Growing Up Asian in Another Land

I grew up Asian and will die Asian (there’s no “probably” there, duh.) Heck, I’ve never been outside of this part of the planet. So it’s interesting to find out how much Filipinos who grew up or were born in other countries have learned and experienced the Filipino ways.  Not just Filipinos, but ASIANS.

I’m a full-Filipino by blood and nationality, so I am not exactly an authority in this area. But I think DOMICS and JO KOY are. Both are funny and they paint a picture of what it’s really like growing up Asian abroad.

(WARNING, though: There are some strong language involved in some of these videos)

Domics, whose real name is Dominic Panganiban, is a YouTuber-animator whose family immigrated to Canada years ago. In some of his drawings, he illustrated his experiences as an immigrant kid adjusting to other places.

This is a nice podcast he did with his fellow Asian friends (they aren’t necessarily all Pinoys…The girl is Chinese and at least one of the other guys is Korean). They shared what their elders are like, which sometimes confuse them. Dominic made it more entertaining by drawing stuff.

We Pinoys can definitely relate especially with Domics. For one thing, our father used to have my sister and I pull out white hair from his head and we were promised to be paid. And I certainly have a Pinoy nose, although no one pinched it (except myself when I tried to make it more “matangos” or pointy).  I do actually appreciate my little nose now.

Here’s another from Domics that is about the Filipino last names. His in particular.

The Pinoy height…The struggle can be very real.

Now, Joseph Glenn Herbert, much more popularly known as Jo Koy, is a half-American Pinoy who grew up in the States. He is now a popular stand-up comedian known for his stories about growing up with a Filipino mom (truthful but hilarious!) and raising his kid. He grew up abroad, but Pinoys can very much relate to his kind of self-deprecating brand of stories.

He was referring to the famous mostly-Filipino Jabbawockeez.

Now, as a song from musical AVENUE Q says, “Everybody’s a little bit racist”. This reminds me of that.

The “Bicks Baporub” killed me, HA HA HAAA!!! We really do use Vicks!

 

Hope you watched them all and enjoyed. Most importantly, I hope you learned new things about us 😉

As the Pinoys Do #WhatsupWednesday

The Philippines is actually also known (if not more known) for its beautiful natural resources, particularly the 7,100-plus islands. It’s not all about Philippine politics, calamities, and tragedies. Oh, but many do know that already.

I’m not going to talk about islands for now, however. I just thought that would get your attention, ha ha. Rather, I’d like to share stuff regarding the country’s other best-known assets–the people. In fact, I’ve talked about it in The Great Philippine Experience:

“…many tourists seem to come back again and again…When it comes to the Philippines, it is not merely the sceneries and the wonders that attract tourists. More than these, it is the people and their rich culture that makes the Philippines a much-loved travel destination.”

Even Nuseir Yassin, a.k.a. Nas gave big credit to the Filipino people in  8 Days in the Philippines. (See The PH)

But why just take our word for it? The better idea is to take these foreign missionaries’ words for it! They have stayed in the country for a long enough time to appreciate its people. Some have even enjoyed a certain level of fame, having somewhat become celebrities, for instance, the boys of the Hey Joe Show, “a multi-platform social media group dedicated to celebrating and exposing Filipino culture to a global audience”. They can tell you what to expect when you’re in the Philippines.

FILIPINO CULTURE

It’s various interview clips, so it’s long, but you can always skip some of them. Personally, listening to them made me realize more things and made me proud to be Filipino, despite all the negatives. I was smiling almost from start to end, even laughing sometimes. First guy here is Connor Peck from the show I mentioned.

FUNNY THINGS FILIPINOS DO (by Sumner Mahaffey of the Hey Joe Show, and he also joined I Love OPM, singing competition for 100% non-Filipinos singing local songs)

Some of the things Sumner says here are not mentioned in the previous video.

There are more things to explain how the Filipino is. Will share more in future posts.

Meanwhile, just like in any other country, one of the most important things when you visit is to learn the language. It is very important, though often neglected. But if you’re staying for a long while, it is advised that you learn the language. Speak, as the Pinoys do.

This is what Fil-American Wil Dasovich did when he came to stay in his mother’s native country. Wil is a popular vlogger (or YouTuber, if you may) known for talking a lot in the Filipino dialect called Tagalog.

But what sticks to most Pinoys’ minds is not only his American accent, but his weird Tagalog combos–he just simultaneously speaks in deep Tagalog, Taglish (Tagalog-English), sometimes hippie lingo, often beki (gay) speak without batting an eyelash. He explains why in the video below (I contributed the translation of the Filipino words, so from 0:09, those words were from me, simply enable captions). Nevertheless, I still encourage any foreigner or half-foreigner who wants to stay here for years to do what Wil did.

 

Filipino 101: The F Words

Back in my Multiply days, I started a series that I called Filipino 101. It was short-lived because, for some reason, I got side-tracked. It was fun, though, and I think it is high-time I restart that.

In How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way, I touched on Philippine history. There, I mentioned that for nearly 400 years, we were colonized by Spain. I did not mention much about language, however. But if you have ever heard a conversation or read exchanges between Filipinos, you’d probably be thinking, “Wait a minute. Was that Spanish?” Chances are, you’re right.

Becoming (Sort of) Spanish

Hard as they could, the Spaniards denied teaching their language to the Filipinos. But 400 hundred years is quite a long time to keep everything exclusively. The indios who were more well-to-do were able to afford an education denied to the lower class. That was how they learned Spanish or Español/Kastila.

Meanwhile, many Spanish terms and phrases used for everyday-things became normal everyday-terms, like the following:

Cómo estás? – “How are you?”, but we say “Kumusta?/Kamusta?” or “Kumusta ka?”

mesa/la mesa – table

cubiertos – utensils (“kubyertos”)

ventana – window (“bintana”)

silla – chair (“silya”); the local word is “upuan” or seat since “upo” means sit, so it’s a thing to sit on

pero – but

escuela or escuelas – school (“eskwela” or “eskwelahan”); the local word is “paaralan”, from the root word “aral” or study, so it’s a place for studying

para – for or to be able to (“para”/“para sa”); the local word is “upang”, but hardly anyone uses that in normal conversations

compadre – usually used for a male friend or companion (“kumpadre”/“kumpare”), especially when one is godfather to another man’s child, making them “co-fathers”

“Pare” is the most commonly used version to refer to or call a male friend, although sometimes, that can be used also to address a male stranger in a friendly manner (ex. Pare, could you tell me where the mall is at? I’m new to this place.”), or in a sarcastic/annoyed tone (ex. “Pare, are you kidding me?”)

Comare/comadre  or “kumare” is the female version BUT, online dictionaries say it is either Italian or Portuguese

camiseta – shirt (“kamiseta”), but in the Philippines, it’s usually a sleeveless and collarless shirt worn especially if it’s hot

Those are just some examples of Kastila words we have come to consider as Filipino ones. In fact, it has been so long that many of us don’t know or realize they are not ours. That explains, though, why many of us are able to pronounce Spanish well (at least those who do mind how to say it). We are used to the sounds. In some parts of the country, they can even speak the language well enough.

Meanwhile, when the parents of today’s middle-aged went to school, long after the Spaniards were gone, learning Spanish was a requirement. It isn’t now, that is why Filipinos can’t normally converse in that language.

Nosebleed because of Spokening Dollars

If you hear “spokening dollars” anywhere here, it refers to any English speaker. Yes, we love to coin amusing words and phrases like that. Speak in direct English and they may jokingly exclaim, “Nosebleed!” That means, “Oh my goodness! I can’t understand you. You’re making my nose bleed!” Sometimes, it’s a pure joke, sometimes, it’s really their way of letting you know they can’t understand you.

Today, English is the requirement in school and remains our second language. We learned this from the Americans after they helped drive away the Japanese during World War II. That is why many who grew up until the ’90s are good in American English. What happened to the next generations is another story.

Similar to the Spanish language, we have taken to using many English terms. We count in English, sometimes curse in English (the F- and S-bombs, especially the latter), even address the Christian god in English (“Lord”) when we pray.

Here are several English words we use:

Hello — “Hi” is common enough, but is less used

Good morning/afternoon — “Good evening” is known, but also less used; “Good day” is hardly used except by English speakers

Okay

Sorry

Of course!

Please

appear – It doesn’t mean what you think. Here, when someone says “Apir!”, you high-five (don’t ask me why)

chocolate

toothbrush, toothpaste

refrigerator

Many words sound too old-fashioned that we prefer the foreign ones, or they have no direct translations at all, like “refrigerator”.

In our ancient alphabet called baybayin, which we now try to revive, there are no characters that represent the following: C, F, J, Q, V, X and Z. Therefore, characters that sound the nearest to them are used when writing, though it depends on the words being written. In addition, we have the character “Ng”.

Our long-accepted modern-day alphabet does not have those, too. We used to call our ABC the ABaKaDa. (If you’ll play that vid above, you’ll hear how we read and pronounce words, especially “Ng”, which always baffles foreigners). Around two decades ago, they created the new Filipino alphabet and incorporated the English letters.

For me, personally, I thought that was stupid. Why? Because they were trying to fix something that was not broken. They said it’s because we now use words that make use of the English letters. But that’s because they’re just English words we’ve come to accept, and silly coined words that either do not mean anything or are bastardized versions of otherwise legit terms. I find it as some kind of dumbing down the people more. We used to be Pilipinos and our language, Pilipino, but somebody got the brilliant idea to use F instead.

That said,…

The ABaKaDa: A, B, K, D, E, G, H, I, L, M, N, Ng, O, P, R, S, T, U, W, Y

Ang Makabagong Alpabeto (The New Alphabet): A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, Ṅ, Ng, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

Da Ep, Fee, Bee en Bee

When it comes to the Filipino’s English accent, diction and pronunciation, that’s where you’ll most probably have a problem. So it’s better to know now.

Many of us understand very simple English. Some speak it very well. Some write it well but are too shy to converse with it. And there are those, shy or not, who have the Ep and Fee Syndrome–you tend to unintentionally get your Fs and Ps mixed up. (“It’s a nown pact dat feefol will olways rimember.”)  And many of us do not see the difference between the B and the V when we speak. (“Da bidyo is berry good, Beronica.”)

I’ll let Pinoy Boy Mikey Bustos show you how it’s “done” with the very first viral video that made him famous to Filipinos.

Alright, I’ve shared a lot already. Next time I do Filipino 101, expect some basic vocabulary lessons. Meanwhile, I leave you with this other vid which is funny, but very true of Filipino parents 🙂

Hanggang sa muli!!! (Until then!!!)

The PH #WhatsupWednesday

When I started my whole blogging journey from years ago, to promote the country–my country–had been one of my goals. Well, promote in my own way. I wanted people of other nationalities to see Filipinos in a positive light, not just always in the negative:

  • Yes, we are third-world, but we do have well-educated “Pinoys” (Filipinos).
  • No, we’re not terrorists just because we’re Pinoys, and what a few of us do, they do not necessarily define the Filipino.
  • Yes, we are Asians, but we’re not all Chinese, although there are “Chinoys” (Filipino-Chinese).
  • Yes, traffic does suck big time in the metro. (Sure, that’s not positive, but you can either choose to be positive or suffer a heart attack getting mad at traffic, right?)

Etcetera…

But it was a more personal blog, too, and I ended up pouring my heart out sometimes and showing too much of my opinionated side. Both were not really bad, plus such fell under my rights as a blogger and an individual, except I was not able to do more.

Now that I’m in WordPress, it has rekindled this urge to let others know what Pinoys are about. I have been slowly trying to do that, except my efforts are still lacking, IMO. So I am to amp the effort some more. And while I aim to promote the Philippines, I will not be so pretentious as to deny anything negative that is going to be brought up. I’d rather explain it clearly than lie or avoid any negative questions that may arise. I’d rather you hear the truth from me.

So in connection with this, I am going to post more Pinoy-related stuff here and all links can be found on my soon-to-be-added page called PH Box. I have already posted a few Pinoy-related stuff before (such as my recent explanation on why Pinoys are said to be good singers, in connection to David DiMuzio‘s vlog post) so the links to them will be there, too. There’ll be articles and blogs. I will be sharing videos, too, that I can find.

Vlogs from popular vloggers like Mikey Bustos (Pinoy) of PinoyBoy Channel and his #MabuhaySquad, Wil Dasovich (half-Pinoy) and the rest of the #VlogSquad, and Kyle “Kulas” Jennermann (Honorary Pinoy) of Becoming Filipino channel, and some others will be shared from time to time. Feel free to check out their vlogs now, if you want.

So for “opening salvo”, I am sharing this viral video called 8 Days in the Philippines. This is by Nuseir Yassin, a.k.a. Nas,  known for the videos he creates for Nas Daily, particularly his travel vlogs. Eight minutes seem long, but I promise you, you won’t regret watching it. It shows some of the good in this country, as well as some of the bad.

 

Now, just to let you know more of my people, here’s a kind of intro from comedian-vlogger (not to mention, Canadian Idol alumnus) Mikey Bustos, known for his parodies and wonderful efforts to show the Filipinos to the world. He does a Moana parody, so check it out! 😉

Any questions about the stuff you’ve seen here, like do we really all speak English? Just ask. I will answer honestly 🙂

Oh, and (not) sorry for the many links because we do have to give credit to people, correct? 😉

My Happy List

As promised, I am listing my Not-Really-Bucket List. Will add more pics and links soon. Remember, crossed out and in red means done. Here we go…

MY HAPPY LIST

1. Smile at people all day and see what happens.

I was 13. Heard a smile could make others smile, too, so I experimented with trying to spread joy. It was going well until a lady looked at me like I was crazy…

2. Do something really amazing and meaningful.

3. Ride the roller-coaster.

4. Try a scary sport or adventure.

5. Learn to swim.

6. Learn a third language fluently.

I’m partial to Spanish, which won’t be so hard to learn given our country’s history, plus I can find people to converse with. Just partial, not sure. We’ll see…

7. Learn Baybayin.

baybayin-example

This is just to show my handwriting. Baybayin/alibata should be written vertically actually

Baybayin is the ancient script of our ancestors. Why it’s more commonly called as alibata is a bit of an issue, but that’s become the better-known, more commonly used term. We forgot about it while under the rule of Spain. We just began re-learning it in the recent decades, but people have just really started appreciating it this past decade (sadly, mainly because they think its characters look cool when used in visual arts).

I don’t claim to be an expert in it as I’m not that quick yet in reading words in baybayin/alibata. I do claim to be a baybayin/alibata advocate, though. I think we should start really including it in the curriculum instead of simply teaching it under the Filipino subject in passing. Anyway, I tend to follow the Spanish-influenced baybayin/alibata because the use of the cross makes reading words easier, for me, at least.

Related post: How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

8. Learn a martial art.

learn-muay-thai

Learned the martial art Muay Thai. Forgive the sort of leggings here. MT shorts are too short for better movement and I couldn’t find my cycling shorts that time

 

9. Learn to paint on canvass.

10. Travel around the Philippines.

11. Visit Disneyland with my family

Japan, Hong Kong or the US, whichever opportunity presents itself.

12. Travel around Europe.

13. Visit New Zealand.

14. Visit The Louvre Museum.

15. Experience the West End.

16. Experience Broadway. I literally mean being in New York watching shows.

17. See ‘WICKED The Musical’ live.

18. See ‘CATS The Musical’ live.

musical playbills

I was lucky to have watched both CATS and WICKED (and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) with the help of my dearest mother and of one of my friends…Thank you!!!!

19. See ‘Les Miserables’ live.

20. See ‘Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ (JATD) live.

21. Act in a real stage play/musical (school skits do not count).

That almost came true. I was to be 1/3 of The Narrator in JATD. There’s only 1 Narrator but the Director wanted three for various reasons I won’t enumerate…*sigh* I’m not giving up yet, though. Who knows?

22. Go to the Netherlands, watch Veerle Casteleyn perform live onstage, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her.

23. Watch a Lea Salonga stage musical, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her.

How I got the twofie deserves another post. I was not able to get Lea‘s autograph, but this is okay already, right? The main purpose was to meet and talk to her face to face 🙂 Meanwhile, I have seen her perform live onstage in some of her musicals.

lea-salonga-twofie

Miss Lea and I. Standing beside her only emphasized my plainness, but who cared???

IMG_20160605_141829

I never heard about BABY The Musical till then, but I loved it!

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*...See this faded ticket

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*…See this faded ticket

24. Attend a live music concert that I paid for.

lea-salonga-concert

This concert, I enjoyed. Isn’t it obvious who I’m a fan of???

Back in college, I was able to attend three live concerts, all for free. One was because I interviewed a band for the school paper. The other two were care of the college radio station I worked for. I wasn’t even really a fan yet of all three. I watched because I got in for free. So I decided I wanted to be able to attend a concert I was really interested in and I would pay for my ticket. I did. Watched Mariah Carey’s live Manila concert. It wasn’t so nice an experience, actually. We were standing far from the stage and I think there were rain showers as well. Somebody was taking pictures and his/her phone got snatched from his/her hand.

25. Sing solo on stage in front of everyone.

I’ve got stage fright. Easier to conquer if with others, not so alone. I wasn’t even too crazy about the idea, but one of my best friends asked me to sing a song at her wedding. I thought better that than be a bridesmaid. I would have hated all the preparations. Also, I wanted to be able to say I did that even just once in my life. Turned out I’d do it several times, but not without me trembling inside everytime. At an office Christmas party, I actually messed everything up! Yikes! Epic fail! *hides* (No pics to show…thank goodness!)

26. Win an award or medal.

They’re not like some big awards or anything, but I guess I earned them. I did not know how I could get any, but I ended up getting some anyway. *Speech alert!* “I would like to thank the school paper and the radio station for those awards….” If they’d be interested to know, yes, I still have those certificates. They’re on my blogfolio’s Certifications & Awards page, filed under “PEER AWARDS/RECOGNITION”.

I did win with my village friends (twice, I think) when we played volleyball in the local summer league when I was a teener. Then when I was already working, I also won second place (or was it third?) with the School Administration Team (playing volleyball also) when the tertiary school we worked for let us join the Intramurals.

I played for the Administration team during the Intramurals back when I worked for a tertiary school. I’m third from right here. At my left (facing camera) is/was the Girl with the Smiley Heart

27. Choreograph a dance number.

Did that thrice in college for three different groups on different occasions. Won for me a Star of D’ Night Award, too, among other things 😉

28. Learn to play a musical instrument,

I think these count even though it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how they work

jaw-harp

The kubing (jaw harp)

bamboo-buzzer

The bungkaka (bamboo buzzer)

29. Be in a respectable indie film playing a bit role.

30. Start a good family business.

31. Build a reading and hobby room.

32. Buy a vehicle for the family.

33. Live in a beautiful house where it’s peaceful with our family.

34. Enjoy our future grandkids.

35. Get a master’s degree.

36. Become a teacher.

home-made-tests

These are just some of the tests I gave the little boy

I somehow have some illusions of becoming a teacher. My kids are here, though, so I think I can cross this out. I’m a proud teacher, too — our incoming first-grader (as of this writing) actually passed his exam with flying colors! Someday, I might teach students in a real school environment, maybe about writing…

37. Become a radio DJ.

I always wanted to be one. Then when I was 13, one of my friends became one of what were called as Junior DJs and I would tune in to the city’s local station so I could listen to her and several other kids. Not without envy even though I knew that envy wasn’t good. The opportunity to become an actual DJ knocked when I was in college so I did not let it pass. I was even surprised I had the guts to try. It paid off, fortunately.

dzlb-memorabilia

These were taken just a few years ago, just to show my radio colleagues I kept souvenirs all these years

38. Become a writer.

I wasn’t planning on making this my career because of the starving artist “syndrome”, but I am here because I think I sought this fate anyway. Fate is still part-effort.

39. Finish my novel.

40. Write/create a comic book.

41. Fall in love.

My real name’s hyphenated now, so, yeah 🙂

42. Tell someone my innermost secret and hope not to be or feel judged.

43. Give birth to a live, healthy baby…

God has yet to grant this wish. We are not giving up yet so we hope he lets us have the baby the next time. We’ll try to be ready.

44. See both/all our kids graduate from college.

45. Build a home for the aged whose own families have abandoned them.

46. Buy a land and build a large animal shelter, for abused/neglected/abandoned animals.

47. Grant scholarships anonymously (when I’m already rich, of course!).

Why anonymously? First, I won’t do it for recognition. Second, I won’t want other people to know I have money because people can use and abuse you when you have money. Three, I won’t want anyone approaching me for his/her kid’s scholarship. Let’s face it, a lot of kids don’t like to study. I wouldn’t want to feel sorry and obligated to send to school someone who doesn’t really want to be in it. Also, some parents will only use the kids to get the money and spend it on other things, not for the kids’ schooling. Someone else who’ll be working for me will handle applications. I’ll have a say on it, of course, but I won’t want people to know.

48. Build my Dream Museum.

49. Attain peace of mind.

50. Die happy.

51. Do my best jump for a jump shot.

This is My Happy List Item #51. What about it? CLICK HERE.

eversun-makati

With the permission of all the peeps here, I shared this to JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project‘s Eyoälha Baker and she posted it on her project’s Facebook page

52. Finally watch Patti Austin in concert, live.

UPDATE (Dec. 3, 2018): I was trying to check if there’ll be any show I’d like to see next year. I was going to save up. Then I saw THIS. AAARRGGHH!!! I’m so mad that I didn’t know. I’m even madder that the date is so near and I can’t go! No extra money for it *sniff* What are the chances that a Good Samaritan will be able to see this immediately and send me a ticket in time for the concert??!!!

53. Try vlogging.

Done. Well, doing it now. I have THE SANDBOX.

SAMPLE:

I said I’d “try” vlogging because I am not sure if it’s something I can keep doing for years. But, at least, I’ll be able to say I didn’t waste my opportunity. And at least, I’m learning new stuff “tinkering” with YouTube. Meanwhile, I aim to buy better-quality equipment in the future. Right now, I make do with what I have.

 

Okay, that’s My Happy List. I’ll add more to it if I think of more. Care to share your own happy list, though? Feel free to do so and put the link in the comments! 🙂

Writers, Artists and Copyright

Very interestingly, an infographic on copyright law was published online by GMA News. I looked at it and have found it very useful and not at all that hard to understand, even though they mentioned about misunderstanding jargon if one has no background in law. Honestly, I didn’t see much jargon there at all. But if one is a bit at a loss, it won’t hurt to do a little research by making a Google search, for instance, or checking out online dictionaries and encyclopedia (I like using TheFreeDictionary.com a lot). Some of these stuff, we have discussed before (HERE and HERE).

While the infographic basically tackles copyright law for writers and artists in the Philippines, it can definitely be informative for non-Filipinos and non-Philippine dwellers. Besides, as mentioned in it, ours is based on the US Copyright Law and the US, as we know, is often the accepted basis of things worldwide. Some may contest, maybe, but I did say “often”, not “always”.

Check out this infographic and I hope you find it useful 🙂

Copyright Law for Writers and Artists

copyright-law-writer-artist

The Philippine Copyright Law for Writers and Artists, based on the US Copyright Law

An Open Letter to CNN (just sharing)

I’m not feeling good and need to go home. Was going to shut down this laptop until I read the letter. So I decided to share it before I head for home.

A Filipino executive sent a letter to CNN. He says, “Last night, I listened to a CNN reporter wondering about the absence of night flights in Tacloban, in the context of the government not doing enough to bring in relief goods. It was like listening to newbie executives from Tokyo, London or the USA with no real international experience, yet assuming that their country’s rules and circumstances applied equally to the rest of the world. That was the proverbial last straw: I knew I had to react and call your attention to a few things.”

This is the FILIPINO EXECUTIVE’S LETTER TO CNN’s ANDERSON COOPER.

Copyright, Anyone? What to Do to Protect It

Have you ever had a rude awakening? The kind when you find a written work, realize it’s your own and somebody else posted or reproduced it without your knowledge? What’s worse, you are not acknowledged and, worst, he is taking all the credit. I have, twice or thrice, and I’m sure many more writers have.

stealing-copyrighted-worksThe fight for copyrights has been a problem then, it is more of a problem now that it’s gotten easier to copy and paste. So yes, let’s discuss about copyrights. After all, as creative artists, it is very important that we have our IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) protected.

It’s not that we are being selfish, but it is only to keep the unscrupulous from taking credit for what we own. Or at least, to make those who are not aware, well, aware that they simply cannot copy somebody else’s work without permission and/or without giving the author credit. It’s still property theft.

Cybercrime laws, under which copyright infringement or violation issues also fall, vary from country to country, if those laws are present at all. In fact, just last year, the Philippines just passed its Cybercrime Prevention Act. However, due to a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court, it has yet to be implemented—too many fears expressed by local and international netizens and, IMHO, not unfounded.

The widely accepted international laws are the ones created back in the 1800s, at the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, though they have undergone revisions. So in this century, how can we try to protect what are ours?

For writers (and for other artists, I think practically the same principles apply), these are what I know:

1. Any original idea or work, once put on whatever kind of writing pad—whether online or on actual paper, maybe handwritten or typewritten (or drawn), could be printed out or saved (CD, USB, computer hard drive, diskette or floppy discs if you’re still old school)—becomes your property.

It doesn’t really have to be published anywhere nor do you have to indicate that it belongs to you, if ever it does get published online and in other media. It is, of course, recommended that you indicate it’s yours all the same. Some people are still a bit clueless on how things work, so spoonfeed them for your own sake.

2. The truth of the matter is, it’s your work, thus, the rights over it belongs to you. Do what you will with it. That is, unless you sell your rights to it, like when you get paid so that a publication can use your piece. In that case, the publication owns it. You cannot reuse it somewhere to get paid, else you want a lawsuit slapped on you.

copyright-warning

3. Practically the same thing if you make a deal with a publisher and guest post/blog for them. They get to publish something for free, you get exposure for free. It’s like reciprocal linking, except better and more ethical. Normally, the agreement is they publish your piece for you but it doesn’t appear anywhere else, not even in your blog.

4. It is up to you to decide who gets to repost your work, or if you’ll ever allow anyone. So as preventive measure—though I repeat that you really do not have to—you can say,“This work belongs to me. Please do not reproduce without my permission” or something similar.

You may also add something like this: Copyright © 2013 J.Gi Federizo. Some have the date/year and symbol interchanged, but the important thing is the symbol © and your name are there.

Some use “(c)” rather than © but most do not recognize that and I am not sure if it’s really accepted by the law. I think the only reason it gets used is because the person typing does not know yet how to insert the symbol. (Tip: Visit sites and copy-paste the symbol from below the pages. Or if you’re using Word, either click “Insert” then “Special Character” and find it, or simply type “(c)” and click on the space bar and it will most probably automatically take the form of the symbol. Easy as pie…Actually, pie is harder).

5.There is such a term, too, called “copyleft,” no joke. According to The UK Copyright Service,“Copyleft is a term that describes a copyright licencing scheme where the author surrenders some of his rights. Typically a copyleft licence will allow a work to be freely copied, distributed or adapted, provided that all copies or modified versions are also freely available under the same licence.”

my-creative-commons-attribution

You decide what and/or how much access others can have on your works by choosing from options and posting an image of the Unported License in your blog for instance. Like this one that I posted in my Copyrights Place page

Creative Commons is one great example of copyleft licensing. Submit a creation or your website and be “given” the rights to it/them. You have several options to choose from, based on how much access you are allowing others to have on what you own, including possible use for commercial purposes. All you need to do is follow the instructions, read well and choose well.

6. To make it more official, you can actually “obtain” rights by submitting to the proper authorities assigned to check and grant those rights. In the Philippines (where I am), you can submit to the Copyright Division of the National Library of the Philippines.

7. In this modern world, it doesn’t hurt to try older means. I have read years ago that you could snail-mail to yourself copies of your work. That way, they will stamp on the envelop the date when you send it.

DO NOT OPEN once you receive it and just keep it. You will only do this in case somebody gets credit for your work. You can show that you were first, therefore, the rightful owner, based on the envelop. Only then can it be opened in court, in front of the judge. Thus, it is important to show that the envelop has never been opened or tampered with.

[Ed. UPDATE: Well, shame on me, but I just found out this is what is termed as Poor Man’s Copyright. Sorry I didn’t know of it before. Apparently, though, this “supposed” proof of one’s copyright will not hold in court, most sites discussing it are saying. But different sources do tend to differ. In the US, this is not accepted, but in the UK, it is another story. I do have this to say, though: As long as you are sure you can trust your postal service and as long as you make sure you are the first one ever to create a copy and send the material to yourself and to never reveal when exactly you created it, perhaps, this proof can help in times of need. Do make sure you do other means of protecting your copyright. This should just serve as supporting evidence. Just saying.)  

copyright-through-mailsAs an alternative or additional precaution, I try emailing my works to myself as well so there’s less chance of losing my copies and, should it come to it, computer forensics can prove when you emailed them. I send to at least two email accounts as I’ll never know when an account can get hacked or whatever. You might want to do this, too.


There you go! I hope you find any of these tips/information helpful. Did you? Feel free to correct/update me or add anything through the comments. Your inputs are very much welcome. We aim to share what we know to the writing community.

Keep on writing!!!