“I don’t eat meat. I’m not a carnival.” –Filipina Supermodel Melanie Marquez
If you’re eating and almost snorted out food from your nose when you read that, chances are we could be really good friends. You’re also most likely Filipino who went to an all-girl Catholic high school with an English teacher so strict the mere mention of her name, you immediately stand or sit up straight from your habitual slouched posture.
Former Miss International Melanie Marquez is a self-confessed Madame Malapropism. She says the funniest and ridiculous statements with such earnestness and conviction. Things that make you go, “HUH?!?!” And then laugh out loud.
She was in tears during an interview about her brother who was accused of beating up his then girlfriend, a presidential daughter. “Don’t judge my brother. He’s not a book.”
See, the objective is there. She spontaneously experiments with the English language and transforms it into something complex, wrong yet wonderful for us to hear.
She has always been a punch line of every joke and a favorite water cooler topic every time she appears on live tv. But she embraces it. She does not apologize for her lack of linguistic knowledge. She talks and goes on with so much passion and in the process entertains a huge chunk of her audience anticipating the next ‘Melanism’ that will be quoted and beaten to death.
An unsolicited advice to a young upcoming actress Nikki Valdez: “Nikki, you’re so talented! You should move to the States! You will sell hotcakes!”
A complaint to a pushy reporter: “Ang dami mong tanong! (You have so many questions!) You’re so questionable!”
Response to her harsh critics: “I won’t stoop down to my level.”
At a talk show after her break-up with Derek Dee, Melanie was asked if she had some words for Derek's mother, whom she partly blamed for the separation: "Oo nga, pero i-English-in ko para maintindihan niya." (I will say it in English so she'll understand.) She looked into the camera and, with the peremptoriness of royalty, said, "And to you, Mrs Dee, I have 2 words for you: Ang labo mo!" (sorry, non-Tagalog speaking peeps, the humor here is untranslatable)
Non-Filipinos think it’s mean. That we are snobs for laughing at someone’s disability. Screw you. You don’t get it. We’re not laughing AT her. Nor are we laughing with her for in her world, she is profoundly articulate. It’s the absurdity wrapped in a tall beautiful woman with the most fabulous “long-legged” the world has ever seen.
Filipinos are mean to each other that way. But we all still end up laughing our heads off together in the end.
I end this post with Melanie's acceptance speech after winning the Best Actress Award one year. "Ito na po ang pinakamaligayang Pasko at Manigong Taon sa inyong lahat!"
(This is undoubtedly my merriest Christmas and a happy new year to you all!)
|Photo credit: Angel on Fire|