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By Sandy Gil

Sunday Dunes

Saturday, June 7, 2014

NONCHALANT. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, nonchalant is an adjective that finds its etymology in the opposite of the French verb chaloir which means to show warmth and concern. As the opposite therefore, nonchalant means giving an effect of unconcern or indifference. Synonyms of nonchalant include cool, collected, composed, imperturbable, unflappable, unruffled. In educated Filipino, it can be roughly translated as walangpansin. On the other hand, the colloquial Pinoylinggo equivalent, to which the gay community must be given credit, seems to be a more appropriate translation: deadma.


As in most foreign words adopted by Filipinos, whether noun, adjective, adverbs and so on, we have this amusing knack of transforming these words into action words, making them verbs. For instance, we have changed the adjective cute into the verb magpa-cute. The noun internet has been transformed into mag-internet. In fact, it can even be stretched into mag-internet cafe. Even product brands can be made into verbs by Filipinos, such as mag-Coke or mag-Jollibee and so on.


You get the point - which means deadma as an adjective can be converted into a verb too, as in i-deadma. the same manner, nonchalant has also become a verb among English-speaking Filipino academicians and scholars - as in Don't bother with that theory; just nonchalant it.


Recently, I have tried to nonchalant a lot of things occurring in my life. Sometimes, I succeed, but more often than not, I miserably fail.

During the last two weeks' horrid, chaotic and exasperating repair and re-painting of my home, for which I tried very hard to be mentally, spiritually and physically prepared, I could not nonchalant my miserable living conditions. With most of my material belongings packed in boxes, I had access to only three price possessions: a basket that contained all the stuff I need to take a shower, a second basket that held my coffee brewer implements, and a third basket that contained all the stuff needed to clean my coffee brewer implements. Unlike me, the three baskets seemed to be taking everything in stride, nonchalanting the fact that they were being covered and uncovered, rotated, brought up and down the stairs for two whole weeks!


Somewhere in between these past two traumatic weeks, the company I work for decided to hold a two-day overnight mandatory seminar. The key word here is mandatory, which finds its roots in the noun mandate, meaning an authoritative command. How I wished to gain the strength (temerity?) to nonchalant this obligation! Again, I failed. I did attend, but I did arm myself with the plan to nonchalant whatever discussions ensued during the seminar. Sigh. That too did not work.


Well, I had hoped that in the least, this overnight seminar would provide me the much-needed respite from my miserable living conditions at home. I need only to pack my basket that contained stuff for bathing. And as luck would have it, the resort we were booked in served only instant coffee. Sigh. I should have packed my second basket of brewed coffee implements.


Safe from from the fumes of primer paints, sandpaper dust and other repairs - which definitely could not be nonchalanted - I was now challenged with nonchalanting an extremely narrow resort bathroom which contained two shower cubicles (with heater controls about 9 feet high) and another two toilet cubicles, separated from each other by frosted walls which, when wet, become clear glass. Oh what fun! And as if that were not enough, while taking a shower in any one of the two shower cubicles, a wading pool is magically created along the narrowerexterior bathroom corridor. Ordinarily, I would have been able to nonchalant all these...


Fortunately, my living conditions are now back to normal. And the past two weeks have taught me a lot about myself and my (in)competency of nonchalanting and deadma-ing. Lesson learned: when I think (imagine?) my home is deteriorating, please remind me that I MUST NONCHALANT IT!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 08, 2014.


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