17 July 2014


Theme Thursday 12

The last time I did a Theme Thursday post, I also tried to visit all the bloggers who had participated in it three years ago. Some of the blogs were no longer active, but I left comments for all those which were. It was nice to be reminded of the reason I started doing Theme Thursday posts back then: the show-and-tell aspect of everyone reaching into his current read and pulling out something both similar and different. But it was also a little sad to give old posts some comment love; I felt as if I were writing letters to people whose old diaries I had come across in an attic.

Since I'll be doing that again this week, for the theme from 9 March 2011, I'm bracing myself right now.

This Week's Theme:

The jeep he did his traveling on was quite old but didn't look it. He had bought it second-hand when he first started out as a salesman. He had painted it red and black and decorated it with lace curtains and streamers and pin-ups. The name of the jeep was Roxy but he called it Jeeprox.

. . . he kept Roxy always clean, cool, slick, unrattled, well-shod, and on premium.

This snippet is from the story "The Traveling Salesman and the Split Woman" from the collection "Gotita de Dragon" and Other Stories (which is, of course, Option 30 in the June/July Giveaway). And it's the perfect way for me to explain how organically Filipino Nick Joaquin's stories are--even if he wrote them in English!

So what did you imagine when you read that the story's traveling salesman rides around in a "jeep"? Some rugged, heavy-duty, off-road vehicle? Well, it's true that the original jeeps of the Philippines were US army jeeps that adapted to post-war life rather well, but by the inspiration for this story was another generation of "jeeps" that had come to dominate the roads, and which were properly called the jeepney.

Since a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words (minus the seven that are needed for that saying?), let me show you how a jeepney looks. This is the picture I like to send to my European trainees:

I only wish I could see the looks on their faces
. . . or the looks on yours, dear readers!

Many of the jeepney that I ride to work look like the above, "design template" and all. That is, the main body usually has one "theme," like Marvel superheroes (and I'm not kidding!) . . . while the two front doors have some unrelated art, such as a portrait of the driver's child . . . and the decorative mud flaps (or whatever they're supposed to be!) along the sides and back have the names of patron saints, beloved family members or a nickname the driver fancies for himself, in graffiti-style "font." But these are the modern jeepney and very different from what Joaquin would have seen on the roads over forty years ago.

In those days, jeepney design was less about self-expression than about shared ideas of fun and fiesta. Hence the streamers on Jeeprox, which are less common these days.

This looks a little more like my childhood

So if you're going to picture Jeeprox in your mind, make sure that she looks more like an exhibit at a cultural festival than like a souped-up MySpace page on wheels. (Yes, "she": Jeeprox isn't just Doy's ride; she's also a supporting character with an important part to play!)

Which reminds me that the nickname "Jeeprox" is a play on "Jeprox," which is part of the hook of this classic Filipino Rock anthem . . .

Chant "Laki sa layaw/ Laki sa layaw" anywhere
and everyone will know that the answer is "Jeprox"!

Itinerante thought it would be fun to listen to a song in Filipino and to see if the meaning would still come across to those who don't understand the language at all. I agree, so here's a little quiz you can take after listening to the track . . .

1) Mike Hanopol is singing about a certain type of person. What is his general sentiment toward that type?
a. admiration
b. disgust
c. horror
d. romantic love

2) "Jeprox" is Filipino slang for which 1970s archetype?
a. the Activist
b. the Feminist
c. the Hippie
d. the Punk

3) "Laki sa layaw" describes the childhood of someone whose father was likely . . .
a. dead
b. emotionally distant
c. poor
d. rich

I'll share the answers in the combox in a couple of days. Until then, have fun guessing! =)

If you're also curious about Doy and Jeeprox, remember that you can win "Gotita de Dragon" and Other Stories in the giveaway, which will also close in a few days. If you haven't yet entered or collected all the entries you're eligible for, here is the Rafflecopter to make things easier for you . . .

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Image Sources: a) "Gotita de Dragon" and Other Stories by Nick Joaquin, b) Jeepney 1, c) Jeepney 2


Itinérante said...

I think I will add Filipino to the languages that I want to learn! (I know only three words: salamat, pinoy and pinay for guy and girl right??
So! I am sure my guessing will be totally silly and ridiculous but it is fun to try it!
1-a 2-c 3-c

Ps. The picture joke was so funny (the minus 7 words one)!!

DMS said...

I am guessing b, c, c. I have no clue and am probably off- I was just trying to go with my gut. :)

Thanks for sharing the pictures. I had NO idea that is what they looked like now or when you were growing up. Fascinating!


DMS said...

I just went back and checked and I meant to write 1b-2c-3d. :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Itinerante -- Correct! Or as we say, tama! (Stress on the first syllable.)

Any time someone says that a picture is worth a thousand words, I remind him that he needed words to say that. ;-)

Jess -- Thanks for playing along as well. =) The answer will be up soon.

Paul Stilwell said...

They're like mini buses, only cooler.

I've always wondered what Marc Bolan meant by "jeepster", and this post made me look it up.

He meant he would go "off-roading" for his love.


Enbrethiliel said...


I never did post the answers, did I? *facepalm* They are:

1) b
2) c
3) d

A "jeprox" is a slacker/hippie type who got that way because his parents spoiled him.