The year of the “dragon” is here!. 2012, the dreaded year! As sooth-sayers say, it is the end of the world!, because the Mayans “stopped” their Mayan calendar reading precisely on 21 December 2012. It was foresighted that a new era will commence as the world enters the period of transition. We will never know what will happen on that day until that day comes. We can only hope and pray and keep our fingers-crossed that that day breezes through with all of us “still alive and kicking”. There is a huge BUT though, “But are we not the ones responsible for our own annihilation?” – that is my question. Meanwhile, we could just wait and see what happens next. My mission as a “blogger” has yet to end and I wish to continue blogging, not to stop as of yet! No way…!! Well, so much for this off-beat opening and I better return to the main topic of this article – about Filipino proverbs.
Filipinos are quite familiar with “salawikaing pilipino (Filipino proverb)”. What does the title mean? – “Nasa tao ang gawa, nasa Diyos ang awa”, literally it could be translated as “A man has to work to gain mercy from God”. True enough, one has to exert a lot of effort to get compensated – at work, at school, in business, etc. To succeed, one has to “sweat it out”. – “No guts, no glory” – as an athletic proverb puts it. Hard-work “pays”. A person cannot definitely survive by just sitting around like the Filipino legend Juan Tamad (Lazy John) who waited for the guava fruit to fall in his open mouth. Filipinos were portrayed as Juan Tamad and were led to believe that they were lazy. It took years upon years to change them to become hardworkers. Many Filipinos were “awakened” by this saying. Unfortunately though, majority of those “awoke” Filipinos are not in the Philippines, but somewhere else around the world where they could have greater chances on being compensated, appropriately compensated, for the hardwork.
What is a proverb? It is a simple saying of truth, common sense and it points to the practical manner by which the life of a person could be conducted based on common sense or the practical experience in human nature. A proverb is metaphorical in some ways and it describes a basic rule of conduct known as maxim. Poverbs are part of the Filipinos’ tradition, customs and way of life. They help Filipinos cultivate their lives to become a worthy element in the society. Filipinos remain to be traditional people. They continue to live with what had been handed down to them from generations – by their parents, grandparents and fore-fathers. But there are those whose lives have already been influenced by foreign beliefs, specially young Filipinos born outside the Philippines and whose parents by one reason or another, failed to pass on that traditional character of how a true-blooded Filipino should be. They have become different from those who had the opportunity to live part of their lives in the Philippines and had adopted some, if not all, traditional values and character up-bringing Filipinos are known for. A truly appropriate proverb runs this way: “Ang taong hindi marunong tumingin sa kanyang pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa kanyang patutunguhan”- -(A person who does not look back to his origin, will not reach his destination). More often than not, Filipinos tend to “forget” their past. But come to think of it at times, while a lot of Filipinos “suffer” in their quest for greener pasture in a far flung country in order to help their families, relatives and friends left back home, their efforts seem to go in vain seeing little or no improvements at all in the country they have dedicated so much “sweat, blood and tears” to extend a hand to. So, who would want to “look back” to his “past” that remains marred with hardships, poverty, political unrest and change appears to be going farther and farther away from the reach of Filipinos. Nevertheless, it is best to look back to your past, because it serves as reference to the kind of future you wish to have. We learn from the past, don’t we?
Another Filipino proverb goes this way: – “Makikilala mo ang totoong kaibigan sa horas ng iyong pangangailangan” (You will only know your true friend in time of need). Some Filipinos do turn their backs to their friends. Though in any society, it is such a difficult business to find a true friend. A true friend may not even exist. Because men have become more superficial in demonstrating their friendly qualities. Real friendly people are more scarce and difficult to find at this stage in time.
A few other Filipino proverbs are:
“Mas mabuting sumayapa at nalimot na, kaysa mabuhay sa kahihiyan” (It’s better to be dead and forgotten than to live in shame).
“Naka-damit man ang unggoy eh unggoy pa rin” (“A dressed up monkey remains a monkey”).
“Kung may tiyaga, may nilaga” (Persevere and reap the fruits of your labour).
Proverbs serve to guide a person’s life to a better proportion. They have been effective guiding words to people and will be as useful to many more. Traditional Filipinos have undeniably shaped their lives inspired by the righteousness and virtues of proverbs. Proverbs may be considered as antiquated means of conducting one’s life to what he wants to become, and could be opposing to the realities of time, because modernity and technology had gone too far that any form of problem could already be answered with the availability of material things. But it does not cost much to believe in the virtues and uprightness of proverbs. They are “free” to use and the results are more than the value of the time you have spent if you take heed to the virtues of proverbs.
Humanity has been guided by written laws in all the facets of life, but unwritten “laws”, like proverbs, encompass the tempers of legalities because they go beyond the good points and character of existing laws which at times are broken by men themselves. Proverbs cannot be broken but yes, could be ignored. It is for us to take a choice on whether to adhere obedience to them or completely turn a deaf ear upon their importance. I guess I have already given a piece of my thoughts and would retire for now. Till next time…..Eric
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