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Anitch itich? Bekimon, or the secret code of gays

If you don’t understand the phrase “pasok sa banga" (rough English translation: fits inside the jar), maybe you are not gay or a fag hag (a woman who likes to act gay or hang out with screaming gays). If you are gay, maybe you’re not gay enough. “Pasok sa Banga (Wika ng mga Bakla)" by Prof. Jesus Federico Fernandez, former chair of the Department of Linguistics of the University of the Philippines, was one of the lectures presented at the Sawikaan 2010 in UP Diliman last July 29-30. “Pasok sa banga" means “swak," or something that’s in or acceptable. For example, when someone says your idea is “pasok sa banga," it mean your idea is correct or appropriate to the topic under consideration. Thanks to Prof. Fernandez, a new phrase was added to my vocabulary that day. That’s “bekimon" for you. Bekimon comes from two words: “becky or beki," gay speak for “bakla" or young gays, and “jejemon," which refers to the strange text and Internet language that has gained widespread usage among netizens and mobile phone users in the Philippines. It is the new term for gay lingo or gay speak, the beautiful and confusing (to those who are uninitiated) and very gay (in the old sense of the word) languages of the bakla, the agí, and the bayot of this fabulous, fabulous Philippine archipelago.

In his lecture, Prof. Fernandez discussed the nine ways of forming bekimon words. Yes, nine. As in “a gay cat has nine lives," like so:
  1. “Paglalapi" or using suffixes that do not have a grammatical function. One example is the word “ano," which is transformed into “anek" and “anekwabum." In the title of this piece, “ano ito" mutated into “anitch ititch."
  2. “Pagpalit ng tunog" or changing the sound of words. Thus, the word “asawa" becomes “jowa," “kyowa," and “nyowa." Or “nakakaloka" becomes “nakakalerki."
  3. Using acronyms. “GL" stands for “ganda lang," which means you got something for free because of your beauty or looks. Another example is “OPM" for “oh promise me," which refers to a white lie or a promise that is not meant to be fulfilled.
  4. “Pag-uulit ng salita o bahagi ng salita" or repetition of the word or part of the word. Hence, “wit" or “wititit" is bekimon for “hindi" or no. “Chika," which refers to shallow conversation, becomes “chika-chika."
  5. "Pagkakaltas" or shortening a word or a phrase. For example, “ang datung" or “money" becomes “anda." Smoking cigarettes is shortened from “sunog baga" to “suba." And if somebody tells you “ma at pa," don’t mistake the phrase for someone’s parents; it means “malay ko at pakialam ko" (I don’t know and I don’t care).
  6. “Katunog" or sameness of sound. Thus, “noselift" means “alam" because “nose" sounds like “knows," as in “noselift ko ang sagot sa exam."
  7. Using the names of famous persons and places. If you don’t know yet, “Carmi Martin" means karma, “Rita Avila" signifies that someone is irita, "Luz Valdez" refers to a loser and “Wynona Ryder" a winner, and finally, “Baliwag, Bulacan" means baliw or crazy. (Note: in the #3 example above, the same phrase is also shortened to Oprah)
  8. “Paghihiram" or borrowing from foreign or local languages. The English word “fly" for instance, means the speaker is leaving while “warla or warlalu" stems from the word “war." The Hiligaynon word “daku," meaning big, means the same thing in bekimon vocabulary. Because there are many Filipino transsexuals working in Japan, several Nihonggo words have also entered the bekimon vocabulary including “otoko" for man, “okama" for gay, and “watashi" for “me."
  9. “Pagbabago ng kahulugan ng mga salitang hiniram" or changing the meaning of borrowed words. The word “award," for example, takes on a negative connotation such as committing a mistake or getting scolded instead of its original meaning of being honored or getting singular distinction for doing something good. Example: “Award ako sa tatay ko dahil alas-tres ng madaling araw na akong nakauwi (I was scolded by my father because I came home at three in the morning).
According to Prof. Fernandez, bekimon is a process of coding the gay experience: “Itinatago ang tunay na anyo ng salita upang hindi maintindihan." For him, bekimon is a subversion of the homophobic society, especially the Catholic church. He added that gayspeak gives people the freedom to live out the gay experience, or “instrumento ng mga bakla sa pakikitunggali sa mapang-aping lipunan." Indeed, bekimon provides a space for gays to talk about their lives without being understood by heterosexuals around them, many of whom are homophobic. Because of this, bekimon is quick to change or mutate. The lecture ended with a video presentation of a gay father scolding his son in bekimon for not adding “her" as a friend on Facebook. It was hilarious especially when the video was shown again, this time with Filipino subtitles. During the open forum someone asked whether it is possible, or if there is a plan, to make a bekimon dictionary. Prof. Fernandez laughed, as if to say, “yes, you can but you may not." However, Prof. Jovy Peregrino, the director of UP’s Sentro ng Wikang Filipino, was serious: “We need to do it, for this will be very useful to the scholars in the future." Prof. Fernandez did not agree with the idea. “You should not make a dictionary of gay words because it will defy the purpose of gayspeak—that is to use a language like a secret code," he said, smiling sweetly. – YA, GMANews.TV