• Is your yaya a jejemon?

    The jejemon phenomenon manifested as late as April 2010. Has your yaya caught the jejemon fever? Find out the symptoms.
    by Justine Camacho-Tajonera .
  •  Is your yaya a jejemon? Because mine is. First of all, if this is all new to you, the question might be: what is a jejemon? UrbanDictionary.com defines jejemon this way: “Usually seen around social networking sites such as Friendster and Multiply, jejemons are individuals with low IQs who spread around their idiocy on the web by tYpFing LyK diZS jejejeje, making all people viewing their profile raise their eyebrows out of annoyance.”


    A Short History of Jejemon
    Now, how did this come about? Did jejemonizing start in the Philippines or something? Apparently, it did. According to the new online general reference publication, Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jejemon, the word jejemon is made up of the term “jeje” or a subverted form of “hehe” hispanized to reflect a “j” instead of an “h” plus a suffix, “mon” which comes from the Japanese term, Pokemon, denoting monsters. Thus, it roughly translates as the “jeje monsters.”

    Apparently, this whole phenomenon started as early as the invention of SMS language, which limited people to 160 characters, thus helping the Filipino youth bastardize English grammar. However, the jejemon phenomenon manifested as late as April this year, with the endorsement of some jejemons for their preferred vice presidential candidate, Jejemon, este, Jejomar Binay.


    Sample Jejenese or the Official Alphabet of the Jejemon, the Jejebet
    Try this out: the Jejemon Translator: http://jejemon.x10hosting.com/index.php. The translations boggle the mind. However, it all sounds very familiar given my young yaya’s penchant for texting me nonsense like “pOw” and “jejeje” after every other phrase. In fact, if this all started as a way to shorten messages, the new jejebet or jejemon alphabet actually extends sentences with nonsense characters.

    I found out about my yaya’s jejemon habit when we lent her a cellphone so I could check up on my three year old son. I would sometimes text her to find out where they were so I could call up my son. To my annoyance, she would always answer in some indecipherable language (what I discovered was jejenese) that saw me spending a few minutes trying to understand what she was trying to say. I was particularly annoyed with the repetitive “jejeje” which made her every sentence seem like she was telling me a joke instead of straight out reporting the status of my son.

    What I Did About Yaya’s Jejemonizing
    Basically, I sat down my yaya and had a heart to heart talk with her. I told her that I could hardly understand her texts because there were too many extra details in her text that I failed to get the message. She had expressed to me earlier her desire to learn more English so I took this as my opportunity to give her homework. I asked her to practice her English by texting me in straight English only. I also gave her the option of texting me in Tagalog but only if she did it in straight Tagalog instead of Taglish, or worse, Jejemon.

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    I underlined to her the importance of doing her job professionally because I believed that she wants more out of life and she had the potential to discipline herself and perhaps go back to school one of these days. I basically didn’t get mad at her or belittle her. I told her that she had it in her to be taken seriously. How could she do that if she ended very sentence with a “jejeje?” Today, my yaya texts me in English or in Tagalog only. She now texts “po” instead of “pOw,” to my relief.


    Can You Stop the Jejemon?
    However, that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t still have the jejemon bug in her. Perhaps, it’s just been curbed. After all, the jejemon is a youth cultural phenomenon and that’s part of their ritual of belonging: speaking the same language. There are two schools of thought: a) that the jejemon are lazy and uneducated, or b) that the jejemon have subverted the language of the elite and have made it their own. Either way, if you feel that jejemon is a major irritant, it’s up to you to live with it or do something about it.


    Is your yaya a jejemon? Tell us all about it!

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