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I vehemently react to “Marites”.

This is supposed to be a beautiful name for a woman. Currently though, it has become a way to derogate somebody. I wonder, and even feel pity, how the real Mariteses are squirming each time they hear of their name no longer as they meant to be but as pejorative. In baptisms, I doubt if I can encounter again of parents who would give their child a name as Marites. Truth be told, it used to be such a fabulous title or name. Originally, it is a sort of a merger of “Maria” and “Teresa”. The name Maria is always automatically synonymous to gentle manners and firmness of the spirit, refereeing to who-else-who (BVM). Teresa, on the other hand, signifies abundance as it commonly defined as “harvester”. Moreover, the Old Irish of derivative of which (Treise or Toireasa) slants to “strength”. No-brainer, to be Marites is rather lovely.

Unfortunately, “Marites” has come to be (mis)understood as “Mare, ito ang latest?”, a line that signals long-winded chatting over anything, or just about anything, including about anyone. To say the least, it is a subtle invitation to engage one in umaatikabong chismisan. Hence, Marites has been the title of one who is marked to be as the chikadora ng bayan.

Sad to say, “Marites” has turned into a fad as it has become a form of entertainment to many. For some, it is a favorite pastime and leisure. In the long run, it can already be mutating as an addiction; you cannot pass a day without a thing or two about talking behind somebody’s back. Quite lamentably, the phenomenon of gossiping has hitherto been in the social milieu and even in the collective psyche of us all.

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At the end of the day, somebody gets hurt by gossips. Unfounded stories, much less fabricated, benefit no one. Such leisure time is in reality a waste of time, and of energy. Entertainment of that kind is uncalled for, unbecoming indecency and even unchristian. In moral-ethical parlance, it is downright sinful in the order of calumny or slander. The act is defined as “remarks contrary to truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.” (CCC, 2477). Moreover, while “maritessing” damages other names, it destroys community and healthy social relationships as well.

Lo and behold, this newspaper had posted the number of real Mariteses – 899 in Palawan! While numerous reacted negatively to its newsworthiness, it is also worth pondering upon why was it published as such. Further, the infamous moniker has transformed to be gremlin-like with numerous names more – “Maritoni’ has come to mean “Mare, ito ang sabi ni…”; “Maricon” is “Mare, confirmed!”,”Marina” is “Mare, ano na?”, “Mariela” is “Mare, elaborate mo pa.”, “Maricar” is “Mare, kararating ko lang anong chika?”, and so on and so forth. I am sure, you are already adding some more names inside your mind as you actually get entertained by those thoughts…. Aminin.

What does the list tell us of our culture then? In truth and in fact, “Marites” is on women. I personally protest on behalf of women. How dare that it is just so easy for our society to point a finger at women as the automatic culprit in rumormongering? Women have had enough of discrimination since time immemorial. For all we know, there could be a lot more of chismosos than chismosas around. In one way or another, in many ways than one, we all have succumbed to the sin of bearing false witness against a neighbor. And so, please, spare women.

Definitely, nobody in one’s right mind would wish to fall prey to a “Marites” around. As such, do not be a “Marites” yourself to others. Instead, before we do wag our tongue again, consider this – “… Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”(Philippians 4:8)

Enough of “Maritessing”. Let civility allow a true Marites to live up to her fantabulous name.

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