Sarah Palin's Pinoy Tongue

There was much commotion this week about Sarah Palin’s use of the word “refudiate” (later changed to “refute”) in a twitter remark about a proposed mosque at ground zero.

Such a gaffe of course is common among us Pinoys who frequently interchange our f’s with our p’s, although I tend to believe we make much more of it than other people. That was of course until this episode.

The Huffington Post covers the cheeky responses to her handling of the situation here. In her defense, she tweets that she made use of artistic license in her use of the “word” as others like Shakespeare have done in the past continuing the evolution of this “living” language. We Pinoys have of course been hard at work mutating our form of English into a whole new tongue altogether.

One need only point to the jokes within the novel Ilustrado to emphasize this point. The author Miguel Syjuco talks about his use of these narratives within the narrative of his book to tease out the absurdities of life in the Philippines in this video. He says that this ability to make light fun of the difficulties and travails of life is what makes us distinctly Pinoy.

It is this insight that Mrs Palin apparently failed to appreciate. So while she may have gained the fluency in this instance to talk like a Filipino, she still lacks the ability to journey through life like one.

Doy Santos aka The Cusp

Doy Santos is an international development consultant who shuttles between Australia and the Philippines. He maintains a blog called The Cusp: A discussion of new thinking, new schools of thought and fresh ideas on public policy ( and tweets as @thecusponline. He holds a Master in Development Economics from the University of the Philippines and an MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

  • Mike H

    There is so much excitement in Pilipinas about Presidente NoyNoynoy Aquino’s SONA. Lacierda, Carangdang, MLQ3 and others seem to be conditioning the minds of the intended audience to anticipate that Gloria Arroyo administration will be a prime focus of the SONA when Pres N/Aquino mentions the budget and the Davide Truth Commission.

    I wish that PresiNoy will spend some time also to address poverty-reduction, law-and-order (CPP/NPA and MILF “lost commands” banditry, kidnappings, beheadings and murder) and his plans for public education (building twenty thousand additional school rooms in two years or less; curriculum-change to adding two more years of school before a Filipino can call himself a high-school graduate)

    And of course, the issue that grips the Philippines from Batanes to GenSan City — the water crisis of metro-Manila.

  • Joe America

    Ms. Palin has some shorts in her synapses, for sure. Filipinos, from my observation, have a great sense of humor when it comes to the travails of others. Are there any top-line stand-up Filipino comedians? There is plenty of material. Inquiring minds wish to know.

    They also wish to know if their comments will appear in this brand new shiny web site.

    • Welcome Joe to the Pro Pinoy Project! While we may be slow to approve comments, rest assured that we will be responsible to do so. We’ll have site update in a few days. so you’ll see a new look.

      As for comedians, there used to be loads of political satire, on philippine tv, but so rare these days I’m afraid.

      I’m not a huge fan of Ms. Palin, though I do agree with The Cusp on this one. Hehe.

      -Cocoy, Chief Blogger