Thursday, June 19, 2008

What’s in a Name?

I had to renew my Drivers’ License yesterday. It will be expiring this weekend *hint hint*. Good thing my dad brought me to LTO Aguinaldo/Cubao where there are significantly less people, cars and fixers. I abhor bureaucracy and its inefficiency and a crowded office makes it worse. I passed time waiting for my turnS (with an S because you have to wait for your turn several times as you have to go through several windows for processing, verification, cashier, 2 pictures and signatures, drug test and medical examinations etc. etc.) watching the Lakers-Celtics game (Go Celtics!).

As I was filling out my forms, the man in the Drug Testing area saw that I indicated that I am married but still use my maiden name. He goes,

LTO guy: Ma’am palitan niyo po to. Sinisita sa LTO ito. Married ka pero hindi ka nagpalit ng apelyido.

Me: Ayoko. It’s in the law.

LTO guy: Kinukwestyon po yan eh. Palitan niyo na lang para hindi magulo.

Me: Mas magulo kung papalitan ko yan. Besides it’s in the law. Pwede kong gamitin ang maiden name ko.

LTO guy: Bahala po kayo. (Sighing)

Me (Annoyed with my maldita tone): Oo, bahala ako. Review kayo ng laws niyo ha.

I hate the fact that a person is making me feel that I am obligated to take the name of my husband. I felt that because it was unusual, it was a nuisance. What a pile of macho shit.

There is a thread at GirlTalk on the topic of carrying the husband’s surname. A significant number of respondents chose to hyphenate their surname with their husband’s name for a feeling of equality. A few kept using their Maiden name. There were experiences that show husbands throwing a hissy fit when their wives chose to hyphenate or use their maiden name, and women are forced to submit and totally change their name. There are also experiences similar to mine, where Government Agencies do not accept hyphenated or maiden names when indicated that a woman is married.

For the benefit of Government Agencies (and other institutions and establishments),

Article 370 of Republic Act 386 reads:

A married woman may use:

(1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname, or

(2) Her maiden first name and her husband's surname or

(3) Her husband's full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as "Mrs."

Note: There have been bills in Senate and the Lower House Amending this Article in the Civil Code to add that married woman may use HER MAIDEN FIRST NAME AND SURNAME.

Excerpts from A petition at the Supreme Court

Marriage does not change a woman's name, it merely changes her civil status. Her true and real name is that given to her and entered in the Civil Registry which she may continue to use despite her marriage or cessation of marriage for whatever reason she may have (Herrera, Remedial Law, 1996 Ed. III-A, p. 338, citing Yasin v. Judge, Shari'a District Court, 241 SCRA 606 (1995))._

Under the present article of our Code, however, the word "may" is used, indicating that the use of the husband's surname by the wife is permissive rather than obligatory. We have no law which provides that the wife shall change her name to that of the husband upon marriage. This in is consonance with the principle that surnames indicate descent. It seems, therefore, that a married woman may use only her maiden name and surname. She has an option, but not a duty, to use the surname of the husband in any of the ways provided by this Article." (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Commentaries and Jurisprudence, 1990, Vol. I, p. 675.)

Did we not all read these Shakespeare lines:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

What is it with men, then, when their wife uses her maiden name? Is a wife less appealing when she uses the name she was known for throughout her life?We trace this insecurity of males from the feudal view that women are mere materials that are meant for ownership. To carry the family name of the male signifies ownership just as a haciendero brands his cows.

I do not plan to carry the name of my husband (even though he has a relatively common and nice sounding family name). I just prefer my own. The fact of the matter is that he likes my surname more and asked if he can use mine. He likes it so much, one of his favorite shirts is my intramural shirt with my surname printed in its full glory at the back. Like most laws in the country, Article 370 of Republic Act 386 is just rhetoric if institutions, worse, GOVERNMENT Agencies do not comply.

By the way, a change of record (that is, my Civil Status) cost me 30 pesos. The Medical Check up was a sham for P100: Imagine putting 85kg on my record when the nures(?) didn't even look at the scale (That's 185 pounds! I assure you, I am nowhere near that). Worse, they issued me a temporary license as the lone printer bogged down just as it was printing my ID.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Among Ed!

Last Saturday, June 7, Among Ed launched his blog at the Executive House in San Fernando Pampanga. Luckily, I was invited by Mong of Blogger's Kapihan to the launch with about 20 other delegates from Manila.

When we arrived there, it was obviously an event directed towards the youth. Almost all of the guests are all under the age of 30, most probably under 25. Aside from Among Ed and the emcees, the invited speakers were also quite young (one of which is Jhay Rocas of the Blogger's Kapihan).

(Manila bloggers brought their artillery of laptops and cameras. I just brought my point and shoot camera. Inggit ako sa mga DSLR! And inggit ako sa ASUS EEE ni Tonyo. Among Ed also liked the EEE. heehee)

Among Ed is such an unassuming man. I hardly noticed that he arrived in the room. He was wearing a simple polo shirt, pants and sandals. He didn’t immediately assume a seat in front. He stood at the registration booth talking to his young Cabalens until he was acknowledged to speak. When he spoke, he had none of those highfaluting speeches on politics. He was direct to his point: his hopes for the country and the youth.

(Pictures will have to follow. I can’t seem to find my camera in my topsy-turvy dwelling. Apparently, I am still adjusting from being the brat to a “housewife”. But that’s a totally a different blog post. )

Just the week before, Jun Lozada also launched his own blog organized by the BK Crew. Apparently, the “elders” (Among Ed’s term, not mine) are learning to explore cyberspace (particularly blogging) as a medium to propagate their opinions, thoughts and experiences. Their primary target audience: the youth. For a media that is dominated by individualist and reactionary thought, it is such a relief for me that the youth has a (growing) source that offers the alternative.

Visit their blogs:
Among Ed
Jun Lozada

Coming soon... our tour at the Center for Kapampangan Studies (which I love!).


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