A while back I wrote about being more inclined in English than the average Filipino. It was an incomplete post and here is the conclusion.
I used to be terrible. I was a complete grammar nazi. I cringed at every grammatical mistake I see or hear in public. I didn’t understand how and why people can be so stupid. I mean basic English is not that hard and its taught in school and we as a community are fairly exposed to English everyday. But then I realized that’s going to get me nowhere. Its unhealthy to keep having negative feelings. I realize too, that I am far from perfect and deserving to criticize or ridicule anyone. Whatever little inclination I have for Language is largely overshadowed by my inability with Numbers. I suck horribly in Math. Just terrible. Eventually, I learned to accept that people are different.
There is one thing I can’t forgive though. Whenever I see grammatical or pronunciation errors of this kind, I feel my blood pressure rise a little. I hate hearing grammatical mistakes from people from the media and whomever have the public as their audience. Just like what I said above, when I see a personal blog or a home-made sign on the street with wrong grammar, or when I hear friends or friends of friends mispronounce a word, I let it go. But I just hate seeing and hearing errors from media people. They are our benchmark in communication. If they can’t do it right, who can? And its not just once or twice, its a behavior some of them have.
One example is our city’s local radio station. I know its just a local radio station and its not that big but they are on air. And people are listening. As DJ’s, its their responsibility to speak correctly. Being “provincial” or “local” doesn’t mean you can be sub-standard. Some less-knowing listeners might pick up the wrong pronunciation or grammar from these DJ’s and with that, the disease spreads. And I tell you, it is a disease considering we pride ourselves as very good English speakers.
Even worse, it also happens in national TV stations. I am more fond of GMA 7 than ABS-CBN 2 (that is, if I have to choose between the two stations. I believe local TV, like the country’s current state, is going down the drain. I prefer Qtv and Studio 23 because they have alternate programming. I hate being fed the same thing on TV everyday. Ok that’s enough TV rant.) Like I said, I prefer the GMA network but I found something on there that I really despise – really bad speakers. The pack is headed by Lhar Santiago. He just has terrible English diction. Its too Philippinezed. And no, I am not looking for an American-style, super-sophisticated accent. In fact, if I hear someone on TV speaking with an American accent, my first impression would be “pretentious self-serving prick” unless I find out later that they really lived in the US for some time. All I want is neutral English accent and correct pronunciation. Mr. Santiago exhibits almost all the flaws we Filipinos have when it comes to speaking in English. He has the b-v and p-f problem, he doesn’t pronounce his “TH” sounds properly, I can go on and on. He shouldn’t be allowed to speak in English in public. And he is supposed to be one of this networks “top” entertainment correspondents. The issue is worse on Qtv. Back when their evening news was still delivered in English, I used to talk to the TV like an idiot trying to correct the reporter. That’s how pissed off I was. I mean, it happens with not just one but several reporters every night and they are on national TV for crying out loud.
Let me tell you (or re-iterate) why I am so ticked off. These media people are supposed to be our bench mark in communication. Lets face it – media is as influential, if not more, than school. Children will eat up what they see on TV digest it as correct with no questions asked most of the time. Let’s not teach our younger generation the wrong thing. I never took any courses on mass media but anyone knows the grave responsibility one has when delivering information to the public. Just remember what Spider-man said. Sadly, this sense of responsibility is definitely lost on some of our top media men. Again, we pride ourselves as a top English-speaking nation. We bank heavily on customer service, (with our hospitality and claim of English expertise) a career that seems to be perfectly tailored for Filipinos.
Lets Let’s deliver what the world expects of us. But more importantly, what we expect from ourselves.