… mga letse kayong lahat! … heheheh!
the word “leche” of the spaniards, who decided to colonize and christianize the natives of luzon but did not bother bother to explain about the finer distinction between eschatological and scatological, became a tagalog cuss word.
but here’s a short guide: the former deals with the second coming, the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, heaven and hell from their own bible reference;
the latter, on the other hand, is about giving someone hell, i.e. “letse”.
one is obsessed with fatal matters, the other with fecal matters, and this is an important starting point because it appears these people have mastered both.
that’s why they are credited with having brought many to the christian fold and having formulated one of the world’s most devastating invectives ever hurled right here in the island of luzon.
so, why “milk”?
some people who have some familiarity in this area think that milk, when used as a profanity in spanish, refers to male sperm, presumably because of the similarity in color between the two liquidy substances, and that somehow the phrase in and of itself becomes offensive.
you are cautioned not to buy into that line of thinking immediately.
the etymological theory to which many people subscribe is the one which is reasonably related to the eschatological-scatological conundrum as mentioned earlier: that leche is derived from “me cago en la leche,” which literally translates to “I defecate in the milk.”
now, this phrase is meant to be not just irreverent and profane but outrightly blasphemous of the catholic rite of communion.
why? because leche is used interchangeably with the word hostia or host — as in “me cago en la hostia,” among many other colorful usages, especially in spain and puerto rico.
for catholics, the “host,” of course, is the religious symbolism for the “body of christ,” or the host of the eucharist, so how more offensive can you get to catholics than by uttering that deplorably hideous phrase?
nobody really knows whether the tagalog who first used leche as an obscenity knew of its etymology, as we, also know that the spaniards did not really want the luzon inhabitants to learn spanish at first.
but the natives caught on to their overlords’ language anyway, albeit incompletely and inaccurately; while they probably got the “milk” part and that part only — but appropriated it nonetheless for their own use.
it is also entirely possible, of course, that some just purposefully shortened the phrase to make it more emphatic and more punchy while at the same time avoiding the use of the potty word cago.
hence, they say “leche!” most commonly but pronounced and spelled “letse!” when they swear in local tagalog.
and when they want to direct their ire to a specific person or persons, quite nonsensically they say “leche ka!” or “you’re milk!” and “mga leche kayo lahat!” or “you are all milk!”, without really comprehending what they are in fact saying and without knowing they may be “attacking” their very own religion.
they do know one thing: that when they are yelling these intended obscenities, they want to give the recipients some measure of hell.
as to the recipients, they can only wish, quite understandably, that the second coming is indeed nigh.