BEHIND THE LINES: Our dialect PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 December 2014 13:19



San Jose, CA. — First thing’s first. My family would like to welcome ROBERT MAXIMUS JALDON, JR. to the world. He’s my youngest son’s (Robert Valentin) and his wife’s (Pam) new-born baby boy, out from the cold and lonely city of Regina, Canada just three days ago. He’s the sixth, and hopefully not the last, of our grandchildren after Joshua (9), Nathan (9), Unna (3), Justin (1) and Wylla (1 month old). Both mother and child are doing fine, thank God. Bless you, all!

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Now, for those born after World War II who are running our city, politically endurably, making our sometimes episodic lives — because of uncertainties — become less epithet, I wish them well, too. I see an inpouring of great ideas that will finally lead to real socio-political advances that will inevitably change the negatives into positives. By simply getting rid of metaphors, the ifs and buts, and taking on the realities that drive us to hope for the better would bear a lasting payoff. Heavy infrastructure that will translate into jobs, better law enforcement to drive the evil-doers in the mud, compassion in dealing with the poorest among the poor, communicating with one another that spells unity and understanding and pro-poor, not pro-political benefactor, projects will propel us to success.

Many times in the past did our planning managers present a development blueprint for Zamboanga only to be stubbornly ignored many times by politicians. The late Joseling Bucoy (then administrator and planning officer) had one. The late Johnny Gaspar drew his “megacity” proposition only to be sidelined. The late Mayor Vit Agan, who acted and spoke (remember his “think local and act global” remarks?) more like a technocrat than a lawyer-politician had his Master Development Plan overruled by succeeding administrations. The late Mayor Cesar. Climaco had grand plans for Abong-Abong sketched on the left palm of his hand, but were totally erased upon his assassination. Former mayor and now congressman, Celso L. Lobregat, has his own ideas of development. The sitting mayor, Ma. Isabel G. Climaco-Salazar, also has her plans, but unfortunately stifled because of the dreadful Zamboanga siege. Now, she’s rebuilding instead of building. And lastly, Mrs. Maria Clara L. Lobregat launched her “Preserva Chabacano” program during her incumbency.

At the rate we’re going, and at the rate the non-chabacano speaking migrants multiply each year over homegrown individuals, we might lose our identity in 20 years, maybe less, just as Cotabato City where chabacano used to be its unique dialect. Mrs.Lobregat’s legacy lives on with the annual Chabacano Songfest.

A bunch of Ateneans, with cigarillos and Tanduay to crank up their vocal chords, composed original chabacano songs in the 90s to keep the spirit of our dialect alive. It is well that ABS-CBN and Lolita and Ed Chua’s TV-11 are doing their newscast in chabacano, though faulty at times. We have dictionaries in English-Chabacano translation authored by “El Balagunero” Noning Camins, Felino Santos and Fr. Buds Wee. Pretty fantastic. Atty. Vic Solis loves to speak in chabacano as he tries to conceal his Anglo-Saxon accent, unless he’s talking to Sir Charles Rieth who, by the way, speaks better chabacano than my good friend Joe Suan.

Preserving, or better still, protecting, our  precious chabacano jewel is one very important undertaking. Building for our future is another, setting aside political divergence and cultural contrasts. It’s not at all a sisyphean task. “Democracy, as Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote, is “based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.”