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Posted by Laya in

A what?!?!?!?

A "nation of servants"???

Frankly speaking as a patriotic Filipino woman, the first time I read that article by Chip Tsao (thank you for repost, sassyqarla), it made my blood boil. Srsly. But then I only read it after I read about its existence in another news article. By then it had been much maligned.

Only after the second or, let's be frank, third reading, did the word "satire" sink in. And I happen to love satire. Ever since I read about Benjamin Franklin writing "Silence Dogood" as a 16-year-old printer's boy in his brother's print shop, and setting Boston on its ear... now that was satire. I love it. I even like to write it at times.

The first reaction I had to the article was definitely not good. I kept typoing his name as either Cheap Chow, Cheap Tsao, or Chip Tsap (like chop-chop, comprende?) (I admit to wanting to curse in all the languages I know (English, Filipino, Hiligaynon, Bisaya and Kiniray-a), and then wanting to print the photo of Chip Tsao, stick it on a rag doll, and LBC it to Siquijor.)

Even when the word "satire" came out, there still is this feeling of indignation. *feels a rant coming on. Keep a hold on yourself, Laya.*


Yes, we know our people go to other countries to look for work. Yes, a lot of them end up in menial jobs. Yes, even if they otherwise have high academic credentials, they end up in menial jobs.

But just because someone has the misfortune of being situated in what you might view as a lower stratum of society than yours, doesn't give you the right to put your foot on their head and make them bow down before you (take that, Boyet Fajardo, whoever you think you are).

As the British say, it's just not good form.

As we Filipinos say, nadapa na nga inapakan mo pa (the person already stumbled and fell, and yet you stepped on him).


Looking at the article in a more reasonable mood, I guess we Filipinos have really gotten fed up with being considered second-class citizens and being poked fun at. Yes, it's real. Our recruitment agencies send people abroad to become other people's servants. (How ironic that sometimes, jobs in our country with more "prestige" pay less than menial jobs in other countries.) But we hate having it pointed out. We hate being stereotyped.

And that seems to be what happened in this column. Because the prevalent image of the Filipino in Hong Kong is a domestic helper, Tsao has set up that image to represent the Philippines as a whole... only a servant to China. And that's ugly, considering that the reverberations of the NBN Deal, the World Bank blacklist, and other Chinese-connected controversies, are still fresh in Filipinos' memories. Throw in the Spratlys dispute, and you have trouble.

In essence, Tsao may have been sending a message to the Chinese government about bullying smaller nations. But, whether he intended it or not, he has also sent a message to the Philippines reminding us that we have been beholden to China in many ways condoned and even encouraged by the present administration, that we also view China as encroaching on what we consider part of our own backyard, and that because of the loved-hated Filipino custom of "utang na loob" or "debt of honor," we might end up stepping aside rather than be viewed as ungrateful.

Yes, we Pinoys hate to "lose face", too. But instead of killing ourselves when we do, a lot of us would prefer to kill the person we perceive as responsible for our loss of face--- the one who pointed it out.

At least we didn't hire anyone to post those 4 long pages of comments on that article. Our people may work as servants in other countries, but they are servants with dignity. And at least they are servants who keep their minds their own.

This entry was posted at Tuesday, March 31, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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