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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Here Come the Jejemons

On the spotlight lately are youngsters who wanted to create their own subculture.  They have their own way of writing and sending SMS on their mobile phones and now, they want to create their own fashion.  They're called the Jejemons, and they are created in the Philippines.

Why jejemon?  Several reasons are being floated as to why but I stick to the original one.  Instead of the usual "hehehe" to mean laughter, this group writes "jejeje".  hence, the first part of the word.  The second part is a reference to the popular anime,  Pokemon or pocket monsters.  In short, they are the "jeje monsters".

It is quite frustrating to receive a text message from a jejemon.  It's like reading a cryptic message with ordinary words spelled differently and in a combination of alpha-numeric characters. To add confusion to the uninitiated, the letters were randomly written in upper and lower cases.  In fact,  one self-confessed jejemon said on TV that the more confusing the combination, the better for the jejemon.  Consider the following: 

Jejemon: Eow phfu0w i wud llyk t0 mk3 fr3ndz phfu0w wd u z@Na .

Me : Ha? Who is this?

Jejemon: ffWuez phfu0w cr3 2 t3ll mE ur n@m3?

Me: Wait... you're a jejemon!

Jejemon: jejejeje...

In the first message, the jejemon was asking if we could be friends.  In his next message, he was already asking for my name. 

At first, people were just amused with this new fad.  But as it slowly crept into the mainstream and even younger kids started using it in email and other social networks, the amusement was replaced by bewilderment and caused alarm in certain sectors.  On the extreme side, there were those who hated the jejemons so much that they wanted them eliminated.  Some even put up Facebook accounts calling for the "execution" of jejemons.

Recently as part of its clean up before the opening of schools this year, the education department released an order discouraging students from using jejemon spelling and grammar (or jejenese if you will) in communicating through text and chat messages.  The Education Secretary believes that jejenese could cause the deterioration of the young Filipinos' language skills.

While I commend the Secretary's good intentions, I believe that jejemons will have little effect on the language skills of students.  While they use it to communicate among themselves and with some of their unwary victims, I seriously doubt that these kids will use jejenese in their classes or in other formal communications.  Young people easily get bored and perhaps this is another one of their means to entertain themselves.  Like the others before them, jejemons will surely grow up and even wonder later on what made them do what they did.

So let the jejemons have fun while they could.   In the meantime, c3nz$zyA n@ pfh0uw... jejeje....

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