Rudeness on parade in Veep debates

(Letter to the Editor of the Cebu Sun-Star, published on Apr 15, 2016, in reply to Pachico A. Seares)

Regarding your comment on Mr. Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s opinion about speaking English, I tend to agree with him that if Filipinos want to seriously debate something, they should use English to make themselves clear. Unless, of course, they have a shaky grasp of that international language, in which case they have to stick to their particular dialects.

During the vice presidential debate, I found it strange and annoying that whenever one of those posing a question was a western CNN expert, the candidates wouldn’t reply directly to them in English or even thank them but would reply to the larger audience and answer in Tagalog. They didn’t seem to think they were being rude since they surely knew that the questioners didn’t know the native language.

The civil way would have been for the candidate being addressed to first thank the questioner and reply in English. That would not only show the audience at large that Flipinos can handle the international lingua franca well and that they can be polite when it’s called for.

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Even if they disagreed with the topic raised, they could do it in a sophisticated manner. Instead, those who replied—including the smart Mrs. Leni Robredo—didn’t seem to consider how rude it was not to acknowledge the foreigners.

It also showed that the candidates didn’t think their Pinoy listeners would understand them if they spoke in English, since making the voters understand things clearly was their primary goal. Others might consider my point a minor matter, but I think it was rather a pity that this was unnoticed.

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