What’s Pinoy?

A classmate back in college, stated that the word Pinoy was derived from “PILIPINONG UNGGOY” , I remember everyone bursting into hysterical laughter. He would regret that they, my friend, for he was teased through out his college life.

Immediately my Professor corrected my classmate, according to this Professor (who already passed away in 05, rest in peace sir!) the word PINOY(This word came to being in the late 60’s), is from the word Filipino the tagalogs then added -y, a dimunitive suffix. Its like Toto, when you want to make it sound small, it becomes Totoy.

Filipino as a subject way back in college, is not among my favorite subjects but origins of Filipino words always gets my attention.

This one, the Pinoy word, tells us how we look at ourselves. Though we are proud to adapt it as a word that defines our race it also mirrors our attitude.

Not that there is something wrong with it, we Filipinos love giving names (Kano, Sakang, Tsekwa, bombay etc etc…) ours is a fun loving culture. Making fun does not mean we are looking down at those people who receives it. Naturally, Mahilig tayo mangasar. But giving ourselves a word that would describe us as small, is something we all should think about.

Its just that it occured to me that we seem to make things smaller when it should be bigger, I remember Nick Joaquin’s “Heritage of Smallness” — he hits it on the spot. We tend to regress, desire only those of small value, we fear things that would grow big, we show lack of confidence when confronted by giant task. Go little when we should be prepping to go full blast, baka hindi kaya.

A good example is Makati’s Congressional districts, A small town – now due its success, a giant city in terms of wealth and progress. Divided into two districts, why? because it got too big. Why can’t it be just one guy? why is it that when population grows, when towns becomes cities, government and people would vote to divide it – now, instead of a lone representation, we get politicians who can’t agree with each other. Philippines is the size of California they say, but they don’t have this many politicians, our politicians could easily outnumber theirs. Of course some would argue that it is not a country, but there lies my point.

We always look forward at cutting to pieces things that increase in size. We wanted to play big time sports but shy away from spectacle games like football and baseball, instead we prefer basketball, because we can play it in small groups, play it half court, represent our small baranggay, be with our short team – we seem satisfied, even in sport, to play it small.

Its the mentality that has been embedded in our minds, that Filipino – is a Pinoy, that we are small, mga totoy, bunsoy at popoy. The term used to described our physical attribute has become the very word that displays our attitude towards progress.


2 responses to “What’s Pinoy?

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