Bloghopping afforded me a good laugh after reading 80s Fevah by one pretty girl. Hehe. I remember one time (at bandcamp!) when one of my friends came home from one of her “rounds” fuming mad. Hehehe.
You see, my friend’s a vet and she used to work for one of the biggest feed mill in Cebu as a technical sales agent. So in one of her visits to a prospect’s farm, she offered their products to the owner. The man said, “Unya na lang, day, kay wa pa man akong kabayo. [Later. Because my horse isn’t here yet]”
My friend, a Chavacana, speaks fluent Cebuano but there’s a certain limit to your grasp of the wit and funny juices of the language if you’re not a native speaker. Having come from a true-blue bisdak family, I was already laughing at this point.
So she went on with her story.
She wondered what the kabayo had to do with it when she was specifically offering hog feeds and meds. Thinking that the old man just misunderstood her, she went on to tell him the merits of their products and all that.
Then the man said, “Di gyud ko kadesidir dayon anang mga butanga day kay nangompra pa man gud akong kabayo. Tua pas merkado. [I really can’t decide on those things right now because my horse is still in the market, buying stuff.]” At this point, I could no longer contain my laughter.
All the more confused (yep, she can be really slow when it comes to Cebuano jokes, even the blatantly obvious ones, smart as she is), she asked, “Nangompra imong kabayo, Nong? Unsa man diay na imong kabayo? [Your horse went out to buy things, sir? What kind of horse do you have?]”
The man broke into what can only be described as a guffaw and told her straight in the face, “Ay, kabayo gud, akong asawa ba! Para unsa man diay nang asawa, di ba para kabay-an? [Oh, horse: my wife! What are wives for? They’re for “horseback riding”, aren’t they?]”
As I said in my comment in 80s Fevah, I know that not all old men from the glorious past are male chauvenists. They just have a way with words, Cebuano words. My lolo, when he was still alive, punctuated his impassioned exchanges with his friends outside their rice mill in Molave with phrases like otin sa kabayo (horse’s penis), bilat s’yang nanay (the other person’s mom’s vagina) and some Spanish curses. My father curses really bad too. One thing about Cebuanos in Mindanao though, when we curse, it’s because we’re really outraged at something. For those who are native Cebuanos–those who hail from and are in Cebu–they can mix cuss words with normal, toned-down conversations, the way Manileños say putcha or the original phrase itself, without meaning anything harsh, unless their tone changes.
This is one of the reasons why I love my language and why it has been elevated to the level of language instead of just that of a dialect by some linguists. And I’m proud that my father used to be active in LUDABI. I’m not really sure if the group still exists but I wish a not-so-elitist Cebuano-speaking group would surface. I mean, I know groups that read and write Cebuano poetry and host sessions that usually lead to serious gastronomic indulgence but sometimes, they tend to give me the impression of haughtiness–yeah, I’m a great Cebuano artist, now, who are you? I’m sure it’s just my impression but still…
Going back to the horse, my landlady’s almost90something dad came home from the US, and saw one of our former housemates chatting with a foreigner using the common computer in the main house’s living room. He then asked, “Unya, day, magminyo sad mo ana? Ganahan na ka mahimong kabayo? [So, are you getting married with that? You want to become a horse?]”
My landlady, who was just a few inches away, almost fell off her chair. Red-faced she said, Papa oi!
Albeit a joke, it will never be an acceptable term for wives nowadays. Yeah, the men then didn’t really mean anything seriously wrong with the connotation but it’s also sad. They only know of one position. LOL.
So that, my friends is my story of the horse. Bow.