December 8, 2022

AMONG FOLKS THIS time, there is one beginning statement that starts a Conversation, and it is:
ARA! BOTOS MOWAN. (Transl: “EXPR! [it’s] Election time again.”). And the listener(s) usually say in-accord: owen nete! (“Yes indeed!”). And from the Speaker – or the Listener(s), come the ‘follow-up’ Question:
SIFA NGAI E manok jo? (“Who [IMPL may I ask] is your choice?”). n.b. literally manok means “fighting cock, or rooster”– but often used as a figurative term or reference for: “bet” or “choice”.
[FOR ‘LOCAL COLOUR’ clarity, let’s cite four native, original, village one-names, to wit: Separan, Palaran, Yapasan, Sengkitan – all great and popular one-names of Yore; now, as ‘given’ possible choices.
[IN THE SOUTHERN Cordi languages, as well as in others related to these, the suffix –an is a locative; or else a character-trait/quality-marker; thus the meaningful preference of the four one-names aforecited, viz.
[SEPARAN =INT literally: “where people do stop-overs” – maybe a resting kiosk or shed, a reputed residence, even a whole village;
[PALARAN =INT lit. “a place where known palm-readers (n.b. palad, “palm”) abound or come from”;
[YAPASAN = INT lit. “the allowed/accorded entry point of visitors, strangers, individuals, etc.; in an atoll or long, single stonewall fence of a dwelling, farm, or property”;
[SENGKITAN =INT lit. “the character trait/quality of being masengkhit, mostly humourous, [even] constantly joking”; also: “the mode, way, or style of ‘light conversation’ among people/individuals”].
NOW, LET’S MATCH these available, [themselves-] presenting ‘bets’, ‘choices’, manoks, with some leading Criteria among village folks – in ‘these Heights’. Said Criteria usually rank as follows: The Elder(s)’ choice or Manok; the village’s (or villagers’) choice or favourite; one’s own personal choice. Peering closely and clandestinely, we realize or discover that the claim by observers – outsiders, and insiders as well, that
THE ELDER(S)’ INFLUENCE or ‘power’ in the villages ‘has already waned’ is not that sweeping – much less, correct. Á contraire, it is yet much alive and practiced by many families/sub-Sitios (now called Puroks.).
REASON ENOUGH WHY – when you ask a villager who is he/she voting for? And, why? he’ll effortlessly reply:
A-A, SI SEPARAN. Tep sikato met kowan Ama~. (Transl: “EXPR. [It’s] Separan. Because he’s whom [village] Elder~ is saying/telling us”). Next,
THE VILLAGE (OR villagers’) favourite. Sometimes kinship (one whole Purok, or a string of Sitios may be relatives, etc.); sometimes ‘community allegiance’, and so on, play great roles in the choices. An example-response commonly you hear is:
“I’M NOT YET familiar on who are actually in the aspiring list. But I hear among my friends, relatives, and neighbours they’re going for: “Palaran or Yapasan. It is they, they constantly mention”, Sikara met e shaka ingara-ngaran! Finally,
ONE’S PERSONAL CHOICE. Like in many other Contemporary villages, you’ll always find among informants, the no-nonsense, frank-spoken, and ‘independent’ thinkers or voters – not just-a-few of them. They’ll bow to no ‘influence’ or persuasion that may come their way. From them, you can hear a response like:
AJJO, SI SENGKITAN emmo. Oneyto sottan, shakita ha pangi-ngi shi naikhawa ni problema! (Transl: “EXPR maybe [It’ll be] Sengkitan. He’s [to me] preferable, he/she makes us laugh in the midst of problems!”). Sikato ennak mango ni manok ko! (Lit: “He/she is my CONC choice!”). Ayuhh nete!