The "Bawal Umihi Dito" Sign as a Metaphor of the Pinoy Mentality

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One of the many "bawal" signs in the Philippines I remember riding on a trycicle with Tito  Benje, my Filipina wife's uncle.  After overtaking a bus on a double solid line (as Filipinos always do), he said something along the lines of " sa Pilipinas lahat ay pwede", basically meaning that in the Philippines you can do whatever you want and that road signs and markings are, more often than not, mere decorations. Bawal Umihi Dito, Bawal Magtapon ng Basura Dito.... One of the features of the Philippine landscape is the huge amount of signs that remind people that urinating against a public or private wall, on a sidewalk or against a pole and disposing of the garbage on the side of the road, in a river or a canal is not socially acceptable and that the offender might (theoretically) be given a multa, should a  buwaya be around. My bayaw told me in a very straightforward manner that Filipinos love urinating and disposing of their garbage exactly there where a sign s

What is the "Ay" Marker in the Tagalog Language?

 In Tagalog there is no such thing as the verb to be.


In many Western languages we use the verb "to be" in such sentences as:


"I am Italian"


"I am an office worker"


"I am a husband"


"She is my wife"


"Rodrigo Duterte is the president of the Philippines"


"Mocha Uson is a politician"


And so on


In Tagalog these sentences would literally read:


"Italian I"-Italyano ako


"Office worker I"-Empleyado ako


"Husband I"-Asawang lalaki ako


"My wife she"-Asawa ko siya


"President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte"-Presidente ng Pilipinas si Rodrigo Duterte (I have explained how to use the marker si before a personal name in my post about markers in Tagalog)


"Politician Mocha Uson"-Pulitiko si Mocha Uson


The order of all these sentences can be switched by using the marker ay.


So, for example, the expression Italyano ako can be flipped like this: ako ay Italyano


Pulitiko si Mocha Uson can be switched and turned into: si Mocha Uson ay (ang isang) pulitiko


The same kind of switching can be done when using verbs


If, for example, I am using the verb to go in a sentence like pumunta ako sa Pilipinas (I went to the Philippines), I can flip that sentence and say: ako ay pumunta sa Pilipinas


Or, if I say something like nagbabasa ako ng isang aklat (I am reading a book), I can switch it like this: ako ay nagbabasa ng isang aklat 


Just remember that ay is just a marker that switches the order of the sentence and has nothing to do with the verb to be, as there is no verb to be in Tagalog.


Ay can also have another meaning: you can hear it in a sentence like ay naku! 


In this case ay basically means oh, and the whole expression ay naku! means something like oh my goodness!


I hope this clarifies what ay means in Tagalog.

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