Monday, January 7, 2013

Cowboy or Koboy?

The Philippines is the lone Americanized country in Southeast Asia. America brought us democracy, our educational system, Coca Cola, dreams of white Christmas, Spam, the English language. Certain American concepts also found their way into the culture and language. Colgate is the generic word for toothpaste. Kodakan was the verb for taking pictures. Jeepney is a form of public transportation born from refurbished US army Jeeps.

Koboy is an interesting construct that has been repurposed within the Philippine culture. Borrowed from the idea of the cowboy, Koboy takes the rugged swagger and unrefined essence and pushes it further to the edge. At least that's how I understood it. The recent conversations about gun control and gun rights have left this accidental American at a loss for words.

I cannot imagine any scenario wherein the Filipino cowboys or koboys would ever put guns in children's classrooms. It seems the radical right are reclaiming koboy and redrawing the line. Now the new edge envisions a world where children are in the hands of armed grown ups.

You can keep this one, Joe. We won't be infusing this thinking into the emerging Filipino way.

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