Taym pers! (transliteration of the phrase “time first”) is a common expression among Ilocano communities. Thus, the full version, “time out first,” is the literal translation from Tagalog expressions such as tigil muna (stop for a moment or for a while, for the mean time, before everything else, etc.) or teka (wait) muna.
Individuals, especially children, would utter this phrase when they are in dire need to take a break, too exhausted with their activities, feeling hopeless or weak but don’t want to give up on any type of games or activities. What is amazing is the individuals’ reaction to this expression. For instance, during play time, no matter how much kids are into their activities, they would automatically withdraw whatever they are doing every time they hear “taym pers!”. To cease interesting activities is frustrating but children would positively respond to this cry without even realizing its core value, that is, sympathy in it’s deepest sense.
I seldom hear this expression nowadays maybe because I didn’t get a chance to mingle with kids or Filipinos values have deteriorated. Has it simply become archaic and ineffective or has the level of people’s sensitivity significantly diminished? Have people been using this expression to take advantage of the ones showing care or giving chances?
Taym pers should always carry the value of sincerity as it provides relief and a chance to pull oneself up in times of adversities. We can always say “time first” when we need to pause. Time is all we need — to ponder, find solutions, heal wounds or chill out — in order to make things right if not better.