So I signed up for a Gmail account and was a little surprised. Apparently my default mode is in Filipino and even if I try to shift to English, I still get the Filipino translation of everything when I check my mail.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Filipino language. To me, it is one of the softest and most romantic of languages but it feels weird when you attempt to use it in a technical manner and on an online platform. It seems slightly out of place and incomplete. I still can’t get the hang of Mga Bituin and Kahon ng paghahanap and then there’s Mga Chat and Mga Setting. Don’t we have translations for chat, settings, sign-out, inbox, contacts and spam (ano yun, Karne Norte)? Is there no place in our noble tongue for tech talk?
My little trip into Pinoy Gmail just reminded me of how we still haven’t kept up with the virtual trend. While much of the world has completed its online migration, BIR still doesn’t have a more appropriate system for taxing online netizens, schools are still teaching Word and Power Point and small companies still haven’t realized that the future of businesses is in virtual reality.
I can’t blame the structure of our language for being what it is and for not allowing some local versions of foreign words. But I can’t seem to reconcile myself with the idea that there are other aspects of online life that our social systems also do not accommodate.
Maybe I’m just really looking for a genuine Pinoy online experience that doesn’t feel like I left half of my body in some foreign land.