Jose Carillo's Forum


This section seeks to promote and encourage the felicitous use of English in expressing ideas, thoughts, and feelings. It welcomes well-thought-out compositions in English, particularly original essays, articles, short stories, and verses written by the Forum member himself or herself. Forum members and guests are welcome to contribute to the Forum.

Members who wish to contribute material to this section may post it directly in the “My Thoughts Exactly” discussion board. Nonmembers may send material by e-mail addressed to The Moderator,

Five lay bare their thoughts on language, suffrage, carnage

Beginning this week’s edition of the Forum, we are relaunching the “Pour Your Mind in English” section under a new name, “My Thoughts Exactly.” This is to better capture the spirit and intent of the section, which is to promote and encourage the felicitous use of English in expressing ideas, thoughts, and feelings. As in the past, this section welcomes well-thought-out compositions in English, particularly original essays, short stories, and verses written by the Forum member himself or herself.

Five Filipino contributors from as many points of the globe have contributed to this maiden edition of “My Thoughts Exactly”; four of them are Forum members and the fifth a keen observer of its language goings-on. The contributors are (in the order of appearance of their articles) Fred Natividad of Livonia, Michigan, in the United States, “Medjugorie, Here They Come”; Arvin Antonio V. Ortiz of Davao City in the Philippines, “149 Minutes”; Raul S. Gonzalez of Mandaluyong City in the Philippines, “A Day in May”; Isabel Escoda of Hong Kong, “Some Tangled Tropes that Annoy Me”; and Hill Roberts of Marbella, Spain, “A Philippic Against the Social Obsession with Guns.”

Here are their thoughts, exactly:

Medjugorie, Here They Come
By Fred Natividad

They chatted noisily at the international terminal at O’Hare airport. To non-Filipinos near them they sounded distinctly talking in a foreign language, in some kind of pidgin notoriously common in the Philippines as Taglish.

Actually nobody really paid much attention to the chattering group except a few white ladies, beyond middle age, who did corner-of-the-eye glances. Either they were in transit to, or from, some hick town where they have never seen nor heard chatty Filipino women, or they were just nosy characters accumulating some gossip stuff to tell their neighbors over the fence back home.   

Chicago, for one thing, is full of immigrants. And since O’Hare is an international airport, the sounds of all kinds of strange languages are not unusual. To mainstream Americans, Taglish is no more unusual than Swahili. Unless they are trained CIA linguists, the gossip-over-the-fence women can’t understand strange tongues anyway.
“Ay, comari, yo ar heyer, olso?”
“Aba, op kors! Si maring Chuchi ay nag-tor na sa Lordis kaya tayo naman sa Mediogori.”
“Pero, mari, magsa-sayd trip ata tayo sa Pompi...”
“Pompi? Sa Itali yon, ah.”
“O-o. Magsi-siyaping tayo ng pornityior.”
“Ya, huwag lang nating kalimutang bumile ng stetiyo ni Mama Mary sa Mediogori.”
“Di ba marami ka na niyan?”

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149 Minutes
By Arvin Antonio V. Ortiz

Nervous, I inserted my ballot into the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scanner) machine. I was nervous because what if the PCOS would reject my ballot like it did to the woman’s before me. The PCOS didn’t reject her ballot at all, but she inserted it six times before her ballot was counted. Less than a minute passed when the words “Congratulations! Your vote has been counted” finally appeared. I sighed.

What the COMELEC (Commission on Elections) said was really true. With the automated elections, the counting of the ballots would no longer take a long time, unlike the manual elections. But it’s too early to celebrate.

Lest we forget, the searching of polling precinct, the lining up—all those, too, are part of the election. And there are so many things that can be said of them. So many, in fact, that I don’t know where to begin.

Perhaps I’d begin with my arrival. If the election were manual, I would have arrived at the polling precinct very early. But no, the election was now automated. Which, as the COMELEC promised, is faster and more efficient. There was therefore no need for me to hurry.

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A Day in May
By Raul S. Gonzalez

How did a day in May, than which—poets sing—there is none livelier, ever evolve into Mayday, which is what sea and air craft in distress signal to seek succor? This one case of those word quirks that fascinate people with a feel and fondness for the language of Shakespeare and Wordsworth, Gibbon and Churchill.

Take, for instance, the word “scapegoat,” which is very much in vogue these days, thanks to the Contemplacion execution. I bet that you can’t find another word that contains within itself 10 other words that appear sequentially, without the change of a letter, thus: “scape,” “cap,” “cape,” “ape,” “peg,” “ego,” “go,” goat,” “oat,” “at.” Then there’s that adjective that sports all the five vowels—a, e, i, o, u—in that order: “facetious.” I dare you come up with another such.

Was that “Contemplacion execution” I wrote in the preceding paragraph? That makes me as guilty of inaptness as such impeccable writers as Teddyboy Locsin, Canete Demain, J. V. Cruz, Adrian Cristobal, and Conrad Quiros, who should have known that “execute” means “carry out” and, therefore, what is executed is not a person but an order, a verdict, a sentence.

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Some Tangled Tropes That Annoy Me
By Isabel Escoda

Maybe I’m just an old fogey, but I find much of the current lingo these days irritating.  The linguistic gymnastics, as it were, reminds me of how much more serious and logical the language sounded a few decades ago—before the Americans (probably the ones who coined these weird, often pesky words and phrases) came up with their clichés.

Admittedly, much of the current verbiage is pretty colorful, sometimes funny.  Take “belly up”—this was surely coined by a naturalist who wanted to make a point by reminding us what happens to animals when they expire. So, describing a company gone bankrupt as going “belly up” certainly conveys the right mood. But it’s hard to think of executives lying prone on their office floors, with their legs up—their faces covered by negative balance sheets!

The true authorities on all this jargon are certainly [the late] William Safire, the erudite New York Times language maven (that marvelous Yiddish term!), and the brilliant Briton Lynn Truss whose Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a witty, often hilarious compendium of today’s English terms,  expressions, and correct punctuation.

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A Philippic Against the Social Obsession with Guns
By Hill Roberts

Guns. What exactly are they for? Why are so many in this world obsessed with weapons? Are we to believe that they are of so great a benefit to us and everyone that every Timmy, Dicky and Hairy must have at least one gun? I have no dislike for guns. It is those people who use guns to hurt, maim or kill that make me angry. As for gun control, this is a debate that will have no end. No matter how we shout to ban guns or other arsenal, they will be around and no amount of rules and regulations and laws would prevent “those others” to acquire them by any means available, legally or illegally. I, myself, do not believe that banning guns would solve the enormity of the problems that beset every village, town, city. This is a sad fact but it must be accepted by us.

Five days ago, in Cumbria, England, twelve people were gunned down and twenty-five others hurt and were in critical condition. I know this place so well since this is where my husband was born. I have driven the length and breadth of the beautiful countryside, breathtaking and idyllic in the best of times.

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