Everybody seems to be talking about that Joross video scandal. I pity the guy. It turns out to be a 4-year video that somehow surfaced. A friend of mine shared one particular comment from Direk Joey Reyes: "Well, at least... Very good and grammatically correct English, di ba?"
I can't help but laugh. It was also the "other" thing that I remember from that video, his 'very Pinoy' way of speaking English, grammatically correct yet very Pinoy. I recall Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach's Miss Universe Q&A's and all the interviews that followed. It was also distinctly Pinoy.
I am proud of their correct use of English AND that they speak English without having to 'adapt' an American slang or British stiff upper lip. I didn't use to feel this way. I used to think that one needed to speak English as a native English speaker, accents and all.
I have a sister who has spent more than half her life in the U.S. She has managed to retain Pinoy-accented English, with all the nuances that come with it. I used to laugh about that, or even be embarrassed, but not anymore.
In my last trip to the U.S., I was alone in a small cafe in the little New Jersey township. The waiter, cute and young, was taking my order. I followed it up, and asked for water. He came back with all my orders and chatted a bit with me.
"You must be Filipino. You said 'wa-Ter' " he mentioned matter-of-factly, emphazing that I didn't slide my 'T' as Americans would. I nodded and smiled though I was asking myself whether I have just been insulted.
"I'm half-Filipino. My father is from Olo-ngapo." I laughed and talked to him a bit more.
Afterwards, I was still mulling over how I said "water.' I never thought I pronounced it differently. But rather than be insulted, I thought I shouldn't make a fuss over it. It's about time I 'embrace' my Filipino-ness, even in speech. Other nationalities don't care about how their accents when they speak English. Why should I? As long as I am grammatically correct, I shouldn't have to change the way speak and be ashamed of it.
Yes, another glass of waTer, please. Thank you.
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