Non-Confrontational Confrontations

Filipinos are uncomfortable with confrontations. That's why we use these techniques.

Dedma (from "dead malice" or the Tagalog "patay malisya") - You act as if you did not perceive any malice from the words or actions of someone else, so you simply do not react. You keep quiet and go about life as if nothing ever happened. When close friends ask you about it, you just shrug as if you don't know what they're talking about.

But your eyes glimmer and Filipinos around you know you are just making "dedma."

Parinig - You throw words into the air, within earshot of the person you dislike, or within hearing distance of your friends who support you. You'd rather not say it to the face of your object of ire, but neither do you want to keep silent or "make dedma."

For example, you discover that someone ate all your favorite cookies. You look around the table and see your nemesis wiping away some cookie crumbs from around her mouth. Instead of directly asking her if she finished your cookies, you raise your eyebrows, tilt your forehead towards the ceiling, and declaim to the air above your heads: "I wonder which glutton inconsiderately wolfed down all my cookies?"

People around the table clearly know who you're talking about, and even if you did not directly attack your cookie-philic table mate, people either slowly look at the culprit or look at everyone else except Miss Cookie Monster.

Filipinos have managed to bring the art of the "Parinig" into the internet. Somehow, ranting on your blog or exchanging catty comments in other blogs reeks of too much confrontation. It's too Western. It's not Pinoy. So you "make parinig."

On the internet, you "make pa-Tweet-nig."

Pa-Tweet-nig: Using Twitter.com to Tweet or post "blind item" messages about your online foes. It's not directly confrontational, doesn't muddle up your blog, doesn't give link juice to your enemies, and yet it gives you the satisfaction of whacking someone in front of your friends and cyber-acquaintances who "follow" you in Twitter.

Does that make the Twitterer a coward? To the untrained eye, the Twitterer will look like a beaten, down-and-out, sufficiently whipped, trying hard, second-rate, discredited coward who's too scared to post in blogs or comments. But to the initiated, the parinig or pa-Tweet-nig is a juicy attack that is worth having in your online publishing arsenal.

Your adversary cannot directly respond to your pa-tweet-nig because that will make her appear defensive and paranoid. Afterall, no names were mentioned, right? And one can always use the line: "Why do you feel alluded to?"

That's the art of non-confrontational confrontations.

Thank goodness for moralistic and self-righteous blogger bullies (SBBs) who set off a chain of events that sometimes move some people to share a bit of Philippine culture online. Ah, yes. The web is slowly starting to feel more and more Pinoy. :-)

[ First posted on 08/15/2007 by Manuel Viloria ]



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