Jeepneys remain a constant reminder of how backward and fundamentally WEAK the Philippines is

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It is the 21st Century. Yet the most iconic symbol of the Philippines remains the jeepney. Once hailed a triumph of “Filipino ingenuity”, it now persists as a stark reminder of a failure to develop engineering excellence at a time when engineering excellence is an even more important foundation upon which global competitiveness could be built.

But is it really only in recent years where excellence in engineering has come to be regarded as essential? One only need look back through history and take stock of what underpinned the power of truly powerful societies. Regarded under this light, the confronting truth is that no truly prosperous society got to where it is without a substantial contribution to the field of science, technology, and engineering.

At the heart of engineering excellence and the wondrous achievements built upon it is precision. Without an ethic of precision, exact machining of the parts to build progressively more efficient engines would not have been possible. Without a precise concept of time, the performance of computing machines and telecommunication switching could not have gone up to levels measured in mere nanoseconds today.

One would appreciate just how precise instruments are today when one regards, to cite a good example, the ability of radar and global positioning systems to track moving objects down to just a meter or less of their locations and whereabouts on the planet today. This capability owes itself to time-keeping instruments that could triangulate points on a map by measuring infinitesimal differences in the wave properties of signals received from different satellites — something only possible by breaking time down to billionths of second increments.

And then we have the jeepney. Even in the 21st Century, Filipinos continue to celebrate this affront to the field of engineering as representing the pinnacle of Filipino achievement. To put how much of a failure the jeepney is in perspective, consider the humble Toyota Corolla. This is a car manufactured in the millions in factories located in many countries all over the world. And yet, put all these millions of Corollas side by side and measure them from front bumper to rear and one will find that the variance in total length across these millions of units will likely not exceed a couple of centimetres. This represents absolute excellence in engineering and manufacturing at such vast scales and diversity of circumstances that tolerates errors of less than 0.1 percent across millions of production units.

Filipinos will argue that each individual jeepney is unique — as if being a “special” jeepney is a good thing. What they fail to comprehend is that uniqueness in an industry where scale can only be achieved through standardisation is anathema to business success. Indeed, despite jeepneys being “hand-built”, they command prices far less than a massively mass-produced product like the Toyota Corolla. Ironic, considering that, in the auto industry, the term “hand-built” implies premium quality. The engines and a significant portion of the coach work on top-end cars like Ferraris, Bugattis, and Bentleys are hand built.

How can Filipinos ever be known for world-class engineering if precision and efficiency are notions abjectly missing in their vernacular, to begin with? Nothing runs on time, consistently, and reliably in the Philippines. This is because there is a complete lack of cultural collateral to support endeavours that demand an acute appreciation of these concepts. In the jeepney, this failure at a national level is embodied and, even more baffling, showcased to the world to behold.

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54 Comments on “Jeepneys remain a constant reminder of how backward and fundamentally WEAK the Philippines is”

  1. Good article. I’ve frequently pondered on the Filipino approach to engineering, and the fact that the entire ethos of it has completely passed them by.

    My favourite example of engineering failure is actually the tricycle. These things are not cheap. With the motorcycle included, they actually cost the same as (or more than) a state-of-the-art mass-produced electric equivalent. And yet they fall to bits within a couple of years – because they’re made of completely unsuitable materials, by semi-skilled people, with inadequate tools. In the meantime, they pollute, they waste fuel, and they deliver only the most modest returns to their owner/drivers.

    There is absolutely no need for this sort of thing. Pinoys seem to take pride in doing things in the most complicated, inefficient and backbreaking ways, because this proves that they’re “hardworking”. Come on guys. Work smarter, not harder.

  2. Jeepney culture is unique because baduy culture is unique. Inefficient, polluting and obnoxious is a sign of pride here. Why change? Look at our mass media where hosts insist on the title of idol or more recently lodi. Look at the shows that rate. The value that you see on TV and radio is baduy. Been saying that for a while. Nobody outside our borders care about baduy except for OFWs. Baduy mentality leads to low standards . As Benign0 says there is no Tagalog word for efficiency simply because the idea of efficiency is not valued. Astig though is valued. Like the PBA called themselves astig. What a shock nobody in the rest of the basketball world cares about the existence of the PBA. Astig, baduy all the same . Pinoy values are on display on TV and in the jeepney where any notion of change is resisted. Their operators unaware of the concept of the turn signal or road courtesy. As usual I am so proud to be pinoy at this moment.

  3. Let’s see, how I see it… jeepneys replaced the pre-war modes of transport called the tranvia and autocalesa (motorized calesa). Plans to restore the tranvia after World War 2 never materialized (probably because rebuilding rails into the streets was difficult) So after taking the surplus jeeps and converting them into the new “autocalesas,” the cottage-level transport businesses decided this mode of transport is all they need. That makes the jeepney the product of Filipino “puede na yan” mentality. The only seeming development with the jeepney was its getting bigger to take more passengers (also an effect of maximizing the boundary system, the very thing that makes Filipino public transport terrible), but improving the engine and even adding a handbrake and other safety features were not priorities. It was all puede na yan. Safety, improvement? The saying from abroad is, why fix it if it’s not broke; for the Filipinos, why fix it if you’re used to it being broke?! Magtiis ka nalang (just bear it)! Bahala na. And any effort to improve it or change the boundary system get resisted, even slammed as “anti-poor.” Impunity! The Filipino cultural trinity of webmaster Benign0 is all here.

    The tricycle seems to be the more logical replacement of this since it has the same small passenger capacity

  4. This is totally wrong. The jeepney is actually the most efficient form of transportation. Developed countries like the US are trying hard, and unsuccessfully, to get people out of single-occupant private cars onto public transportation. The jeepney is convenient, inexpensive to ride, and increases social interaction and cohesion. There is certainly room for improvement – but going to private cars only increases pollution and traffic jams, and is wasteful and silly. Look at traffic in Philippine cities and the cause is clearly private cars, not the jeepney or bus. With private cars you also need more parking spaces, higher road construction costs.

    1. I don’t think benign0 was suggesting that cars are the answer. Simply that, for what it is, the Jeepney represents terrible engineering.

      Of course public transportation is a good thing. But if you’re going to build a PSV, build it properly. Put a modern engine in it. Keep the lights and indicators working. Have a trained, competent driver in the driving seat. And don’t let them just stop anywhere they like, blocking the traffic. These are really very simple issues, but the Filipino’s lack of interest in them betrays his fundamental lack of understanding of what engineering is all about.

    2. It takes an outsider’s mind to even think about this, thank you! It really makes sense.

      The aspiration for innovation for the jeepney is there but what is the answer of the private sector and the government? Are there any programs to industrialize the auto industry or there is only the presence of corporate greed? Some sectors have the opinion that corporations just want to corner the e-Jeepney industry.

      GRP has written many articles about this and it’s no secret what is the sentiment, but, what other realistic mode of transport can GRP offer the riding public which is readily available right now that would equally serve as that of the jeepney?

    3. Jesus Christ. Spoken truly like someone who doesn’t interact with the Filipino public transportation system. Travel along the Ortigas Avenue or Marcos Highway routes and you find grossly overloaded jeepneys with upwards of seven guys hanging off the back, added to the 20 or so already cramped passengers in shitty seats, for a trip that can, in extremely shitty cases, take longer than two hours. This is the social cohesion crap you’re talking about? Try fucking taking it to work every day. I was overjoyed to move to my new place of work where I can take a point to point bus; I don’t have to suffer the Jeeps, or the only slightly less horrible shuttles.

  5. The Philippines is behind 200 years to any industrialized countries, in comparison to Science and Technology advancement… It is because of Brain Drain. The skilled , educated and talented Filipinos, immigrates to foreign countries, where they receive better pays, better treatments and benefits.

    They jeepney is a symbol, of a Filipino technology, that is remaining stagnant for many years, and up to this day… The World War II jeep vehicles, that were destined to junk yards, were taken by Filipinos, and converted them to a transport vehicles. World War II is over for almost 70 years. The World War II vehicle is still with us.

    Jeepney engines has evolved from carburetor system to fuel injection system to hybrids; then to electric motors, to the most advanced hydrogen fueled…

    We have not moved, to where we are…unless, there is a comprehensive system of education to emphasize the importance of Science and Technology to our youth…we will remain stagnant as we are..politics is our most important industry. Who would like to sweat, if you can steal !

    1. Even then, the mere act of “stealing” requires some labor to be expended not to mention some “mind thinking” or planning, in other words, it requires dexterity, which can only be acquired by way of education, but how is it learned is the question, where is the school to learn these skill of stealing and how much people are “paying ” to learn it?

  6. Hopefully this sort of summarises the disparate responses I would have posted to all your insightful comments! 🙂

    The engineering failures represented by the jeepney also point to the cultural shortfalls that make implementing a modern, large-scale, systematic, and scheduled public transport system doubly difficult. Operating the sorts of train and bus services used in modern societies in the Philippine setting requires individual commuters to get past the kanya-kanya mentality and see themselves as participants in a shared facility or service.

    At first that may sound a bit too obvious, but if we closely examine the psyche of a typical Filipino, we will find a marked absence in that sort of civic-mindedness and humility in regard of one’s place in society that is all but ingrained in individuals living in more prosperous and harmonious societies.

    1. For many, especially the self-entitled arrogant ones like Gogs, in order for them to “see themselves as participants in a shared facility or service”, that would mean they will have to surrender their car culture. And that they wouldn’t allow to happen cause it’s viewed as baduy. Tough luck!

      That same car culture partly explains why the United States of America does not have high-speed rail system and bullet trains! Though in recent time they are now working on it.

      1. So I am self entitled and arrogant yet you are the one putting words in my mouth, that is true humility. Gee thanks Randy. I don’t run into geniuses like you every day or even every year. Please point out where : 1) I drive 2) I resent jeepney riders for not having their own cars. 3) I mention the financial situation of the riders. 4) I mention the riders period. I know you will get on that really quick the big brain that you are. Riders will ride what is there. The jeepney operators are protective of their rolling graveyards. Yet for some reason it is a symbol of pride. That is the essence of baduy actually. The gap between perceived worth and actual worth, utility and efficiency. Jeepney operators have that down pat just as I cower under your superior intellect. Sorry for being too dumb for your superior intellect.

      2. @randy: “Baduy” depends on context. Being imprisoned in a routine use of a car going to and from work is what is truly baduy. In that sense, the lack of a good transport system in the Philippines imprisons millions of Filipinos in kabaduyan.

        1. @benign0: I believe the jeepneys have their purpose and continue to serve what they’re intended for. In that sense, jeepneys are actually not the problem! As you’ve mentioned, as of now, there’s “the lack of a good transport system in the Philippines” as an actual equal killer alternative to replace or retire them, that’s the problem. That’s more ‘kabaduyan’ to those who rely on these humble mode of transport.

          Just imagine what will happen to all commuters (teachers and students, office and factory workers…) in case they woke up one day and there’s not a single jeepney on the road? Their world activities would stop! It’s arrogance to even decide for the affected many when such decision is being made easily by an unaffected few.

          Btw, my use of ‘baduy’ is just a quoted word, pardom me, from an entitled arrogant in a earlier blogpost.

    2. No one, not a single Filipino, worked on improving the Jeepney. When it became more cost-efficient to order surplus multicabs and turn them into “mini-buses”, the jeepney building industry died.

      Then the jeepney operators and drivers were given political power, allowing them to obstruct any move to phase it out.

      It’s easy to demand a group of people to change. But it is better to base once policies on the behavior of the people. Machiavellianism is key to make the Filipino culture work for the betterment of the Filipinos. Wasting too much time dreaming about WHAT OUGHT TO BE will keep one from doing what is necessary based on WHAT IS.

  7. More than engineering, the jeepney has also become a tool for a select few who call themselves “transport sector representatives” to enrich themselves through membership in their little club and then hoisting their club and the members against the government if they want even just a modicum of change.

    They will not profit from technological advancement. They will profit from the vast number of jeepney drivers who, by the way, are stuck in the poverty cycle because these “transport sector representatives” and their operator friends maintain a low pay grade “boundary” system so they are easily manipulated.

    Then words like “discipline”, “emission control”, “modernization” they tell these drivers are “ANTI POOR” measures, these fucking bastards.

  8. Maybe we can set aside the thought of building a nuclear plant for a while.
    Until we really really have the right knowledge and mentality to build it, perhaps when we have learned what “efficiency and precision” really means and we no longer have that “puwede na yan” mentality, hmm, please.

    1. The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is not a product of a ‘pwede na yan’ mentality. It’s a result of a long study conducted since the late 1960s in preparation for the looming world oil crisis caused by world events at the time as an augmenting alternative source of energy (Good governments have foresight!).

      According to an expert (whose name escapes me at the moment) being interviewed at an CNN Philippines TV program, it would just take a size of a pinky fingernail to fuel the full requirements of a household for a full year! When asked about its safety, he declared he’s willing to sleep inside it if it gets operational.

      1. In a country whose people who are always caught by surprise and do not know what to do except pray whenever a typhoon, volcanic eruption, earthquake happen, how much more is a nuclear disaster? Will the people be prepared? How much knowledge of nuclear physics do the people really have? Oh yeah, we can just rely on the so-called “experts”, who are they? local or foreigner?

        1. Should we believe in someone just because she’s doubtful but unknowingly just spreading fake news?!

          Must we have faith or rely on someone with unknown or dubious credentials or should we rather open our minds freely to an expert who knows exactly what he’s saying, backed with all the salient academic, scientific educational background, experience and technical expertise in a chosen field?

          Sarda is only echoing what the advisers of former President Cory Aquino fed her with the wrong information that there was a nearby “volcano” and an “earthquake fault” underneath the BNPP.

          Is there a fault beneath the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mz6qkiPDhWE

          Dr. Carlo Arcilla, the Director of the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) offers something for Sarda to reflect on:

          (CV: http://www.asiaoceania.org/aogs2015/doc/GE/ARCILLA_CV.pdf)

          “Laguna de Bay is also a volcano with at least two craters, which erupted over 20,000 years ago, and is much younger than Mount Natib. Are you afraid of Laguna de Bay? I’m sure you did not even know it’s a volcano.”

          GRP’s Fallen Angel has these thought-provoking slap-in-the-face final words on her piece about the BNPP:

          “… I understand in a way why governments after Marcos did not want to revive the BNPP. Most especially for the Aquinos, it would be an epic slap in the face for them and their oligarch friends to use something that Marcos had the foresight to plan. They didn’t want to turn off the minds of their “enlightened” voter/consumer base now, did they?

          “The flow of history has provided all the presidents who succeeded Marcos ample opportunity for the Philippines to step up and show the world that it could learn from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear incidents. Yet true to form, all of them allowed themselves to be overtaken by panic, fear, doubt, stupidity, and the influence of their self-serving oligarch friends. This is why the Philippines remains in the dark, literally and figuratively. Because of the failure of five (5) presidencies to actually realize this potential solution to our energy problems, we remain Asia’s basketcase.”

  9. Interesting to note that Elmer Francisco (now at the helm of former FMC) is a physicist:
    https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2019/04/05/1907443/jeepney-maker

    As I recall, one of the first lessons taught in Physics labs is the difference between accuracy and precision. nanometers, femtoseconds, picofarads are units commonly thrown around in physics communities. We need more people like Elmer in PH industry, business and government.

    A free version of AutoCAD should be part of the K-12 curriculum to raise up a next generation with a culture of precision. Get the kids to love precision drawing tools rather than video games and we will probably get somewhere in the next few decades.

    As for now, the tin can with wheels called the Jeepney is just loaded with cultural dysfunction . Where is the IP rights activist who will protest the illegal use of the Benz trademark? Where is the law enforcer who pulls over a Jeepney with no seat-belts provided for front-seat passengers? Why can’t Jeepney body designers come up with better aerodynamics – like a curved windshield? Why does the general public put up with smoke-belching eyesores plying their highways/roads on a daily basis?

    The Jeepney represents a lot of what is wrong with the country and its people. Like an LGBT she-male who is proud he had his dick decapitated, Filipinos are proud of what a person with basic common sense will normally be ashamed of. What a pity.

    1. The Poverty Card is a powerful identity card in the Philippines. It accords its holder immunity from criminal prosecution in many counts. More importantly, when presented in large numbers, it serves as a roadblock to the implementation of any innovation or advance in methods that could potentially make certain low-added-value jobs obsolete.

      Right there in the jeepney is an embodiment of everything that hobbles progress in the Philippines.

      1. Why pass the blame to the powerless and excuse the society’s elite and the powers-that-be, in spite of them having vast powers and resources at their disposal, for their inefficiency to realize their promised commitment to the nation!

  10. Another Great Article…………. The issue with the pinoy is deeply rooted in the culture. No one must “lose face”, therefore, no one holds anyone accountable for being late or bad behavior or loud music. There is a complete lack of courtesy for anyone except the immediate pinoy family unit. Try getting on a bus!!
    Another part of the issue is that the language is very general and does not lend itself to being “specific”, therefore everything is not described accurately.
    One only has to visit a home construction site or look closely at a nice hotel room to see the general “lack of detail” for all the construction trades. The reason for this “lack of detail is that there is a general attitude that ” its good enough”.
    I have been living here for over 10 years and until people start holding each other accountable for their attitudes , actions and quality of work………. I am afraid it will sadly continue for many generations.

      1. GRP is just an OPINION Blog! benignO can’t simply claim an authority of truth to everything.

        Efficiency, from the word ‘efficient’, simply means effective. Kahusayan (it’s filipino translation), mula sa salitang ‘husay’, ay mabisa, matalab o epektibo at depende sa gamit, konsepto o diwa ay maari rin na tumukoy ng iba’t ibang kahulugan:

        1:pagiging maayos at sistematiko ng isang gawain at paraan. (kaayusan, kagalingan)
        2:pagkakamit ng mataas na karangalan o marka sa pagsusulit o paligsahan. (katalinuhan)
        3:pagiging dalubhasa o bihasa sa isang propesyon o trabaho. (kadalubhasaan, kabihasaan)

        With the above examples, it would be, either I am wrong or both Daniel and benign0 refuse to know, don’t really know or just lying.

        1. That Google dictionary translation looks so forced and imprecise. Kahusayan has the sense of kagalingan, of being skilled at something, but that doesn’t mean efficiency. Efficiency should mean using less to have more results, such as in fuel, consuming 1 liter to travel 50 miles is more efficient than using a gallon to travel 10 miles. There is no exact word for that concept, because it seems a rare habit for Filipinos count how much they’ve spent to achieve a goal. Perhaps katipiran approaches it, but that’s more translated as being spendthrift rather than efficient. Kahusayan is a floppy word to force-fit as a translation for efficiency, so there is no REAL exact translation for it.

        2. ChinoF, when you say it’s “fuel-efficient”, when refering to a car’s engine or motor, we say it’s “matipid” (sa gasolina). Isn’t that a reference to it’s efficiency (on mileage vs fuel consumption)?

          When an American says “he wants strong coffee”, would you want to translate it as “gusto niya ng malakas na kape” (instead of “matapang na kape”), insisting on that “REAL exact translation” using a western standard as base, even if to us, it’s ridiculous?

          Or how about translating “my father’s car” to French, can you do it with exactness wherein the use of ‘s or s’ in English to express possesion is not the norm?

          When we’re watching foreign movies, official release subtitles aren’t translated with textual exactnes but with the cultural subtleties and context considered for that movie’s country of origin.

          To be always looking for “REAL exact translation” using a western standard as base is futile, keep dreaming!

        3. “To be always looking for “REAL exact translation” using a western standard as base is futile, keep dreaming!”

          Exactly why efficiency=kahusayan should be questioned.

      2. @Bela: Nope. Efficiency does not mean effective. Precisely-defined, efficiency is the quotient of useful output to total input into a process. The more output you get per unit of input, the more efficiency you achieve.

        You can be effective (get something done) but not efficient (get something done with huge wastage of resources).

        1. Precisely-defined or simply-defined it still goes back to effectivity.

          I get the idea that you still want to impress your audience with semantics? Perhaps Daniel is partly correct, “No one must “lose face””!

        2. @Bela: I’m just stating the facts surrounding the concept of efficiency. It seems you have trouble dealing with those facts.

        3. Noticeably, benigno does not have the humility to admit that an earlier claim, his emphatically proud statement that “There is no Tagalog word for efficiency”, has just been debunked.

          He even failed to recognize that his attitude towards it, quite strangely, is seemingly jubilant, like one of a triumph or a victory… it makes one wonder for whom exactly?!

      3. If we are going to translate and invent words of every scientific terms in Tagalog, it will just turn into like an alien language that even the Tagalog people themselves will find it hard to comprehend, but this is what I find it lacking in Pilipinos, the standardization of language, but why go through all these translation and inventing of words when we all know it will take a very very long time for them to get adapted and fit the vernacular not to mention of how much it will cost. As far as I’m concern the English language is here to stay, I may sound unpatriotic but I see it as being more practical. We can stop this patriotic hypocrisy, it will only pull us backward.

        What I understand about efficiency is that it is the ratio of the number of products/services that meet the standard over all that is produced(good and bad), if the ratio is one then it is 100% efficient and it can only be a reflection of something that is effective.

        1. Agree. No more further translation from scientific or other English words to tagalog. As is nlng as long as we understand each other. Pde taglish.

  11. Should there be an exact tagalog equivalent for the word “efficient”? Precision in that sense wouldn’t be as useful. People should be able to capture the meaning since translations can be inadequate.

    1. Critics are fussing over the word, but the fact is there, Filipinos are mostly inefficient, and don’t work smart. They are mired in poverty because they are mired in inefficiency. Instead of looking for the most efficient practices, they just go with maski paps (maski papaano), because any way will do as long as it brings home some bread. This is represented in the jeepney, but it also happens in politics, as in how the voters vote.

      1. @ChinoF the pwede na yan basta me maiuuwi or basta gumagana mentality. I wonder if people remember the commercial where the voice over keeps on saying “pwede na yan” then the other voice over says “pwedeng pwede”. I smell lack of discipline which is also number 1 problem of us filipinos….

      2. Sure, poverty can limit options (and can bring the worst or best out of us), but the maski papaano applies not only to the poor. So I wouldn’t make direct connections that way.

        About the word, it’s not about “maski papaano” way of defining, since the process is usually from general to specific… it’s forming an idea before making the analysis.

    2. Even the present English language is no longer as pure as it was being use by the Anglo-Saxon of long time ago, because of constant borrowing of words from other neighboring countries, it has evolved. Like the British are saying, “the English language is no longer our own language”.

  12. From what began as a discussion about Filipino Jeepneys that then segues into another discourse about the Filipino language, I find this brilliant and self-examining piece of composition, “Betraying the Filipino language” by Prof. Antonio Contreras, very interesting and relevant as a rejoinder in the discussion. Excerpts of which are below:

    “One of the tragedies of a colonized society like ours is the absence of a solidly-founded national narrative that permeates our lives. This is aggravated by a lingering fetish at everything that is Western, leading one to prefer the language and lifestyle of the colonizers. Colonization is indeed a process of identity displacement, since it has effectively rendered our former selves as our new “other,” even as our colonial “other” becomes now part of our post-colonial selves.

    “The other tragedy of being colonized lies in the lingering shadows of disunity seen in a country that is divided, and that cleaves along regional identities. This reveals the ironic reality that despite its might, our colonization was not totalizing after all, as it left a deeply fractured domain of identities, now finding a space in a post-colonial world expressed in the form of regional movements for autonomy not only in politics, but even on the issue of language.

    “The ultimate tragedy left by a colonial experience that conquered by dividing us on the very base of our indigenous selves is that it solidified Western templates of who we should be, seen in Western modes of faith embodied in the dominance Catholicism, and in alien modes of expressing ourselves seen in the dominance of English. It is terribly disconcerting that those who oppose Filipino to become the language that can hope to unite us have no qualms in elevating English as a better alternative for us to communicate with each other. The ultimate curse of colonization that lives even up to now is when the language of the colonizer is deemed as a more acceptable unifier of our multiple selves, rather than the Filipino that is so resented for its being the language of the Tagalogs, who are in fact one of us.

    “Tagalog as language then becomes more “other” than English. Indeed, how tragic.”

    Read more here:

    https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/opinion/content/366049/betraying-the-filipino-language/story/

    1. Thanks, I’ve read this and other articles that make similar theses around the Tagalog vs English debate. However, the point of this article has nothing to do with nationalism or historical narratives and focuses more on the hard practicalities of the use of English vis-a-vis our Tagalog baggage.

      The short of it is that English is enriched by the history of its native speakers’ extensive and deep science, technology, and engineering tradition. Indeed, English is singled out in this piece only because it is relevant to its intended audience — predominantly Filipinos. Stepping back, however, we will find that the native languages of societies that, in general, have extensive track records of achievement in science, technology, and engineering are themselves similarly enriched. Thus, English joins peers in this elite set of languages that enjoy this richness — Japanese, German, Chinese, and French among others.

      An investment in Tagalog as a medium of instruction, therefore, will not yield as big returns over the same period as, say, an investment in the use of English as a medium of instruction. The fact is, much of the Philippines’ challenges require scientific, technological and engineering solutions and, suffice to say, it is in bad BAD need of qualified people to develop and implement those solutions. Tagalog will not get us there but English comes with far superior tools to support that goal.

      1. Fair enough, but what if you’re wrong? Are you open and willing to engage with some people in the academe about the merits of your theses vis-a-vis others?

        I am reminded of your “Tagalog vs English? Take the 30-word challenge!”, wherein you proposed “a kind of a test on the efficiency by which Tagalog can articulate complex concepts by issuing a challenge to translate, considering three (3) simple performance criteria, the following text into Tagalog”:

        “Just because molecular irregularities cause a ballbearing’s radius to vary by nanometers along its surface does not stop us from attributing a spherical quality to it at a macro level.”

        Out of nowhere, three (3) notable individuals rose up to the occasion, namely: bazookabubblegum (who articulated his at 35 words), BULARAN (who came up with his at 26 words) and Marvin Kaiser (who did his with three versions with the least economical number of words at 25, 23 and 22.).

        Your personal attempt only at 35 words fell short of your own challenge and puts you at the receiving end.

        The “Tagalog baggage” impression only reflects that lacking desire or attempt to enrich it side by side with English language.

      2. @zig: Sure. Always willing to engage with anyone willing to discuss. They know where to find me.

        My biggest motivations in writing is finding people out to prove me wrong.

      3. They don’t get it. Or they don’t accept that what we need to improve our country is often written in foreign languages. Not just engineering or technological science, but even psychology and philosophy. I went through that Ateneo philosophy class in college that had to be done in Tagalog – we had to choose either English or Tagalog classes – the school doing that to the program was a terrible idea. I had a difficult time understanding ideas in the local language and so got a D. Trying to redub scientific ideas from other places in Tagalog is ridiculous. I hope when they revised the philosophy curriculum, they removed the requirement to strictly do it either in Tagalog or English, because it didn’t help. It only created an unnecessary challenge for study. They should let the teacher decide on what language to use based on the students’ needs, Trying to translate foreign books and idea into Tagalog – good luck. You’re gonna need it.

        1. The letters we use to write Pilipino/Tagalog language is also of foreign origin, the Roman Alphabet, so how pure will these so called National identity go far? Dump the Roman alphabet?

    2. this is spot on. this is the problem “colonization” brought to the country. oh well, we just have to suck this up. we can’t go back in time and prevent it. Even the author use the english dialect. LOL. “how ironic . .”

  13. i think during marcos time, we have Sarao / tamaraw or something. we cound have started making this product like Toyota / Honda.

    Jeepney looks cool but not designed for public transportation with old school boundary system for the driver to earn. and it sucks waiting on the jeep when the driver is waiting until it’s full of passengers knee-to-knee style. plus the loud mixed music. its irritating. now I ride a bike to work. i save time and money and i keep my privacy.

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