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Philippines: The jejemon craze

As millions of Filipinos closely followed the Philippine election campaign, conduct, and results, another phenomenon by the name “jejemon” is stealing the spotlight for other Filipinos, especially online where jejemon enthusiasts and haters compete for attention.

But what is jejemon in the first place? Posts defining the term are proliferating all over the Philippine blogosphere. The sum of these efforts is the assignment of attributes that constitutes jejemon as an identity/subclass/subculture. Now Showing, for example, indicates 3 signs to identify a jejemon.

1.JEJETYPING. 2. Wearing a jeje-hat 3. People start to talk about you and share your jeje-photos online.

The primary source of these definitions comes from the Urban Dictionary website which features mostly its negative qualities:

- a person WhO tyPeZ lYKeS tH1s pfOuh..
whether you are RICH, MIDDLE CLASS or POOR ifpK eU tYpE L1K3 tHiS pfOuh..eU are CONSIDERED AS JEJEMON.
– (noun or adj.)—a person who is very expert in typing..
– a person that nevr (sic) gets tired of typing consonants in all of his comments…
– people with very LOW IQ
– a person that destroys the morale of language in any typing media like internet, cellphones…etc…
– a person you want to fuck off and kill
– an emo/gangster who owns all the possible negative qualities of a person.

Artuji finds the discrimination against jejemon ironic.

It’s interesting that Jejemons are typically being discriminated in Philippine culture and yet, an earlier and original form of language – Leet is actually a globally accepted form of writing, specially in the intellectual geek community. And even Google has it’s own Leet Page.

Our Very Existence rails against jejemon haters.

Other than their hideous attempt of styling their sentences, what else gives you the rush to make you want to kill them? I’ve seen a lot of people reply to this mindless fan profiles some stuff that say “kill all jejemons” and some other sentences with the more or less the same message. One question: What did Jejemons do to you?

The Marocharim Experiment analyzes jejemon fashion.

The average Jejemon… combines aspects of hip-hop, rock, emo-core, metal, and original Pilipino music in one ensemble. The fashion statement, as with many others, exists within one coherent syntagm:

Example 1: Imitation Havaianas, hip-hop shorts, Saosin shirt, eyeliner/mascara, trucker cap.
Example 2: Imitation Converse, skinny jeans, Three-Stars-and-a-Sun shirt, bandanna, sunglasses, trucker cap.
Example 3: Imitation Crocs, striped knit stockings, fishnet stockings, denim cut-offs, tube top, eyeliner/mascara, Fly shades/Shutter shades, dyed hair in cornrows.

The colored trucker-cap, however, manifests a desire for uniqueness, even at the expense of inconvenience. It speaks of “imba,” a gaming term which refers to “imbalanced” characters, which can also refer to the kind of walking required to both show off and keep the cap in position. It therefore necessitates a certain gait while walking, similar to hip-hop recording artists…

Based on the examples above, however, Jejemon fashion is not strictly or completely the imitation of foreign culture or popular trends. Instead, it attempts to make the wearer stand out even in situations that are already fashionable.

Nick wonders why the jejemon craze seems to be getting even more interests than the elections.

Why in the world has the elections taken such a back seat, and interest in Jejemons spiked up? Actually, over at plurk, someone shared that among search terms in The Philippines, the elections doesn’t even come in the top 10. That’s pretty surprising and a bit worrisome. Although, I know that it seems that more people are more engaged in this election, I don’t really have the numbers to justify that assertion.

The Views credits the coining of the term jejemon for its popularity.

Two to three years ago, my friends and I used the term “jologs” in naming these people who type in sTiCkY cApS mixed with txtspk… No, it did not reach media status since the term jologs didn’t bring much impact as contrasted to the word “jejemon.”

Hits and Mrs. thinks it's just a fad.

Truth to tell, I think that this is just a fad, something that will cease to exist in the years to come. I think so primarily because of the fact that most people considered Jejemons today are the young ones, those who are still discovering their true identities. Recall that once in your younger days you also were into fads, whatever your social or educational status may be, and people in their late 20s and early 30s were looking at you condescendingly. It’s just that now you’re in the other side of the fence, so to speak.

But for University of the Philippines Dean of Mass Communication Rolando Tolentino, the jejemon phenomenon is situated in a bigger context of social marginalization.

Ang paglikha ng kaantasan ay hindi lamang simpleng paghihiwalay sa may K (karapatan) at sa wala. Ito ay paglikha rin ng epistemiko at maging literal na karahasan (sa kaso nga ng jejemon sa Urban Dictionary na may tasitong panghihimok ng annihilation). Inetsapwera na nga sila ng estado, ineetsapwera pa sila ng mismong mamamayan nito.

Samakatuwid, ito ang tagumpay ng mismong estado. Hindi nito kailangan gumawa ng batas para ietsapwera ang peligrosong mamamayan. Epekto na lamang ang pagkaetsapwera ng lantarang polisiyang ekonomiko at politika nakapabor sa naghaharing uri ng bansa. At ang isang direktang epekto nga ng paglikha ng hegemoniya ng naghaharing uri—na pati ang pinaghaharian ay umaastang kabahagi ng ideolohiya ng naghahari—na muling nag-eetsapwera sa mamamayan.

The creation of social distinction is not simply the segregation of those with rights and those who have none. It is also the creation of epistemic and even literal violence (in the case of jejemon in the Urban Dictionary, the tacit invitation for annihilation). They are already relegated by the state to the sideline, but they are also marginalized by its own citizens.

Ergo, this is the victory of the state. It does not need to legislate laws to marginalize “dangerous” citizens. The marginalization caused by economic and political policies that favor the country's ruling classes have become mere effects. And one direct effect is the creation of the hegemony of the ruling classes – where even the ruled are posturing to partake in the dominant ideology – who are again marginalizing the people.

The Construct adds,

I would say this is also hegemonic. It boils down to the aesthetic appeal of standard language. Many Facebook users have decided to discriminate against these jejemons particularly because they situate themselves as part of the elite. Their access to better education and greater exposure to “beautiful” use of language have minimized their tolerance for those who express themselves differently.

One must not overlook the “mon” in the blend “jejemon.” It may seem so innocent but we must be reminded that “mon” in Pokemon means “monster.” Isn’t this a way of demonizing this social group? That they are of a lower species? That people need to “catch them all” and tame and train them to do one’s bidding? Language as a repressive state apparatus.

In the same vein, Zineulat answers a few questions about jejemon.

1. How did “Jejemon” came out?

It is interesting to note that the term “Jejemon” as the name of the subcultural group now known as “Jejemon” did not originate from themselves. It is the public, the middle class and the upper classes that most probably labeled such subcultural group as jejemons, based upon their observation that these individuals text or communicate digitally and electronically using a distinct form of language…

4. Is “Jejemon” a social construct?

Yes. But the social construction was negatively done by the upper classes. More particularly, the negation of the jejemons is an elitist stand against the lower classes. This means that while the lower classes are able to accommodate and use the democratized technology of the capitalists, the elitist rulers continue the “othering” by ensuring that the jejemons would not be able to fully enter their circle. It is of course different in cases where and when the jejemons are “legitimized” by mainstream media and other capitalist corporations because basically they are able to reek in superprofit out of the othered subculture of jejemons.

Meanwhile, According to Matthew places the jejemon craze with the rise of new social media.

If there’s one thing that is really phenomenal with the Jejemons and the subsequent rise of Jejebusters, it’s the active integration of media, the Internet, television, and print, in dealing with a societal issue. Such phenomenon has proven again that interrelations within the members of the society nowadays has been relying heavily in media.

9 comments

  • There’s also an iPhone app developed to convert normal messages to Jejemon. You can see how similar Jejemon is to Leet (also supported by the app).

    http://msgscrambler.blogspot.com

  • This is just another fad, brought to attention because of mainstream media in the Philippines are now closely monitoring Facebook and Twitter.

    A few years ago, “txt lingo” was the subject of heated yet shallow debates between self-appointed “grammar police” and users of “txt lingo”.

  • it is just reading greek, it is fun actually, and if you can transcode it, it is easy to understand. You got to be savvy in text type to know all of this jejemons style of text writing. The Deped should learn from these youngters to undertand them fully.

  • Mil

    Dear Jejemon People

    Kung na hihirapan po kayo ng sulat ng Tagalog or Pilipino, ibalik n lang ntin yong Original n Alpabeton pilipino mas maganda yong atless napraktis natin ang sariling sulat natin..,

    Salamat po sa mga Jejemon daw ang tawag sa kanila ng gumagamit ng sulat na sila lang ang makaintindi dahil sa niyo … binubuhay ninyo ang sariling sulat natin noon panahon na wala pa mga dayuhan sa atin bansa kaya ang DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ay muling isasali sa atin pagaaral ang sariling sulat natin..

    P.S sa susunod n blog ko yong n ang sulat ko.

    Salamat po..

  • Mil

    sa la ma sa ga do-du o-u na go-gu ma ga wa de-di ye-yi de-di ye-yi mo-mu na so-su la

  • Jejemon texting maybe a fun trend as others would think.Ang disadvantage lang huwag natin sanayin ang mga bata na magsulat jejemon ‘pag nasa school na sila.Pano na lang kung pinapasulat kayo ng theme writing,essay,term paper,thesis,o formal document ng boss mo,o magetetext sa client mo,jejemon ang sulat mo.& D WORST OF ALL,it’s awkward to see adults in their late 20s & early 30s txting in jejemon.Especially d lower class.So pinoys SHOULD try to separate their jejejmon lifestyle from school & at work.

    ADVANTAGE:Jejemon language can also be used as an ideal encoded language for “military intelligence”.In order not to be intercept by foreign enemies.WHY?Dahil dito lang sa Pinas ang jejemon.He!He!He!

    OTHER SOURCE:Before jejemon.Basahin nyo ‘yung buong Windows Help menu na “How to Creating a Strong Password”.I think dun nila nakuha ‘yung idea. :-)

  • […] vitsivitsy lasa izay, Global Voices dia nanasongadina ny Jejemons ary notaterintsika ireo tenin'ny Urban Dictionary Website hamaritana an'i Jejemon – olona […]

  • […] Check Global Voices for a related article, “Philippines:  The jejemon craze”. […]

  • Arman

    j3j3 +#4nk$ ph0ueszx $4 !nFh0ueszx.. j3j3j33j3j3j3j3j3j3j3j3j3j3jj3j3j3j3j3j33j3j3j3j3j3j3…

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