Saturday, August 26, 2006

Kapampangan ya ing Angeles!

The number of Kapampangan speakers in Angeles City continue to dwindle through the years. The 1980 census listed the number of Kapampangan speakers to only about 76.8 percent. The survival level of any language group in a given area is seventy five percent. No new surveys have yet been made recently but the results may only be too obvious.

It is an obvious fact that Angeles City's population is teeming with a great variety of foreigners, both international and domestic - Australians, Germans, Ilocanos, Visayans, etc. - who contribute hugely to the coffers of the government. For the sake of cosmopolitanism, local economists and politicians argue, Angeles City must inevitably shed her Kapampangan Identity.

But cosmopolitanism, if it were to become a reality, can not just remain floating in midair. It has to take firm root; rooted to the very ground and culture of its given area. Cosmopolitanism, if it were to become real for Angeles City, has to be firmly rooted to her distinct Kapampangan Identity.

Local businessmen and politicians here envy Olongapo and Subic for their miraculous recovery. If Angeles has to have an edge over Subic and Olongapo's scenic beaches, these would have to be her colourful history, her people's distinct character, and her rich Kapampangan Heritage. Olongapo and Subic have no cultural heritage to speak of but faded lust, abandoned half-breeds, and Gordon.

Local businessmen and politicians here marvel and ape Cebu's economic boom. Unknown to them, the Cebuanos have no one else to thank but their own stubborness to remain Cebuano as well as the unique way they used their cultural heritage as capital. If anyone else in the Philippines had successfully copied the Japanese in utilising culture and identity as capital to boost their economy, the Cebuanos would be it. Despite her cosmopolitanism, Cebu remains solidly Cebuano. Her artificial market economy would never have gained ground were it not for its distinctive Cebuano flavour.

In contrast, Angeles City's businessmen-politicians are no longer the hard working, patient, farsighted Kapampangan entrepreneurs of the past who were deeply rooted to their Indûng Tibuan, but are now of the new breed of flotsams - shortsighted, fastbuck opportunists out for a quick and easy profit - which litter the entire Philippine business scene. Unpatriotic and self-serving, these businessmen-politicians continue to import cheap Visayan labour inspite of the increasing number of their unemployed cabalen. Self-serving because these cheap imported Visayan labourers are valuable added voting assets.

The new breed of Angeles Kapampangan is a little bit of a show-off, yet ironically, he is well too easy to please his thankless foreign guests. Never mind if speaking Cebuano is a must to get efficient service in Cebu, or speaking Tagalog if you were in Manila, or speaking Ilocano in Baguio (plus an added stabbing or beating if you are caught speaking Kapampangan), in Angeles City, the Kapampangan Añgéleño speaks the language of the guest...You don't have to learn Kapampangan! Is this being too civilised? Or is it subservience? If the Kapampangan Añgeleño has to learn anything from history, it would be the dictum that made Rome, the most cosmopolitan of all ancient cities, great: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

Kapampangan ning Angeles, magpa-Kapampangan kayu!

Siuala ding Meangubie
CURRENTS 4th Week May 1995

1 comment:

lagsh said...

aniang elementary cu ampong highschool, babawal ning escuelahan / maestra ing magsalitang capampangan. buri da, english o kaya tagalug.