Dedma 101from the book Twisted

Our word for the day is dedma.

I. Etymology. Dedma is the attenuated form of the English words dead malice. Dead malice, in turn, is the literal translation of the Tagalog expression, patay malisya. It is conjugated thus: dedma, dinedma, dededmahin.

I remember my sonsternation at first hearing dedma used in ordinary conversation. A friend was describing a chance public encounter between on couple, A and B, and another couple, Y and Z. Now A had once been seriously involved with Z, and B had been on the verge of marrying Y, not to mention that A and Y had been the closest of buddies, so close in fact that they were rumored to be having a homosexual relationship. Plus B and Z were cousins, so you can imagine the possibilities for going ballistic. The spectators licked their chops and held their breaths in anticipation of a juicy and scandalous scene, and then...

"Nagdedmahan silang lahat!" my friend exclaimed with glee. In other words, they averted an ugly confrontation through dedma.

Just what is dedma?

II. Meaning and Usage. As with many Tagalog words, there is no direct English translation for dedma. An extremely versatile verb, dedma has a wide range of meanings, viz.

1) To completely ignore/feign ignorance of the existence/presence of someone/something.
e.g. Dinedma ni Inday Badiday si Kris Aquino.
Dinedma ni FVR si Pavarotti.

2) To snub, reject, or toss in the trash.
e.g. Dededmahin ni Angara ang unicameralism bill ni De Venecia.

3) To pretend deafness or blindness in order to escape a sticky situation.
e.g. When Vina saw Robin with the mother of his children, dedma siya.

III. Classifications. As far as we know, there are three varieties of dedma.

A. Accidental. Sometimes, without meaning to, one applies this useful skill. This occurs through dheer absent mindedness, naivete, natural ignorance, or failure to put on one's contact lenses or hearing aid before leaving the house.

For instance. You arrive at a restaurant with a bunch of friends. At a corner table your boyfriend, who couldn't make it becasue he was allegedly in bed with the flu, is engaged in a very public display of affection with some floozy ("The Flu," I presume) from his office. Under normal circumstances you would run amuck; on this occasion, however, you forgot your contact lense at home. You do not see your boyfriend draped around the bimbo.

Your friends display this as an uncharacteristic display of self-control and admiringly remark, "Dinedma niya ang boyfriend niya." In this case, it is best to play along with them.

B. Practical. There are occasions when the best way to deal with a problem is to pretend it doesn't exist. On such occasions the practical thing is to practice the art of dedma.

Say you run into someone you loathe, someone on whom you'd like to perform a root canal without anaesthesia. You approach the sleazoid--and you notice the big, burly man behind him, hefting a clutchbag that obviously contains a gun. It would be foolhardy to proceed with your plan; at the same time, you want to demonstrate your repugnance in some way.

Solution: Dedmahin mo siya.

C. Malicious. Ignore the oxymoron: dedma may also be used to inflict pain. When properly wielded, it implies that words are useless, explanations are futile, and you had better get out of my face before I have the guards drag you out.

Imagine that an ex-friend of yours who has spilled your deep, dark secrets all over Metro Manila comes crawling to you for help. You want her to feel as horrible as she made you feel. Screamingwill not do--you will not give her the satisfaction of seeing you lose your composure.

What must you do? Apply dedma. Look right through her. Act like you can't hear a thing. Remember, revenge is best served cold.

IV. The Dedma Quiz. If you are adept at dedma, it will save you a lot of unpleasant exchanges and embarassing confrontations. Just how adept are you? Answer the following questions.

1. An insufferable twerp who fancies himself a Mel Gibson look-alike asks you to go out with him. You do not wish to have anything to do with said twerp, and say so. He does not believe you. He has the gall to suggest that you are playing games. What will you do?

a) Go out with him just to shut him up.
b) Make excuses and hope he will tire of trying.
c) Dedma time!

2) A friend who is habitually late arrives two hours after the appointed time. She begins babbling excuses for her tardiness, excuses you have heard countless time before. What will you do?
a) Forgive her; after all, it's in her nature.
b) Give her yet another lecture on good manners and right conduct
c) Dedma time!

3) You spread vile rumors about someone. She finally catches up with you and confronts you about your foul behaviour. You cannot deny what you've done. What will you do?
a) Ask for forgiveness.
b) Deny everything.
c) Dedma time!

Scoring: a=0 pts, b=0 pts, c=100 pts. If you scored 100 pts: You have potential, but need practice. If you scored 200 pts: You must sharpern your skills. If you scored 300 pts: Congratulations, you are on your way to becoming a dedmaster.