Monday, April 14, 2008

Name Calling

What's in a name? A rose by any other name is still thorny.

Overheard between two “kabayan” inside a supermarket. “O, nakabili ka na ba nang Colgate?”, “Hindi eh, walang Close-up na may kasamang toothbrush”.

I don't find that odd or amusing. During my college days, in one of our sem-break, my friends and I went to a fishpond in Calauag, Quezon. We found ourselves scratching our heads because of the local lingo. But we catch-on quickly. We knew then that Mobil is tabo, Coleman is lantern and “ispot” is what they call a flashlight. My Manila-based friends where amused but I consider that rational. I don’t know why they called a flashlight “ispot”. But in my father’s hometown my lola uses Caltex to take a bath and Petromax to light their house in the evening. My lolo rides a Yamaha to his farm and uses Kubota to flow his field.

This practice is not even confined in the provinces. In urban areas you still hear people say Xerox for photocopy, Kodak for pictures or Cutex for nail polish. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, as long as we understand each other.

We Filipinos think that calling an object by a brand name is a pinoy “thing”. What most of us don’t know is that it’s a universal phenomenon. Just ask the different nationalities in your workplace. You’ll be amazed that Europeans and Americans are one of its prolific users.

Say, this whachamacallit, is this called thing-ala-jig?

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