Re-working the very serious salawikain (Filipino for proverbs) is indeed a cheeky thing to do, which my Filipino teacher in high school woudn’t probably be happy about. Such proverbs were meant to provide wisdom while one traversed the every-changing pathways in life but, as I learnt during one angkot ride home from the gym, things have changed. The aphorisms have taken on very funny twists!
“Remember the salawikain ‘ang hindi marunong tumingin sa nakaraan ay walang patutunguan’?”* asked my friend to which I nodded.
“It’s now ‘ang hindi marunong tumingin sa nakaraan ay may stiff neck!” she said, sending us in riotous laughter.
My favourite is the one using the blanket as a metaphor for frugality in times of financial difficulties. The old aphorism went something like this: “Kung maiksi ang kumot matuto kang mamaluktot”. The reworked version is “Kung maiksi ang kumot, huwag mong gamitin dahil sa baby yon.” Our boisterous laughter had every passenger in the angkot looking at us in either disdain or consternation or both.
Another that had me laughing was not an aphorism, but a phrase. Socially aware had a more political connotation in the ‘60s and was closely associated with political activists and student activists from University of the Philippines, the state university. Its deeper meaning has crumbled, giving way to the petty meaning of being in the know of what’s going on in the world of show business and outside of it. Serious political theories (think Marxism) aren’t what intelligence is made of nowadays but the scuttlebutt of who’s dating who or vice-versa and the latest shoes and bags from Christian Louboutin.