Delem nge dene

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - January 6, 2021 - 12:00am

I will be writing about Donald Trump. But as I normally do, I first go online to check on the opinion pages of this paper to see what is abuzz among my fellow columnists. I usually read Josephus Jimenez first. This time, though, Ruben Almendras had a red light flashing. "Que sera 2021," he said. Another red light. Nigel Paul Villarete was asking, "Quo vadis, Metro Cebu." I scrolled up to see if I was reading The FREEMAN.

But it was The FREEMAN all right. There was Jimenez writing about the 10 best countries to live in after COVID. There was Leo Lastimosa agonizing as usual in Cebuano. So there was no change in editorial policies as I also feared. Clearly we have not gone foreign though we may be online. It is all just a matter of a writer wanting to put more stress than would be possible when employing normal means. Now I can start my own column in peace.

But before that, I guess I need to explain the title for this column. I was simply carried away by all the que seraing and quo vadising going on, although I prefer to stick to Cebuano than go exotic. Delem nge dene, the title of this column, is not Latin but a corrupted form of the Cebuano phrase "dili mangihi dinhi." I first saw the phrase delem nge dene scrawled on a wall along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City several decades ago.

At first I thought it was just random graffiti written by some drunk in his stupor. But I pass by that place every day on a jeepney on my way to work. Eventually I took to analyzing what the cryptic words meant. And then I finally got it. Whether by design or the writer was just an atrocious speller, the words meant: dili mangihi dinhi. It made so much sense. The wall on which it was written was one long inviting urinal if you happen to be Filipino.

In fact I find delem nge dene more authoritative-sounding than dili mangihi dinhi, which is rather girly. Even if you just run the words through your brain they sound very gruff as to command obedience. DELEM NGE DENE! Add a Hoy! and you can picture a Duterte livid at the effrontery of some wayward venting of the bladder.

Now to my column or what is left of it to fit into my remaining space. What Donald Trump is doing and doing wrong (I don’t need to enumerate them as your main foreign news provider is probably CNN) is piss all over the White House, living a stinking legacy over what dignity remains of the American presidency. He should be told he cannot do that. DELEM NGE DENE, TRUMP!

I have always been for Trump not because I like him or believe in whatever he stands for. I have always been for Trump because I hated how the Democrats and the media demonized him, never gave him a chance. I hated how his enemies freely submitted to the system and then disowned the product when they did not like the result. But now Trump is doing exactly what his critics did to him. He is repudiating the results without any basis.

Trump is acting more like a child deprived of his lollipop than the president of the most powerful nation on earth who is expected to keep his wits even in times of great adversity. Trump is swinging from fit to tantrum to plain incoherence. If America had not been so up front in global attention and consciousness, I would not be surprised if a coup tried to remove him pants down. I would not want to be part of the Trump Family at this sordid time.

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