Lessons from Venus Raj’s “Major, Major” Mistake

One of the hotly commented posts in the YouTube is 1969 Ms. Universe  Gloria Diaz’s comment (link here or watch the post below) in relation to Venus Raj’s response on the Q & A portion of the 2010 Ms. Universe pageant. Diaz is proposing that maybe it is high time that we employ interpreters for our candidates in Ms. Universe pageants as there are persons who can hardly speak English so they should be allowed to answer in their native tongue.

Diaz’s proposal has a point. Dakul an nagsasabi na nagluluwas na patal si Venus Raj dahil dai niya na ngani nasimbag su hapot saiya, wrong grammar pa. Mas maraot pa kaiyan, dakul an nagsasabi na hambugon asin utikon si Raj dahil imposible na wara siyang nagibong sala digdi sa kinaban maging “minor, minor” mistake man iyan. Sabi ngani kan sarong international TV news anchor, warang tawo na daing nagibong sala.

But we cannot really say that Raj is stupid. Kung sasabihon ta iyan, dakul na man an madadamay lalo na an mga eskuwelahan na nagtao saiya ki dakulang honra, an mga pulitiko na nagtabang saiya para ma-retain an korona, asin an Bb. Pilipinas organizers na nagpadara saiya sa Ms. Universe bilang kandidata. It could be that she is also intelligent only that she can’t express herself in English.

Which brings us to the point: That there is nothing wrong speaking in the local tongue. Moreso, we should consider using the local tongue as the primary medium of instruction in our schools. Otherwise, totally abolish the local tongues and teach everyone English (or the language officially desired by the Philippines) from the very moment he/she is born. The rationale for this is clear: Not to crowd too much information on an individual but to help him or her develop his logic or information processing skills and communicate the same in a language he/she is comfortable with — basically, the mother tongue.

Earlier, Biklish noted that in Kalinga, the Municipality of Lubuagan tested the idea of teaching their students in the lingua franca. The result: “when students learn to read and write in their mother tongue before learning to read and write in a second or third language, they progress more quickly both in literacy skills and in second language acquisition.”

The Lubuagan experiment was also validated in Valenzuela City just lately when fourth graders, who were given a Math quiz in Filipino, scored higher marks compared with the sixth graders who took the same quiz in English (source here).  Hence, assuming that Venus Raj is intelligent, she could have fared better when she expressed herself in her lingua franca. At any rate, the use of interpreters is not prohibited. Miss Mexico, the crowned Miss Universe 2010, in fact, used an interpreter to answer a question that requires a bit of intellectual processing compared with Raj’s question which is very personal and only requires some sort of a “memory recall”.

Gloria Diaz’s interview

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