Language of reality


Graphics by Aldrich Lim

The indirectness of this world is nauseating.

“Thank you for not smoking.” Hell, I do not smoke. It’s pathetic to thank me for not doing anything. A thank you may or may not be acknowledged. Your fake nicety is sickening. Just tell us straight in our faces that smoking is prohibited here.

“We cannot grant you a loan as of this time because your facilities are at max.” Why don’t you just tell me that I cannot afford to pay, that you cannot trust to lend your money to a scoundrel like me, that you think my being a foreigner places me at a disadvantage, that I am a ‘risk’ your company is trying to avoid?

“You’re a survivor.” Nowadays, there are no ‘victims’ only ‘survivors’. You’re not a victim of a crime, you survived it. You are not being victimized by life, you are surviving it. In the end, your sole purpose in life is to be an ultimate survivor, outwitting, outplaying, outsmarting all other survivors who get in your way of being the last man standing.

It’s bad taste to call a one-legged man (a result of leg amputation) ‘cripple’ because differently able is more appropriate. Years from now ‘differently able’ will lose its power to conceal reality that it will need to be replaced by something less obtrusive – say ‘bipedally challenged’ or ‘uniquely locomotive’.

The poor are not to be called simply as ‘poor’ because the word is assaulting. ‘Disadvantaged’, ‘marginalized’, ‘less fortunate’ are more suitable.

Poor people have no issues being called poor because they have a clear grasp of their situation. It is the people in power and the bureaucrats who strictly impose to be nice and politically correct, that is to say.  These ridiculous verbal coinages do nothing but make us ignore reality and mock the people who are objects of these names. As if being poor is a result of fate.

The unemployed are non-existent in today’s world. One can either be employed or self-employed. Businesses think that no self-respecting human being would like to call himself ‘unemployed’, so they devised a clever way to address this segment of society without making these people feel bad about themselves. The unemployed disappeared overnight replaced by hordes of self-employed individuals queuing for benefits.

For truly this is the primary objective of today’s businesses: doing away with reality and replacing it with pseudo-realistic terms to make this world more livable for people who can afford to pay minus the inconvenience of the discomforting view of the poor and the blunt name we call them – ‘mga mahihirap’.

It is refreshing to cross Commonwealth Ave this afternoon and to read a public warning made by MMDA, so far the only real thing I’ve read in the streets of Manila for the longest time: Walang Tawiran, Nakamamatay.

Nothing can be more real than that.


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