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A Plea to Stop Using "Major Major:" It's Not Funny Anymore
Says our SPOT.ph blogger: "Pinoy pop culture is such that when something clicks, rest assured it will be exploited to death, ad nauseam...
By: Lourd de Veyra  |   Published on: Sep 13, 2010 - 12:09pm

Broadcasters in their 60s should not try to be cute. It's like watching your grandmother do aerobics while wearing neon pink tights. Or your father having a Friendster account. When it happens, it makes every little hair on your skin stand on end.

Which is what happened on Harapan, President's Aquino's panel interview with three of the country's top TV networks. "Major major question lang po, ser," one of the news anchors chirped. "Ano po 'yung major major na problemang kinahantungan ng hostage crisis na ito. . ." This, on live television, at the symbolic seat of the country's authority, in a panel discussion of a deathly serious issue that has swelled into a diplomatic crisis of sorts and one that has affected even the airline and tourism industry, not to mention place several political institutions into question. Maybe on her part it seemed charming and appropriate, an attempt to defuse whatever tension there was hanging in the air (but hers was the very first question). From all angles, it did not look like the kind of situation that called for levity. Then again, for all we know, maybe she was being ironic or trying to show us she wasn't the type to take herself seriously. But of what use would that be? To show she was in on the zeitgeist? But she's on primetime news every day. Or maybe it is indicative of an absolute lack of seriousness, of gravitas, that cannot be conjured even by one thousand Kinoflo lights and a lifetime's supply of Hirudoid and metathione pills. Or maybe it just shows how she regards the current President of the Republic of the Philippines.

That's when I realized things were getting out of hand.

I could understand hearing it on gossip programs and variety shows where everyone has to yell and look chirpy. But during the "serious"news? By "serious"anchors? What is "serious" anyway? There's a big difference between "serious"and "solemn." The Simpsons and Woody Allen are the epitome of seriousness. It wasn't Miss Tiangco's attempt at being flippant that irritated me, but those two goddamned words themselves.

Now it is no fault of Miss Maria Venus Raj that "major, major" has suddenly taken on absurd proportions. But for the sake of our national sanity--not to mention the risk of Miss Raj being forever reduced into a one-dimensional character with a silly catchphrase--"major major" has got to die.

"National sanity" sounds so bloated and pretentious. The phrase has become so murderously annoying that the next time someone says that in front of me I swear to God some mouth is going to bleed. Government ought to pass a law criminalizing those two words. Look, it was funny the first time. Well, funny and cringe-inducing. The following day--and next couple of days thereafter--saw every DJ, radio commentator and TV host strategically inserting "major, major" into every available opportunity, each one thinking himself special, cute, and witty by doing so.
By the end of the first two hours of the day, it had become nauseating.

But there will be its defenders. Of course, I'm pretty sure among them--aside from those four hyperventilating badings on You Tube--will be those UP professors who have their PhDs in Literature and who are also equally, frighteningly knowledgeable on Beauty Pageant History (these people can re-enact any finals question-and-answer portion from any given year, replete with the accents). But what is truly is scary is how naturally it can be slipped into any casual conversation. It's a truly "Filipinized" phrase, and its equivalent is said to be "bonggang-bongga." It's the natural tendency of the language, that element of repetition to insist on the essence of something: "nagkanda leche-leche,""sukang suka,""bobong bobo,""baliw na baliw,""gandang ganda,""trip-trip tayo,""weather-weather lang,"etc. Placed in an international context, how far behind can "major major"be? Poet-critic Gemino H. Abad--who advocated writing not in English but from English to co-opt the ghosts of the colonial tongue--would have been proud. And while we're in literary territory, Major Major is also the name of a character in Joseph Heller's classic Catch 22.

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61 Comments
  • hector
    Is this how we appreciate our product? It's more of a humiliation to Ms. Raj who tried so hard to get into top 5. Ms. Tianco is trying to be cute really.
    Dec 10 2010 @ 04:10pm     Reply  
  • tinidor
    Teka nga pala, Ano nga pala ulet silbi sa lipunan ng mga beauty pageant?
    Nov 05 2010 @ 11:45pm     Reply  
  • Lovely Girl
    Ang salitang MAJOR-MAJOR ay isang paalala sa pagkakamali ng isa natin kababayan na naghatid ng karangalan sa atin. Paano ba naging nakatutuwa ito? Kailan ba naging nakatutuwa ipaalala natin sa atin sarili ang pagkakamali ng ating kababayan? Ewan ko ba, basta ako natutuwa ako sa mga karangalan na binigay ni VENUS......MEL, saan ka kumuha ng lakas ng loob upang bastusin mo ang ating pangulo? Dahil sa akala mo ay sikat ka na ay maari mo ng bastusin ang ating pangulo? Ganyan din ba ang tinuturo mo sa iyong mga anak at apo?
    Oct 05 2010 @ 10:46am     Reply  
  • eTOY
    she missed the commercial value of.. major-major.. she could have created a commercial ad for it and earn some bucks!.. she could have registered and patented the .. major-major.. for future use.. who knows.. like kuya kim says.. life is .. weather-weather lang.
    Sep 28 2010 @ 10:11pm     Reply  
  • Controversy
    Marj, based on his interview with the Prez, I agree that Paolo may be a disgrace to the Barba-Marcos family. But let us NEVER forget that the Barba-Marcos clan is a disgrace to the human race.
    Sep 27 2010 @ 10:21pm     Reply  
  • pennylane
    iritable ka na naman Lourd my favorite forever! parang lagi ka nalang galit o naiinis pagnagsusulat, natatakot tuloy ako lapitan ka pag nanunood ako ng gigs nyo =)rnrnBut yes, point well taken. I agree with you on this one. rnrn
    Sep 24 2010 @ 07:16am     Reply  
  • plukpluk
    rnto those who find this offensive, an insult, or who made a "mind your own business" commentaries.. read again. for sanity's sake, please.. intindihin muna ang binabasa. rnrnhindi na nakakapag taka kung bakit marami pa rin ang nag sasabi ng inuulit na salitang ito. magbasa ka lang, (kung matitiis mo ang masikip na daluyan ng pagiisip) andito lahat ang paliwanag.rnrnLol-u! (nakakatawa sobra ang sinabi u)
    Sep 21 2010 @ 06:17pm     Reply  
  • Maine
    I agree. "major major" is sooo overused.
    Sep 20 2010 @ 08:03am     Reply  
  • CeL1916
    Irritating?! yes! rnrnbut i don't think it's something to be worried about!rnrn
    Sep 19 2010 @ 08:54pm     Reply  
  • Hendrick
    It's only the opinion of Lourd de Veyra. rnCome on Lourd, I found the way Mel Tiangco asked the question cute! (my opinion). rnShe was just trying to broad her own horizon (my opinion yet again).
    Sep 19 2010 @ 04:03pm     Reply  
  • vien nyem
    Just a fad: I agree with you too but it's really annoying, promise! like, to theh max chika bongga you know? haha.
    Sep 19 2010 @ 02:32pm     Reply  
  • vien nyem
    hehe. i guess it got to you too. i agree with your opinions. mahihirapan din akong isulat to kaya buti nabasa ko galing sayo. sana nga may "mainstream" ding mga tao na nagbabasa nito lagi. RECOMMEND NYO SA FACEBOOK TO!!!rnrn
    Sep 19 2010 @ 02:28pm     Reply  
  • Just A Fad
    It's just a fad, Lourd.rnrnYou don't have to be so pressed.rnrnHeck, you're more affected than Venus Raj? :))rnrnBesides, the media has always been like this.
    Sep 19 2010 @ 01:58am     Reply  
  • zemansky
    i disagree! this is so much ado about nothing. what's wrong with MAJOR MAJOR? it's already been adapted into the filipino culture, so when they utter those two words, they're not trying to be cute or whatnot, they're just expressing themselves. LET THEM BE THEMSELVES, for christ's sake! maybe it would help if you read your blog about the jejemons again. :)
    Sep 19 2010 @ 12:13am     Reply  
  • reydgreat
    know what guys..? its becoming unfair to ms. raj.rnrnthough she didn't intentionally say it... "for CHRIST's sake! she was so damn nervous on that day..!"rnrnnaman! kahit sinong tao naman pag natense di ba..?!?rnrnpeople started like it was a joke, but now, its already a mockery.. bad... totally bad...rnrntsk tsk tsk!rnrnnot to mention, kababayan natin yun..! we should be at her side..! don't mock or make fund of her or anything that she said di ba..?!? sige, joke sa iba, pero it already hurted the girl too much.. sampal sa kanya yun..!rnrnTO MS. RAJ: 'that's okay honey.. we'll get them next time.. :) smile ka lang.. everything will be okay soon.. trust me honey... mahihiya rin mga yan pagdating ng araw..!"rnrn-reydgreatrnholla! :p
    Sep 18 2010 @ 03:40pm     Reply  
  • misa
    yes, maybe it's time to focus another word, ehm just kiddin'
    Sep 18 2010 @ 01:22pm     Reply  
  • Marj
    Mel Tiangco using "major major" during a PNoy interview is like asking Barbara Walters to use ebonics to interview Obama. The Philippine press already blew it during the hostage drama. This interview did not help at all. BTW, Paolo Bediones is the worst presidential interviewer that I have seen in my whole life. He is a disgrace to the Marcos-Barba family.
    Sep 18 2010 @ 12:16pm     Reply  
  • masterpiece
    matatagalan pa bago mawala yan sa sirkulasyon ng pananalita ng mga kababayan natin. sa lahat ng pagkakataon, maririnig mo talaga yang "phrase" na yan...
    Sep 18 2010 @ 09:14am     Reply  
  • kate pilapil
    LEAVE PEOPLE A-L-ON-E! IF THEY WANT TO USE MAJOR, MAJOR IN THEIR EVERYDAY LIFE TAL , THEN LET IT BE. GO FLY A KITE OR CLEAN YOUR NAVELS INSTEAD!
    Sep 18 2010 @ 03:24am     Reply  
  • Ineng
    Ah si Mel Tiangco ba ang pinaguusapan natin dito? Akala ko si Venus Raj. rnrnAnyway, di nako nagugulat kay Mel Tianco. Hello dati nang nag hahalubata yang lola nyo. Nagpapabata bata bataan effect ewww kadirekssss...
    Sep 18 2010 @ 02:13am     Reply  
  • Jagaruga
    Major major is like jejemon. It was just funny the first few days. Yes it is annoying when everybody's trying to extend the fad. I wonder how long Jejemom would last. Do the producers of that show think the whole jejemon craze would last forever?
    Sep 17 2010 @ 03:32pm     Reply  
  • Major Lieutenant Sergeant Chief Commander
    Well to me, this phrase (major major) wasn't even catchy at all.
    Sep 17 2010 @ 12:17pm     Reply  
  • major major major
    'stig, matagal ko ng hinihintay na mabanggit si major major major
    Sep 17 2010 @ 08:50am     Reply  
  • LSDR
    Basag trip? :)rn
    Sep 16 2010 @ 08:24pm     Reply  
  • whatsthefrequency
    lourd, magsulat ka na lang kasi ng tungkol sa literature. hehehehehe. o kung bakit i-legalize na lang ang weed.
    Sep 16 2010 @ 06:27pm     Reply  
  • Raprap Castillo
    Sir, it is the age of the Village Idiot. We cannot stop it. The moment technology blurted out Youtube, Facebook, Friendster, the idiot has suddenly acquired a new media that can replace the "Town Hall." or yung "Plaza". rnrnThen suddenly, mainstream media just got to keep up with the jones, and here we are in an awfully dumbed down age of information technology. Ah the great paradox of our time.
    Sep 16 2010 @ 04:16pm     Reply  
  • Rapi
    Love it.
    Sep 16 2010 @ 04:11pm     Reply  
  • batoush
    tama na! ayoko na! fwede vah?
    Sep 16 2010 @ 06:39am     Reply  
  • savannabanana
    ako rin, i never used those words lalo nanung usong uso. nakakaasar pakinggan at parang tuwa tuwa pa yung mga gumagamit nito. haisst.
    Sep 16 2010 @ 05:50am     Reply  
  • cynicalbits
    language cannot be static. grammar always evolves. everyday there are new words invented, like those gadgets that need to be named. i wasn't able to watch the interview but i find no offense in her using 'major major' in that context. it might be just a fad for now but who knows, maybe in the next few years, it's earned its right to be placed in our dictionary. how do you think languages started?
    Sep 15 2010 @ 10:15pm     Reply  
  • McQuina
    Lourd,wag ka ng sumawsaw dito sa majomjor na..marami ka pang mas magandang topic n puede ifeature,yung mas may kabuluhan ba..mani lang ito sayo,wag mo ng patulan..kelangan nga nating bulatlatin kahit kaliitlitan katulad ng "ng at nang",mas may kabuluhan namn ito kesa majormajor na yan,iwanan mo n sa kanila yan..
    Sep 15 2010 @ 10:03pm     Reply  
  • there there
    Uh.. I think we should learn to respect each other nalang. Di lang naman sa pinas may ganyang nauusong expression. Everywhere. If we just know how to respect, edi wala sanang problema. We can't just stop the people from doing or saying things. After all, we all have freedom in expressing our thoughts, actions, and beliefs. Just like how the writer of this article reacted. I'm sure, nobody told him to stop expressing his anger towards the "major major" expression right? Nagawa nga niyang ipost eh. Same with the others. Freedom of expression might give us a little discomfort. Surely, in the end, all we gotta do is respect everyone.
    Sep 15 2010 @ 08:41pm     Reply  
  • banged
    first of all... tumatak to sa isip ng bawat pinoy... so what are you expecting to happen? kung ung tsugi... imbyerna etc. eh~ hindi na naalis at nailagay na din sa diksyunaryo... eto pa kayang inulit na english language?rnthere's always a reason kung bakit hindi maalis alis to... one of these are the so called "IN-WANNABES" and the gays... once na ang nag salita ng mga "exotic" na kataga ang mga gays eh~ pumapatok at pilit na ginagaya ng mga "IN-WANNABES" kaya hindi mawala wala ang mga lenguaheng ito
    Sep 15 2010 @ 07:54pm     Reply  
  • Nyiwnyiw
    pinakamasaklap kapag paulit-ulit mo narinig ang phrase na yan sa isang inuman session... mas nakaka-lasing... haha!!
    Sep 15 2010 @ 05:40pm     Reply  
  • Maharot
    @JESSIErnrnMinor lang pla 2 sau eh, bakit mo binasa? Tinangkilik mopa rin. :)
    Sep 15 2010 @ 04:49pm     Reply  
  • Maharot
    I agree that this is another FAD. But not all the FADS are APPROPRIATE to use in all contexts, expecially in an interview with the president. It's ok if we hear it in THE BUZZ or JUICY or SHOWBIZ CENTRAL. I hope that next time, media icons would be careful with the words day use.
    Sep 15 2010 @ 04:47pm     Reply  
  • Jessie
    *lots
    Sep 15 2010 @ 04:46pm     Reply  
  • Jessie
    now what? you want to be a "major-major-buster"? just like the jejebuster of the so called jejemons? c'mon. there are lot's of issues to criticize, this isn't a major major thing to plea. (tss "pasikat" lang in short)
    Sep 15 2010 @ 04:44pm     Reply  
  • Jessie
    so what's the point of this? para unique? wtf. wag di may masabi lang? c'mon, grow up. tss
    Sep 15 2010 @ 04:38pm     Reply  
  • gia
    THANK YOU for voicing out your opinions on this MAJOR MAJORLY annoying subject. seriously. hindi kase talaga tama. parang t*ng* lang. yun lang.
    Sep 15 2010 @ 01:34pm     Reply  
  • Pepper
    Major major badtrip!
    Sep 15 2010 @ 12:30pm     Reply  
  • Matiisin
    Ang lahat ng ito'y lilipas din. rnKatulad ng pagbabalita ni Mel Tiangco at Mike Enriquez. Kasi naman, dapat natutulog din ang mga tagapagbalita para hindi nawawala sa katinuan.
    Sep 15 2010 @ 03:55am     Reply  
  • senyong
    lighten up,lourd.magandang basahin pero parang..wala din.wala na bang ibang topic???
    Sep 14 2010 @ 07:46pm     Reply  
  • Yuujin
    Maybe she's not trying to be cute (and it's only appropriate for pets), being "in" could be the right term. Anyhow, neither do I find her nor anyone else special whenever they say this. Good thing none of my classmates had attempted to say this yet.
    Sep 14 2010 @ 04:03pm     Reply  
  • Pipo
    walang basagan ng trip, pare.
    Sep 14 2010 @ 12:13pm     Reply  
  • vyen2k
    m@j0rh~m2j0rh Tmah quayo powh!!!
    Sep 14 2010 @ 11:41am     Reply  
  • Mr. Endshiftresign!
    um...i don't think redford white could star in any "major major" movie as he has already passed on. anyway, great article as usual. rnrn"meh ganon" is a bit "old", btw...i think vice ganda's "dahil dyan may nagtext" is gaining steam as the latest annoying buzzword rolling off pinoys' mouths. that, and "major major"...
    Sep 14 2010 @ 12:48am     Reply  
  • SagoProject
    Mel has been trying to be cute for years! Look at the way she dresses herself. She is not ageing well.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 11:28pm     Reply  
  • radioactive
    Mel Tiangco, along with other newsreaders, should be castigated for their weird enunciation of Tagalog with their artificial radio accents. Enough said about these inane newsreaders.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 10:33pm     Reply  
  • nikki
    it's totally unbecoming of a journalist. as if her and mike enriquez's reportage during the hostage crisis wasn't bad enough, argh!!
    Sep 13 2010 @ 06:24pm     Reply  
  • mita
    it got sickening the minute everyone in facebook posted something with "major major". i had a bad feeling it's gonna be overused like hell.. boy, i was right.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 05:21pm     Reply  
  • mhel
    stop fake intellectualizing things Mr. de Veyra.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 04:19pm     Reply  
  • Lgdua
    Exactimo, boss Lourd. It was fun in the beginning but lately it has become sickening already...
    Sep 13 2010 @ 04:18pm     Reply  
  • Louis
    Who cares?
    Sep 13 2010 @ 04:02pm     Reply  
  • ghem
    wala sa lugar ang paggamit ni mel tiangco ng major-major. what is she trying to show ba? kakahiya.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 03:55pm     Reply  
  • Cristy Fermin & Janice De Belen neck cleavage
    let's vote Lourd de Veyra into public office
    Sep 13 2010 @ 03:53pm     Reply  
  • Neneng
    WALANG KAHIHIYAN SI MEL TIANGCO!rnrnang Tanda na kasi ng Lola niyo.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 03:46pm     Reply  
  • Luke
    I don't understand kung bakit nakikisawsaw sa 'major major' ang mga broadcasters.If they're trying to be cool, well tough luck. They're making themselves sound foolish.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 02:16pm     Reply  
  • Gervie
    Major, major became another nationwide phenomenon but should not be said in formal conversation. Mel Tiangco was just trying to be cute & "in" but she did it in bad taste, inappropriate to the occasion.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 01:20pm     Reply  
  • Mina
    ~~ Yeah I agree too,..but I think it's just a fad.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 01:03pm     Reply  
  • blue
    Yes, i agree. major major is enough. we have more serious matters to focus on.
    Sep 13 2010 @ 12:48pm     Reply  
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