Translating a president

duterte

Photo source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/776695/stop-the-hoaxes-duterte-dared

The first 100 days of President Du30 were full of statements and statements to clarify the statement. He fired off declarations laced with curses and cuss words to President Obama, the US, UN, EU and the Pope, because of their comments about violations of human rights resulting from his flagship program – drug war. Many people cringed as they hear their president spew mouthfuls of hard-to-eat words, oblivious of the whole world listening to him. His apologists were fast to give the ‘real meaning’ of the presidential statements as if it were coming from the Martians.

It is not a problem of regional dialect because the president is a lawyer, a city mayor and a congressman, among other government positions, which means he can read and write English. I think the problem can be traced more with the law school. Most law schools are not in the business of promoting good English, and lawyers are good at obfuscation and not clarification. Therefore the president is only being true to himself as a lawyer.

So statements have to be translated. The president himself is translating and contradicting himself and the statements are sometimes hyperbole, jokes and analogy. Some of my favorites are:

When he said he will kill drug lords, he means they will be given immunity to testify in the Senate against his nemesis D5;

When he said he would jet ski to Panatag (Scarborough Shoal) to insist Philippine sovereignty, it means flying with an entourage of almost a thousand  to kowtow to Beijing;

And when he said independent foreign policy, he means separating from US and joining China and Russia ‘against the world.’

Erap had his Eraptions (book of Erap jokes). In the future we may see a dictionary or a thesaurus of Du30 terms. Another example of Filipino ingenuity and creativity!

 

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