My reaction to “This is my English” by Jerome de Dios

To my American followers in WordPress, get ready for some reality drama. I’m not going to hurt your feelings, but I just want you to know that as an Asian and as a Filipino myself, I believe that erasing something that is really Filipino should be stopped. Everything American in the Philippines is overrated and not only that, there are things that I want to let everyone know that some Americans think that the US isn’t the only best place on the planet. Someone said, “Don’t assume that there’s no better country than America!” True that.

First off,

Good hosts should blend in with the crowd and NOT the other way around.

Quoted from Jerome de Dios’s “This is My English,” an Opinion article from The LaSallian.

Accented English: The most annoying part of learning English

Just in case you’re wondering, I have written some articles about the English language…

English vs. Filipino
Importance of English
English makes you ELITE

Whenever I hear Filipinos from abroad (be it Fil-Ams born and/or raised abroad, or halfies) speak in English with an over-acting American accent, it is really annoying, and irritating. No offense, but I just thought about it as something that makes a person bimbo about the Filipino language. Well, if I sound biased, I find the British accent much better and more classic.

Like how Mr. De Dios thought about the two hosts correcting the English of their audience, that is indeed the most insulting. Who wants to be corrected because of their English with a Filipino accent!? Well, it’s alright for me when someone speaks in English, for as long as they could speak it.

Why do most Filipinos coming from abroad think that their English is “better”? Why do they think that it makes them superior? For me, looking more like a bimbo with an irritating-sounding American accent is not music to my ears. It is a sign that you’re neglecting values. It means that you’re being pakawala and “liberated.” Well, there’s nothing wrong with being liberated. However, the only problem I encountered when talking to most Fil-Ams is that, their accent just make my ears hurt.

Being superior because of speaking “legit” English: High-falutin words + OA American accent

Fuck that shit. Well, sorry for cussing, but the feeling of using “a chink in one’s armor” while using the annoying accent sounds like bullcrap. Thinking that you’re above the level of other people because of that would hurt the feelings of those who are not really good in English.

Well, it’s alright when white people use the American accent. Well, it’s because they’re not OA when using it. Also, they’re not grammar-conscious. They speak it with confidence, without watching their grammar. If the American accent itself is used in an exaggerated manner, get ready for those earplugs!

To the popular kids during high school, whenever they talk to me in English (well just because my ex-best buddy is an English boy), I find them annoying and irritating. They’re trying so hard to interact with people like me if truth is, they’re making me look like a toy. Nakaka-inis, seriously. If I were to judge their actions, they can’t fit in the Lasallian community. In La Salle, you don’t need to exert effort when speaking English. Nobody cares about how you speak in English, for as long as you’re not over-acting when using it.

From a genuine Asian’s POV: Living in the US doesn’t have to mean underestimating Asian tradition

To my American buddies, no offense, but remember the “chink” incident in ESPN. That’s how Americans stereotype people, be it Asian or black, or Latino. Well, Asians are mostly stereotyped for being smart people and not only that. They’re also stereotyped just like how Amy Chua described it.

Well, think about this. Living in the US is hard and lonely at the same time. I hate to generalize, but most people think that it’s not ideal to celebrate Christmas there. No wonder, when I spent my Christmas in LA, we just went to Vegas, and to San Francisco. Still, it’s boring, lonely, and not the usual thing you’re dreaming of. It’s like the Philippines, only that it’s colder.

The American POV is notorious for underestimating Asian culture. Thinking that eye-to-eye contact should be observed, for me as an Asian, it is rude, but not necessarily offensive. Well, to underestimate someone who doesn’t do eye-to-eye contact is completely insulting. Another thing, belittling someone’s personality as an Asian is considered rude. Everything American is completely overrated, and thinking about watching Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and American drama is “cool,” for me, it’s nothing. Everything that is like that for me is boring. I’m not a fan, but I’m no way discouraging you from watching those things. Nothing. I’m not a fan of things that are American.

Why underestimate Asians? Don’t you know that it’s an insult not to produce sound when you eat in Japan? If you think that most Asians do not observe table manners, then that’s something really Asian. We’re not on a fine dining time, we’re in Asia. Also, the “American wave” didn’t stop me from embracing my love for things that are Asian.

Roxy said,

There are things in America that I appreciate, just its disrespectfulness and affluence to other cultures is what I hate.

The second phrase is something I would agree at. That’s the result of Filipinos living in the States, whenever they go back home to the Philippines for a vacation. They tend to underestimate Asian norms, such as the eye-to-eye contact thing and criticizing the disobedience towards table manners. Also, remember that the US troops’ deployment to Iraq was controversial. The troops tend to power-trip the locals right there, unlike the Brits who were more culturally-sensitive and considerate.

Language Superiority equates Rudeness to a certain culture

…even if they are good in English, maybe because they grew up abroad or maybe they had an opportunity to work there, it still doesn’t earn them the right to subjugate people who do not speak the way they speak.

I agree with this the most. It’s like thinking that eye-to-eye contact sensitivity is being dissed. Actually, I don’t do eye-to-eye contact, because I personally think that it IS something that isn’t Asian at all. I don’t look to the eyes of whom I’m talking to, but in meeting new people, it’s encouraged, unless the person thinks it’s OK not to have eye-to-eye contact.

There are things that I want to address to people who are living abroad: Speaking in English doesn’t have to make you intelligent. It makes you a communicator. Period. Thinking that Koreans, Japanese, and the Chinese have higher grades than me in English, it’s alright, for as long as they do their job, because they deserve more, and should be given a chance.

The lesson learned here is this: Don’t correct someone who thinks like an Asian/African, as a person living in the States. Well, it’s equal to do the “rock on” sign right in front of the Italian people and not only that, it’s like tipping a Japanese. Personally, for me, the real Americans who are native-born Americans (that I knew) tend to be more tolerant than those who think that everything Asian is wrong.

About Molybdenum Studios

I am a very opinionated person. Get used to it. If you can't stand it, then so be it.

Posted on February 21, 2012, in Colleges and Universities, De La Salle University, Fearless Forecast, Languages, Opinion and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Assimilation is the name of the game, even in this globalized world. Cultures and norms will clash, but the guest inevitably must give way to the ways of the host. That’s how it is, kid.

    • Wait… I think the hosts should NO way to discriminate the way other people speak in English. Okay, to give you an example, it is really offensive to shove down your own beliefs to other people who are not really familiar with that culture. Well, I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but even though globalization is everywhere, cultural sensitivity should still be observed. Not everyone could speak perfect and legit English. What the hosts did is disrespectful to those who are not capable of speaking legit English. To give you a strong evidence, the practicing of pronouncing each and every English word was mentioned in the article that I read itself.

      To quote Mr. De Dios:

      What annoyed me the most was when they started discussing more sensitive topics pertaining to the correct usage of the English language. It is as if they were lecturing the participants that the proper way of speaking the English language, is how they (the hosts) speak the language. Case in point, they kept using highfalutin English words that were unfamiliar to those who do not use English as their conversational tongue, the kind of words most of the audience, even participants from Manila, do not use every day.

      This type of situation is quite similar to mocking other Asians just because they’re not good in speaking English. Sure, you may create jokes out of those mishaps, but to surely ridicule those kind of people is insulting. Many Asian celebrities chose not to be interviewed by those who are in the English-speaking world, although they could understand English, but not necessarily speaking them (for instance, Gong Li). These celebrities do those things because they don’t have enough confidence to speak in English in interviews, or let’s say they’re not really that competent.

      These hosts are in the Philippines, not in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or even in the UK. They should learn to be culturally-sensitive about their actions because they’re not English teachers teaching the language. They’re in a seminar. In a seminar, it is about sharing your thoughts and interact with other people.

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