Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

The 2009 Oxford words of the year are unfriend, hashtag, intexticated, netbook, sexting, funemployed, birther, choice mom, and deleb. Many of these words, though familiar to most Filipinos, are not applicable in the Philippines.

Unfriending people in facebook, friendster, and other social network sites is not a common internet habit among Filipino netizens. We cannot easily unfriend friends. We are respectful even to friends who betrayed us in the past. There are people who will assert that unfriending someone is against our culture. According to the president’s spokesperson, the friendship of the Arroyos and Ampatuans will not be affected by the gruesome massacre in Maguindanao.

Hashtag is known only to twitter users. There were many instances when the Philippines made it to twitter’s trending topics: Eat Bulaga, Cory, Pacquiao, Ondoy. Plurk is more popular in the country. Slackactivists always use hashtags.

In the Philippine context, intexticated does not refer to those who use their mobile phones while driving. Intexticated are people who text while walking, running, and even sleeping. Yes, there are people who text while sleeping in the middle of the night. Intexticated people are also seen inside churches, classrooms, MRT, LRT, jeepneys, and airplanes.

Netbooks are popular in the country because they are more affordable. This is an ideal gadget for students and teachers. Sexting is a big problem in U.S. schools. Hopefully, the sexting trend would not plague our local schools.

Funemployed are those who ‘enjoy’ unemployment because they can pursue their other interests in life. Are there funemployed Filipinos? Since majority of workers do not receive unemployment checks, Filipinos do not relish the prospect of being out of work. But Filipinos are known to find happiness even during hard times. We are a smiling people. But it doesn’t mean the jobless are funemployed.

Birthers question the authenticity of U.S. President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Choice Mom prefers to be single mothers. Deleb is a dead celebrity. The most famous deleb this year is Michael Jackson.

Political words

Here is my list of Philippine political words of the year: hayden kho, swine flu (ahini), con-ass, cory, ondoy, pacquaio, ampatuan, and backhoe.

hayden kho has various meanings. It may refer to a pervert and maniac, as described by the very moral Sen. Bong Revilla. It may also refer to a doctor who becomes a director and actor of sex videos. Beware of hayden kho boyfriends.

Swine flu or A(H1N1) – pronounced by many Filipinos as ahini – is a continuing global pandemic. It replaced SARS, bird flu, ebola reston, dengue, and chikungunya as the most famous virus threat in Asia and the rest of the world. Washing of hands was strictly enforced, holding hands in churches was disallowed, and hand sanitizers became a bestseller. Companies which produce thermal scanners, facemasks, alcohol, and the expensive flu vaccine benefited from the swine flu scare.

Con-Ass or Constituent Assembly became the top political issue from June to August. The proposal to amend the 1987 constitution was vigorously opposed by many groups and individuals. The charter change or chacha fantasy is still alive through the less controversial but equally lethal Constitutional Convention or concon mode.

The death of the original People Power icon and former President Cory Aquino reawakened the public admiration for this great leader. Cory’s legacy in restoring the country’s democratic institutions was reaffirmed. Senator Noynoy Aquino’s presidential bid was launched shortly after his mother’s death.

Ondoy will be remembered for triggering the worst flooding in Metro Manila in the past 40 years. Ondoy exposed the weak disaster preparedness program of the government. On the other hand, the Ondoy tragedy revived the Bayanihan spirit in the country. Tropical storms Pepeng, Ramil, Santi, and Tino – all of them entered the country during the ‘ber’ months – convinced everybody that climate change is a serious problem.

Pacquaio’s victory boosted the morale of Filipinos. Pacquaio succeeded again in uniting all Filipinos. But the sense of camaraderie in the country was only shortlived because election season began a week after Pacquiao’s stunning victory. And people are no longer talking about Cotto. They are more curious about Krista.

Ampatuan Massacre refers to the killing of 57 people in Maguindanao, the “cheating capital of the country.” The prime suspects are members of the very powerful Ampatuan Family. The Ampatuans have been called many names: mass murderers, criminals, warlords, rebels, friends of the President. The other famous political clan in Maguindanao is the Mangudadatu Family.

A backhoe is used to excavate or dig materials in construction sites. But it can also be used for criminal purposes. A backhoe was used to break into a museum in Pennsylvania. A backhoe owned by the Ampatuan-controlled local government was also found near the mass graves in Maguindanao.

Martial Law was declared in Maguindanao. A joint session of Congress was immediately called. To justify the obviously unconstitutional declaration, Malacanang submitted a report to Congress describing the Ampatuan warlord clan as being backed-up by a “formidable group of armed followers.” The Palace resource speakers seem confused. They described the presence of armed civilian troops (read: CVO private armies) in Maguindanao as proof of looming rebellion and actual rebellion.

Elections are always exciting since they generate memorable slogans. Election monitoring groups have Boto Mo Ipatrol Mo, Ako Mismo, Bilog Na Hugis Itlog. Mar has Padyak Padyak and Ramdam Ko Kayo. Villar has Sipag at Tiyaga and Akala Mo. Gibo has Galing at Talino. Noynoy has Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa. Erap has Tatakbo Ka Ba at Babalik si Erap. Chiz has Ang Bagong Pagbabago and Tayo Ang Bagong Sigla. Chairman BF and Gordon are ‘transformers.’

Related articles:

2007 words of the year
In other words
Swine flu and body heat
Swine flu and politics

2 Responses to “2009 political words of the year”

  1. Hahaha. Ang lupit, lupit!
    Iaadd ko kayo sa links ko! 🙂

    Yfur Porsche

  2. Might I add, not a word, but a phrase: the Automated Elections System. It is only in the Philippines where this phrase is commonly used, with the rest of the world more apt to use the phrase “Electronic Voting.” It is also only in the Philippines where AES is directly correlated with automated electoral fraud, also called “Automagic” or “Cyber-Garci.” 🙂


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