Thursday, October 05, 2006


“Di tsai iya ba kung asa ang pinakalami nga restaurant dito sa Davao?”
“Ay, hindi ko baya alam, better siguro kung di khi m’ng Bebbs na lang.”

If you are not a Cebuano-speaking, Davao-born Chinese, you would be scratching your head, wondering what the above gibberish is all about. You might be able to guess part of it, but would be hard pressed to figure what language it is exactly.

Well, there’s no name to it, but just to say that the above exchange is a concoction of 4 languages: Hokkien, Cebuano, English, Tagalog. It can get more complicated than that, depending on who you talk to, what region you are in and what context.

I guess if you are an overseas born whatever—Chinese, Indian, Filipino…etc. etc., you’d end up becoming as linguistically mixed up as I am. People are so impressed that I speak 5 or so languages (throw in Cantonese to the above list)...what they don’t realize is that I am a jill-of-all-trades but a mistress of none: I am not fluent in any of them!

To my shame, I can only say that the language I am most comfortable with speaking and writing in, is English. Shame because that shouldn’t be…my ethnicity is Cantonese Chinese, so why can’t I be identified as such in my speech?

But the world has grown much more complicated than that.

Globalization has done a lot of good things for the world, but then it also has its setbacks…like producing mixed-up people (yours truly as Exhibit A) who don’t exactly know who they are, and where they belong.

Finding my center in Christ has been a real relief for me—this has helped me celebrate instead of denigrate my uniquely blended identity (and embrace the eccentricities that come with it!). His truth has somehow helped me identify and (try to) live out the best of who I am….obviously a lot of tweaking is still called for, but I am thankful that He has given me an identity that I can hold on to.


Abaniko said...

They say if a person can speak at least 4 languages then he/she is a genius. Aba! Genius ka rin? :-)

Lazarus said...

"...but I am thankful that He has given me an identity that I can hold on to. "
...and citizenship is in heaven.

I have friends from Davao. Sometimes, hilaw na cebuano, and hilaw na Tagalog. Therefore I conclude na taga Davao if mixed up ang tagalog and bisaya.

Gypsy said...

Hi Abaniko,

Sana nga totoo yan, hehe, pero in reality, I am just confused and hardly a genius! :-)

Hi Lazarus
Hilaw nga kami, pero pwede mo rin sabihinG we are linguistically hospitable, hehehe! Kaya kahit na nag bibisaya kami gusto pa rin namin na maintindihan kami (kahit konti)ng mga tagalog preyns namin...