I know I’m rehashing this but I have an obligation to keep. This is a shot at any and all irresponsible tattoo artists and their victims. I know who are true practitioners of Baybayin and unless you have gotten something from one of them or your work has been validated you need to stand down. I also know tattoo artists who will pass on doing Baybayin because they can’t validate the work, to those few responsible folks, thank you!
Baybayin tattoos have grown tremendously over the years and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Over the years I have seen a lot of tattoos. I’ve had people show me their tattoos at festivals that I’ve participated in. Many of them done beautifully and transliterated perfectly or at the least “acceptable”. However, I’ve also seen MANY MORE transliterated incorrectly to the point that the recipient would have been better off getting it done in Roman alphabet instead. I’ve been in very awkward situations where I had to tell someone their Baybayin tattoo was wrong. Please do not turn Baybayin into a disposable trend.
Now, I can understand if it were 15 years ago, back then there weren’t many resources. The chances of a transliteration to go bad was much higher. With today’s technology and online resources, there just isn’t any excuse that someone can still get it wrong and permanently mark their skin or allow and PAY someone to do so.
Getting a tattoo is a personal journey. There is the excitement, anxiety, pain and gratification. You just can’t get anymore personal than that, and the artist is there with you on that journey. Don’t cheat yourself or allow yourself be cheated.
I dislike being a Baybayin cop. I honestly do not find any pleasure in telling people of their infractions. If you are a tattoo artist, I would hope that you did your homework on Baybayin before you start inking up folks. NO!, “artistic license” will not get you off the hook and neither will “interpretations”. WTF!? does that mean?
Baybayin is a writing system, there is nothing mystical about it. A writing system reflects the spoken language. Do you know that means? It means you cannot and I repeat CANNOT take English words like LIVE or LAUGH or LOVE and write it in Baybayin as LI BE, LA U G H, LO BE. Really? Are you serious? Here’s a tip; take those English words and find the Filipino equivalent. Use a dictionary, remember those things? An English to Filipino one. As the artist, you either know what you are doing or not, period. You are doing a disservice to yourself as a tattoo artist, your shop and the people who came to you.
I’ve seen what’s been posted online, social networks and what’s been sent to me via email. I can tell you, folks are getting ripped off and those who end up with these horrible tattoos have cheated themselves. The artist is not entirely to blame, the clients are also at fault for not doing their homework. Oh, and just because the artist is Filipino, does not automatically make that person an expert nor does it mean he/she knows how to write it properly.
Research the artist and ask questions, lots of questions and if the artist becomes aggravated and slow to assist, move on and find another resource. Do not become a victim of ignorance. If you are able to use a smart phone or computer, are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you are perfectly capable of educating yourself. A terrible tattoo is a sorry ass excuse for “I didn’t know.” Remember my mantra, “Think before you ink, laser removal ain’t cheap.”
For those of you curious about what I wrote in the picture above, and you haven’t figured it out, it’s the incorrectly transliterated word MANDARAYA. It means cheater in the absolute most prejudiced way possible.