Word of the Year-A A +A
By Ram Mercado
Sunday, September 22, 2013
AN ORGANIZATION of Filipino philologists, teachers of semantics, and dictionary makers chooses a street word made popular by common usage and proclaim it as the Word of the Year.
Previous winners of the annual word search that are now accepted in English usage included "lobat" (2007), "canvass" (2008), "miskol" (2009), "huweteng" (2010), "wangwang" (2011), "jejemon" (2012).
I have my entry for Word of the Year for 2013. It is briefly explained and discussed hereunder.
One word which is a constant stock in today’s street lingo is “pokpok.”
It is the brand name given to some free-wheeling girls by idlers who love colorful language.
Whoever invented this picturesque and often times humorously ribald label must be skilled in the science of linguistics.
It is the single word which, though not used in polite company and the well-bred, describes a girl suspect.
Pokpok beats its famous American equivalent “bitch” with its onomatopoeic impact and directness.
It has the candidness and notoriety of “kotong,” another Pinoy brand name which is ascribed to men in uniform or to certain bureaucrats.
We wonder, therefore, who between the Pinoy pokpok and the American bitch is promiscuous. I guess this can be settled by a hormonal emission test, something similar to the LTO’s vehicle registration procedure.
Periodically at least one or two colorful words are added to the Pinoy vocabulary. In recent decades the word “put” was the vogue in government circles. Recently “tongpats and “bukol” were added.
Via TV-radio and newspapers a word or a phrase would gain public currency. The most lasting and all-time favorite is the endemic cuss phrase “P- - - - g ina mo.”
The Philippine courts had determined that this expletive, depending on the circumstances it was uttered, is libelous. It is the mother of all expletives.
“Pokpok” has not yet figured in judicial litigations even if it is defamatory by implication. But it kills by its connotation.
There is always a way to beat the law. This word is the best example to slander someone and get away from being impleaded in court.
I suspect “pokpok” was derived from the Kapampangan “pukpuk” (meaning to strike). In fact drinkers often refer to their bed antics as “pukpukan.”
The guy who invented this word under scrutiny had a degree of creativity and great humor. Certainly he possessed special knowledge of the female psyche. You cannot find this word in the best works Balagtas and Crissot, foremost poets and dramatists of their time.
I have been asked, but always failed, to come up with a credible definition of “pokpok.”
How could I when I would not even know a pokpok when I meet one? What I know is that a pokpok has less notoriety than a “puta”.
The first arrives to that status because of romance, for the fun of it, and bare necessity. Her reward comes by the way of recompense akin to a conditional cash transfer (CCT). The “prosti” is there chiefly for survival – as a form of livelihood. Call it a labor of love.
A girl known for having had multiple love partners is also called a “pokpok”. It is generic name for young girls, and adult women too, who have a nasty reputation as “playgirls.” The “cougar” is definitely not a pokpok, she is a predator.
It is said that there here are two types of girls. Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.
A pokpok is not necessarily a “puta”, but one cannot be puta without being a pokpok. The first holds a degree equivalent to 2nd grade Civil Service eligibility. The second has a CESO (career executive service) grade.
I admire a pokpok for her loyalty. She often stays loyal to her lover, be he a dirty old man or “basta driver, sweet lover.”
The puta has no loyalty. The only person who can be identified or has similar traits with her is the politician.
At times the pokpok is more dependable and loyal than a politico in the sense that when she is bought she stays bought. The politico, when already bought, keeps selling his loyalty.
I suspect this is one reason why some people want to legalize prostitution. It’s the best way to keep loyalty out of the oldest “pukpukan” here and elsewhere.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 23, 2013.