ilocos. I applaud ABS-CBN for providing such a service, but there are still gaps. For example, I am perplexed by the fact that despite La Union province being 93% Ilocano, we do not have a single second of television in Iloko. The regional broadcast of TV Patrol Northern Luzon, based in Baguio, is in Tagalog. One might say this is because Baguio is mixed, but as the lingua franca of the region—including Baguio—Iloko deserves at least an hour out of 24 hours of Tagalog and English.


      The same issue is faced by the provinces of Region II: despite being predominantly Ilocano, TV Patrol Cagayan Valley is only in Tagalog. Iloko is the 3rd largest language in the Philippines, spoken by 10 million people and serving as the lingua franca for no less than 17 provinces, yet ABS-CBN only has one regional TV patrol in Iloko, serving a mere two provinces.


      Mind you, the odd media patterns found in Luzon are not the same across the country. In the Visayas and Mindanao there are many TV Patrols, all of which patronize the major regional languages like Cebuano, Chavacano, Waray, and Ilonggo. Furthermore, there are Visayan news channels, game shows, and even telenovelas like “Saranghe”, “Summer Sunshine”, and “Amor Chico.” And as for radio, most of the FM radio stations are in one of the Visayan languages. Why should Northern Luzon be any different? Why do our radio stations shy away from using our languages? The Visayans do not view their language as inferior to English and Tagalog, and rightly so. All people under God should be considered equal, regardless of the political circumstances—and that also applies to cultural artefacts that define such people—like language.



    • dphilfinc
      Manny, will it be possible for us to store the full series written by Firth over at our official website dila.ph? Our most recent feature there is by Jose
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 28, 2010
        Manny, will it be possible for us to store the full series written by Firth over at our official website dila.ph? Our most recent feature there is by Jose Pepe, one that I borrowed without his permission since I already know for a fact the Bankaw will do anything to put an end to Tagalog expansionism. We are also trying to figure out how to accommodate the last remaining samples from the countryofourown website of David Martinez. His call for breaking up the Philippines could very well be our last shot for preventing the wholesale massacre of our non-Tagalog languages.

        Benjie
      • Firth McEachern
        Hi Benjie, By declaring this country as unified and independent, the national founders merely inherited and perpetuated a long standing habit of colonial
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 29, 2010
          Hi Benjie,

          By declaring this country as unified and independent, the national founders merely inherited and perpetuated a long standing habit of colonial powers who callously treated the archipelago as one political entity. The colonists' did this not out of consideration for what was best for the native populations, but just what was best for their own economic and political convenience. Had I had any say in the matter at the time, I would have exclaimed incredulously to the masterminds of this country's formation, "What on Earth do you think you are doing? Since when should we follow the example of the Spanish, Americans, and Japanese? Why should we accept the assumption that this geographically, culturally, and lingusitically disparate clash of islands become one nation? Who are you, Men of Manila, to represent the voices and everlasting future of millions of people? People who, mostly meeting their day-to-day needs in remote parts of the archipelago, don't even know of your existence and the fate you are declaring for them?"

          Alas, the Philippines did become one country, and its leaders have been doing everything in their power to create an identity and a semblance of nationhood that never was. Until now. If you ask most, they are proud to be Pinoy and decades of assimilation have blurred the lines between distinct peoples. Furthermore, the majority at present would be totally against the breakup of the Philippines, whether it succeeds in saving languages or not. Therefore, for the sake of the credibility of this organization, the people it comprises, and the concrete efforts many of us are currently undertaking, I would suggest staying clear of proposals (like the breakup of this country) that would be totally politically unfeasible and unpopular at this time. (Although I do admit I have not read David Martinez' book yet, so take my potentially wayward opinion with a grain of salt!)

          We want the preservation and promotion of the Philippine languages to become a mainstream concept, a desire by the public and a mandate for the government. This means winning the hearts of many and not creating a cult image out of DILA and other similar organizations in the eyes of that mainstream. There are many actions we can take within the current system that will not alienate the majority: pushing for MLE legislation, passing language equality and revitalization laws (which a group of us is currently working on in La Union), mass communication (turning public opinion thru written press, radio, TV), letters to important policy makers, conferences to gather and brainstorm with like-minded individuals, cultural events and other public gatherings to raise awareness and invigorate people's cultural appreciation, giving lectures at schools, starting new clubs and networks, involving celebrities, forming alliances with other threatened language groups (both here and abroad), creating and editing Wikipedia articles about the subject (both in your own language and in others for wider audience), and all the little things we can do like applying for grants to create and distribute material in/about native languages (whether they be poetry, plays, films, music, etc), inviting inspired speakers/activists from abroad, doing research, and having unlimited numbers of enlightening conversations with individuals on a day to day basis. I don't mean to dismiss your frustration, as there is much to be frustrated by, but have hope! Preseverence, passion, and creativity, when coordinated by rational strategy, can get you (us) very very far!

          Cheers,
          Firth.





          From: dphilfinc <bcyp@...>
          To: DILA@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Wed, September 29, 2010 10:30:56 AM
          Subject: [DILA] Re: Firth McEachern, Diversity Shock Part 5

           

          Manny, will it be possible for us to store the full series written by Firth over at our official website dila.ph? Our most recent feature there is by Jose Pepe, one that I borrowed without his permission since I already know for a fact the Bankaw will do anything to put an end to Tagalog expansionism. We are also trying to figure out how to accommodate the last remaining samples from the countryofourown website of David Martinez. His call for breaking up the Philippines could very well be our last shot for preventing the wholesale massacre of our non-Tagalog languages.

          Benjie


        • dphilfinc
          ... Only somebody who deserves to be with DILA from its inception would say something like that. To most people in the country though, language is a matter
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 29, 2010
            --- In DILA@yahoogroups.com, Firth wrote:
            > We want the preservation and promotion of the Philippine languages to become a mainstream concept, a desire by the public and a mandate for the government.


            Only somebody who deserves to be with DILA from its inception would say something like that. To most people in the country though, language is a matter dealt with Alfred Neumann's what-me-worry? motto. The average Visayan will say, yes, he is concerned with the future of his vernacular, but since there are a handful of TV and radio programs anyway, he need not lift a finger.

            History shows how Cebuano-Visayans excel at collaborating with the enemy. First was Osmena deferring to the Tagalog national language of Quezon and then Hilario Davide in 1986 going along with the lie that Fiipino is not Tagalog. Cooperation based on mutual respect is good, self-immolation for the sake of "unity" is stupidity. Here comes our division of labor, individual subscribers and their organizations work for the maintenance and advancement of their languages through projects like MLE. DILA, through its group page and publications, is charged with warning the public of the harmful nature of the national language. A message that anywhere else in the civilized world would be everything that is mainstream.

            Tagalog is a sacred cow to most Philippine residents, nothing negative can be stated against it, hardly anyone is honest enough to report on what it is doing to our other languages. That is why we are requesting permission to feature Diversity Shock, in whole or in part, at dila.ph. Thanks, Firth.

            Benjie
          • bankaw_itomon
            i only hope that spanish will be part of that mainstream philippine languages and help increase the number of speakers among the young who have forgotten it
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 29, 2010
              i only hope that spanish will be part of that mainstream philippine languages and help increase the number of speakers among the young who have forgotten it because the older generation are slowly dying off from ageing and other medical conditions. i am one of those. my time is numbered because of my ailment. i may not be active anymore on the cause of liberty for our visayan nations depending on the outcome of my procedure this friday.

              i only hope that one day if there is to be a philippines the spanish heritage which my ancestors have contributed to the visayan nations will not be for naught and reviled like what it is happening today..

              for we too the hispanics (and visayans) are filipinos in the true sense of the word rather than the tagalization they disguised as filipino.

              bankaw, a self-described visayan patriot and a hispanic

              --- In DILA@yahoogroups.com, "dphilfinc" <bcyp@...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In DILA@yahoogroups.com, Firth wrote:
              > > We want the preservation and promotion of the Philippine languages to become a mainstream concept, a desire by the public and a mandate for the government.
              >
              >
              > Only somebody who deserves to be with DILA from its inception would say something like that. To most people in the country though, language is a matter dealt with Alfred Neumann's what-me-worry? motto. The average Visayan will say, yes, he is concerned with the future of his vernacular, but since there are a handful of TV and radio programs anyway, he need not lift a finger.
              >
              > History shows how Cebuano-Visayans excel at collaborating with the enemy. First was Osmena deferring to the Tagalog national language of Quezon and then Hilario Davide in 1986 going along with the lie that Fiipino is not Tagalog. Cooperation based on mutual respect is good, self-immolation for the sake of "unity" is stupidity. Here comes our division of labor, individual subscribers and their organizations work for the maintenance and advancement of their languages through projects like MLE. DILA, through its group page and publications, is charged with warning the public of the harmful nature of the national language. A message that anywhere else in the civilized world would be everything that is mainstream.
              >
              > Tagalog is a sacred cow to most Philippine residents, nothing negative can be stated against it, hardly anyone is honest enough to report on what it is doing to our other languages. That is why we are requesting permission to feature Diversity Shock, in whole or in part, at dila.ph. Thanks, Firth.
              >
              > Benjie
              >
            • Manuel Faelnar
              Benjie, I will send you his original two emails. These are attachments and I don t know how to upload them to the DILA forum. By the way, how is Firth s
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 29, 2010
                Benjie,

                I will send you his original two emails. These are attachments and I don't know how to upload them to the DILA forum.

                By the way, how is Firth's membership n this forum?

                Manny

                Re: Firth McEachern, Diversity Shock Part 5

                Posted by: "dphilfinc" bcyp@...   dphilfinc

                Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:30 pm (PDT)



                Manny, will it be possible for us to store the full series written by Firth over at our official website dila.ph? Our most recent feature there is by Jose Pepe, one that I borrowed without his permission since I already know for a fact the Bankaw will do anything to put an end to Tagalog expansionism. We are also trying to figure out how to accommodate the last remaining samples from the countryofourown website of David Martinez. His call for breaking up the Philippines could very well be our last shot for preventing the wholesale massacre of our non-Tagalog languages.

                Benjie


                --
                "Anything is possible when you put your mind to it...
                Believe the unbelievable.
                Dream the impossible.
                Never take 'No' for an answer!" 
                Dato' Sri Tony Fernandes, CEO, Air Asia

                "Without our language, we have no culture, we have no identity, we are nothing."
                Ornolfor Thorsson, adviser to President of Iceland.

                "When you lose a language you lose a culture, intellectual wealth, a work of art."
                Kenneth Hale, who taught linguistics at MIT.

                "Words, if powerful enough, can transport people into a journey,
                real or imagined, that either creates
                a fantasy or confirms reality."
                Rachelle Arlin Credo, poet and
                writer.

                .
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