Monday, November 17, 2003

watching my language

Leny forwarded my blog link about the putang inang adobo and for a moment I felt like, "hmmm...maybe I should have censored my language." Kind of like that feeling you get when your mom finds out about your blog. Then I thought, aw fuck it. People can choose to read and not read. It's not like I'm sending them SPAM or bouncing them to a porn site. Besides I cut out a few putang inas, it was more like every other word.

Then I remember poet Catie Cariaga who for a time liked to sign her books with an Ilokano cursing phrase. And poet Joel Tan who said his grandmother used to curse like a sailor. Professor Dan Begonia at SF State often does a lecture about examining what people cuss about as a demonstration of what is considered sacred. Obviously Americans have some thing about sex and god. Filipinos hate when you talk about their mamas. Though I don't think we have too many to take the Lord's name in vain.

Filipino movies never censor out English cussing, but they go up in arms about cussing in a Filipino language. It takes on a whole other meaning. It's as if English cussing has no real meaning, oh but Filipino cursing, that's a personal offense.

There's an art to cursing. It has to be said in a certain amount of passion and purpose. I wonder too if cussing was part of the Babaylan tradition, which is what makes it so taboo. The power in cursing, a control over destiny, the power over someone's life, to curse the circumstances of one's own life and continue on in spite. A certain sense of abandon, a certain level of Bathala na (leave it up to God, but has more complex connotations).

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