HELLO? Can you speak in English?

I am saying this based only on my understanding of the facts. Marian Rivera – Dantes knows how to communicate in English, she says she is not good but in fact she is better than more than half the population of the world. She is not fluent and her accent isn’t that great but that’s about it. It is known that she is a college graduate, therefore has gone through extensive English language subjects. Going through those subjects entails oral and written exams, which she had to pass, she must have written a lot of English essays, and other forms of literature. Had memorized speeches, and delivered them, she may or may have not written and delivered one of her own. Having said that, she has some skills in the art of communication.

It is true what she says about being able to speak good English should not be the basis of a person’s intellect, there are other things, other elements. One can never determine a person’s intellect with just one aspect, it is a broad-spectrum, at the same time the lack of one skill can’t be a reason for a person to be labeled as not smart.

This article in getrealphilippines.com entitled “Is diskarte more important that good english as marian rivera says?”  points out that if a person has good looks they are treated better, in reality, sad to say that is true, it also says that people with good English skills can prosper better in life, it is not 100% true. People should be able to become successful regardless of how they talk. To learn English as a skill, it is great, to be good at it is better, but to think less of a person who does not communicate well in English is not nice, and to belittle them based on that is bad. The way I see it, if we are already judging people based on their lack of English communication skills, what hope is left for those who can’t communicate well at all? Like the deaf, the mute and the blind, who aspire to work and become successful as well.

That said, I still have a problem with the sort of message Marian is bringing across to the Filipino masses by downplaying the role of English skills. The thing is, Marian can afford to speak palengke because she is beautiful. When you are beautiful and fair-skinned in the Philippines, you can pretty much get away with anything.

– from the article by Kate Natividad

It is a given that celebrities such as Marian Rivera-Dantes have a responsibility to the people, because a lot of people look up to them. They should be mindful of what they say and do but what bothers me in this statement above its the line “Marian can afford to speak palengke because she is beautiful.”  I reckon this line is meant to belittle how the actress talks but it also belittles the people of this country who speaks the language. To be honest I can’t fully grasp the idea of how one could speak palengke? Is it to speak in a vulgar tone? or crude, impolite? To be loud? You can also be that using the English language how is it different when you use Tagalog? That line is so insensitive.

Not surprising then that you will see a lot of people who take perverse pride in speaking baroque English — which is why people like Erap Estrada win presidential elections.

– from the article by Kate Natividad

On this part, it seems that the writer of the article thinks that the Filipinos who are having a hard time mastering or who are very gallant in expressing themselves in English although they lack skill may have poor judgement. Even people who are good in English still can make poor decisions, and not all who communicate well, whether in English or Tagalog,  can be good leaders.

Learning a language is not a walk in the park, it takes a lot of effort and it does give your brain a work out. Maybe it does help one’s comprehension skill and makes not a little bit more smarter than others but still it can be all that bad if one can’t be great at it. Having the ability to converse in English and in any other language should just be a plus. People in other countries have become successful even without communicating in English fluently. Other nations had been able to achieve greatness and yet their people are native tongue speakers, even their leaders. So culture oriented and nationalistic. It makes me think that if they can do it, then we can as well. It is all a matter of discipline and good governance, but how do we do that? Education? Instill in the people a sense of love for the country “Sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa”?

I am fortunate to have been able to converse in English, I take pride in it, but at the same time I am ashamed. When I talk to my mom and grandparents, they speak to me in Tagalog, I feel at times dumbfounded to not know words that they have used. I feel ashamed that I have not voluntarily read books by Filipino authors because I know I will have a hard time, but I would instantly grab a copy of the latest NY bestseller. Even the music I listen to are mostly in English, most the movies and the TV series I watch are all western. I feel that we have become so westernized that we forget out roots.

Certainly we are better if we have English communication skills, but would it be really bad if we don’t? Can’t we all be both?

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