Why say something if you don’t intend to mean it? That, in essence, is the dishonest underpinnings of Charot Culture. The word charot in normalspeak is “joke only”. Filipinos who say something tongue-in-cheek, sarcastically, or to convey a sense of irony often have to resort to appending their statement with either one or even both of those terms. This is because they need an extra assurance that their words would not be misconstrued.
This has something to do with the one-dimensional thinking of people who are sub-educated or lack exposure to cultural diversity. Mix in a pinch of the Philippines’ renowned lack of social trust and one produces the conversational poison we now call Charot Culture. It is hard conversing with people who are incapable of taking even themselves seriously. Such conversations almost always go nowhere. It is under this light that one should reflect on and be a bit wary of people who always end their sentences in the word charot.
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Let’s be a great nation. #CHAROT
Therein lies one of the cultural pillars of the Philippines’ collective dysfunction. One can easily take lightly and dismiss this conversational habit as a mere quirk. Perhaps, however, it is worth examining more closely what could possibly be a disturbing symptom of a deeper malaise.
Charot is, in essence, a conversation-ender. By allowing one’s self to habitually issue glib statements punctuated by a two-syllable caveat that effectively dismisses the entire statement, Filipinos exhibit deeply-ingrained unwillingness to discuss important things at a deeper and more meaningful level. This is perhaps at the heart of a consistent inability of even their biggest and oldest political parties to underpin their campaigns with stable and intelligent platforms. Instead of an issues-based political discourse, Filipinos seem content with shallow banter (peppered with words like charot) and brain-damaging sloganeering. Hardly surprising considering meaningful conversation simply cannot progress after the word charot had been dropped.
If Filipinos have something to say, they should stand by it and prepare to back it with intelligent conversation.
Charot Culture in combination with a predisposition to block challenge to one’s position on an issue is the cancer in the Philippines’ national “debate” that needs to be eradicated. The national discourse should be allowed to flow freely from pertinent hypotheses then allow a robust battle between diverse theses and anti-theses that could lead to sound resolutions. So long as Filipinos habitually nip what could be productive conversations with the charot caveat and, worse, block those who challenge their hallowed notions of how things ought to be, the Philippines’ intellectual landscape will remain fatally imprisoned in inbred thinking.
People who are genuinely serious about sustaining meaningful discourse need to step up and aspire for a higher bar. It is understandable that politicians are hobbled by a pathological need to speak in “the language of the masses”. Truly intelligent people should not be using this as a language or, worse, thinking tool of habit. Leave politicians to their devices with their quaint blanket excuses to act dumb in public as a means to to harvest the votes that are the be-all-end-all of their existence.
Those of us who had been educated properly and invest in real learning and meaningful intellectual exploration should do ourselves justice and avoid using words like charot. If you have something to say, say it with conviction and stand by it.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.