Friday, May 4, 2012

Agit-agit and the literature of politics

It is so amazing how the Asi language, in all its strengths and weaknesses, its romance and tragedies, its verve and sorrowful rendition of things native and original, and its elegance and directness, can, in a twist of the tongue, produce a narrative with just a single word: agit-agit.
John Rufon, whose passionate affair with the Asi language has led him to the confines of the classroom to nourish young minds by food and drink literary, surfaced the word last week, in a conversation with this writer through the wonder of technology--the SMS--that in 1980 was not even in the fringe of the mind.

That SMS--that's 'text' to you, Virginia--has invaded, no, replaced, the sovereignty of the postman is a testament to the technological revolution of our age.

You see, John and I are 'text' mates. We communicate by spending 'loads' in our mobile phones, those ubiquitous tools of modern life that had since become indispensable.

But while we use this hip tool of communication, we remain rooted in the old medium of the Asi, the language of our souls. We exchange knowledge, ideas, and information through an immortal tongue made mortal--and now threatened to extinction--by non-usage.

We speak and converse in Asi so much so that if the mobile phone possesses a mind of its own, it should have long ago gone crazy, particularly when a learned man, such as John, texts me with sentences containing such Asi words as kahilab; and when I respond with such terms as pangurang-kurang.

John, who is holding summer classes at the Romblon State University, teaches literature. I have not seen any of his students, but I have a sense that they are excited with what John is teaching them, literature being a field that is seldom inhabited by boring souls.

And it is in literature, it is in the literary life, that agit-agit finds its appropriate home; that John Rufon, the romantic Asi, wakes it up from its deep literary slumber, or hibernation if you choose.

I have searched the English equivalent of agit-agit and I have failed. The nearest I can associate it with is the word torment, which means torture, distress, anguish, annoy, irritate, or persecute. But agit-agit means so much more than these, particularly if you use it in the idiom and context of the Asi.

The difficulty of finding an English equivalent of agit-agit is the fact that it is a  gender neutral verb. It cannot be transformed into a place- or people-, or thing-name, unlike torment, which is both a verb and a noun.

Tagalog, which is the language of the throng in the national capital and the Central and Southern Luzon provinces, provides us with tudyo and inis, or kulit, as the closest to agit-agit, but still, these words do not capture the cadence, color, and daring of the literary idiom which John Rufon has just midwifed.

And why did John Rufon forced agit-agit from its cocoon?

It was because of the political temperature of the province, now racing to exacerbate and surpass the summer heat, and which thus, threatens to make agit-agit more potent than it already is.

To divine its literary meaning, let us use it:

(1) Aya ako gi agit-agita.

By just adding the suffix "a" after the last letter, agit-agit as a word has just become menacing. To be forewarned is to be armed, so "Aya ako gi agit-agita", in this sense, is a warning to who it is directed to exercise caution. Otherwise.

(2) Kada kina nag-kandidato ay dahil ging agit-agit it kalaban.

A masterful invitation to political suicide, this sentence. Alas, Asi and non-Asi speaker-politicians alike, for a hundred years, have fallen into the trap of making political decisions simply due to agit-agit and, as a result, those who are affected--naagit-agit--often lose their way to ignominy, if not political demise.

(3) Inggwa it mga Romblomanong pulitiko nak sumok mag pang-agit-agit.

As an adjective, the phrase mag pang-agit-agit is a dark characteristic of Romblon politicians who have ran out of ideas and whose imagination and creativity have dried up because of contempt for their political opponents, if not envy. In the campaign trail, the tribe of this kind of politicians multiplies by the minute, their motive being solely to unsettle the serious candidates and well-meaning supporters.

(4) Hala, purbahi, nak taagit-agiton ka.

The classic challenge for an action still to be made in the future. The prefix ta and the suffix on that sandwich the root word agit-agit lend excitement to the prospect of acceptance of the challenge and the corresponding action of the challenger. In political literature, this is the crescendo before the plot. Watch out.

Unknown to many, the subliminal messages of agit-agit see fruition in the acts of our politicians.

For example, this is exhibited by an election loser who files a nuisance case against his opponent-winner even if he knew in the deep recesses of his thickened heart that the case is not going to prosper. Ging agit-agit yang?

Or take for instance an incumbent elected official who has this deplorable habit of expropriating for himself the nomination of all political parties in every election so that he leaves out his opponent without a party; or his more classic behavior of hopping from one political party to another like a nectar-sucking butterfly. Nagpapang-agit-agit yang.

But if it is all negativism there is to it in agit-agit, wait.

John Rufon, as a literature instructor, sees something positive in it. He says the word can be translated into an action that hides the intent but foresees the outcome.

In business parlance, this is creating an opportunity out of a dire strait; turning failure into victory; or picking gold from among a mountain of trash.

And how is that? There lies the agit-agit.

John says one can fashion a beautiful story out of what seems a trivial, but actually a powerful, word that in Asi means to agitate, inspire, cajole, motivate, lure, midwife, percolate, summon, or force into sudden and pre-emptive action. Thus, people who can use agit-agit this way are superior creatures.

Agit-agit. What a beautiful Asi word from an imaginative Asi intellectual.


bzk said...

Pagkaadong isturya. Salamat Kuya Nicon! - Bon Fallarme Labora

JMFradejas said...

imaw kina it pirming inabuhat it mga maguyang nak hali sa inra manghor...pirming pang agit-agit....

JMFradejas said...

imaw kina it inahimo it mga maguyang nak hali sa inra mga manghor...pirmihang nagpapang-agit-agit....

white_shuffler said...

Agit-agit - usang porma it bisaya nak maaksiyon; nupay nagpapahiwatig it probokasyon ado abing mareact o ahimuon ka usang aksiyon it tawong siguroy buko hungor sa ida kabubot-on; o subaling namangit yang dahil sa pang agit-agit it ibang tawo sa ida. .

Nonoy Senorin said...

Pagkaado ni basahon, ak narumruman tuloy si M Topher nak masyadong mag pang Agit-agit it kag kamiy maintik pa...Nice one M Nicon...Will excpect more soon...