April 1, 2009

War at Home by Chip Tsao


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The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen onboard. We can live with that-—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That's no big problem-—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on-—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: There are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as HK$3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don't flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell everyone of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her Government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The Government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout 'China, Madam/Sir' loudly whenever they hear the word "Spratly". They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, "Long live Chairman Mao!" at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that's going a bit too far, at least for the time being.


A close friend of mine as of yesterday (today I don't know if were still friends at all) told me about this guy named Chip Tsao and his so-called racist remarks against us--Filipinos. Maybe she figured I would be interested, I asked her what's with this guy? She told me he called the Philippines a nation of servants or something like that and I told her so what's wrong? I sensed she was somewhat upset of the statement like those many others who I've just found out reacted violently. This is not news to me, we hear things like this from time to time. I remember way back when I was a kid, Claire Danes movies were banned because she said that Manila is full of cockroaches. I also remember one time we protested against a company who named a biscuit brand "Filipina". Just last year, we also protested against ABC's hit T.V show Desperate Housewives because of its insulting remark against Filipino Medical practitioners. There are actually countless more of this and yes, I would agree at some degree these are insulting, racists, and totally unacceptable however, these statements speak of truth--maybe not entirely true but there are basis to these statements.


You know what they say about the truth, it hurts.

The publisher and editors of HK Magazine wish to apologize unreservedly for any offense that may have been caused by Chip Tsao's column dated March 27.

HK Magazine has long championed the rights of Filipinos working in Hong Kong. We note that Filipinos have often been unfairly treated in Hong Kong, and that they make an important contribution to this community.

As a magazine, we would never want to say anything that would negate that belief.

The column in question was satirical. One aspect of satire is that it can at times be read in different ways. In this particular case, many people have read meanings into this column that were never actually intended.

We wish to assure our readers that we have nothing but respect for Filipinos, both living in Hong kong and abroad.



That statement above was issued by the HK Magazine Editors and Publishers where the article came out. Just like what was said in the statement, the article is satirical and can be read in different ways. It's understandable that most Filipinos will find it offensive but let's try to read it differently.

First of all, we are way off the actual topic in question which was about the Philippines claim over Spratly's Islands. I feel it's important for everyone to know, especially all of those Filipino's who violently reacted what is the issue all about. The basics should at least be known so that we will understand where our Chinese counterpart Chip Tsao is coming from. Our congress ratified the Philippines Baselines Bill that sets our countries territories despite of China's consistent protests because they claim that some Islands stated in the bill has always been a part of China. The issue of the Spratlys Islands is too complicated given that there is no actual means to prove one's claim because the basis in itself is different. China claims the Spratlys based on historical account while we claim it because of geographical reasons covered but what is known as the Archipelagic Doctrine which is recognized in the United Nations given that the Philippines and Indonesia are archipelago's and are therefore a special case when it comes to settling territorial disputes. It's quite a mess, and it's natural for one to be angered when one claims a property as their own when the other openly claims it as well. It's like a dispute between neighbors fighting over a tree that lies in the middle of the lot. Let's say, the other wants to cut the tree while the other wants to preserve it because it gives a nice shade in their garden. What happened was, the Philippines, despite of the unsettled dispute already cut the tree down. It's natural for China and it's citizens to be mad and upset about what happened. In Chip Tsao's own words As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I would have probably reacted the same way, given that I personally have interests with things related to our country's foreign affairs however, I would not say or include in my statement that China doesn't have the right to claim Spratly's because all made in China products are substandard nor will I say that China doesn't have that right because they caused the world a problem last year with the issue on Melamine.

I agree, Chip Tsao may have crossed the line on that article. This is even more apparent for many of us that only read the line "As a nation of servants, you don't flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter." Or maybe to those who were already outraged of what they heard in the news before they even read the article giving them an impaired and bias approach because they were only looking for words or statements that would make them even more angry.What I am trying to say here is that we should read criticisms such as this one with an open mind. Our department of Tourism, even Malacañang itself proudly states that the Filipinos is among the best workers. We are proud that there is not a single ship that sails the oceans that doesn't have Filipino crew on board. We are proud that our nurses can be found in hospitals around the world and we even take pride of our "Bagong Bayani" who proudly serves foreign homes such as Chip Tsao's not only in HongKong but in most countries. So what is wrong when he said that our country is a nation of servants and I don't see that changing in the near future. Our president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo takes pride whenever she says that there are jobs for Filipinos, ofcourse, we all know she's not referring to local jobs but those jobs that requires one to leave his own family behind and not see them for God knows long.

I see that the real issue here is not his statements, and not even Chip Tsao himself but us and our inability to accept the fact that a change is needed. We often get too irritated whenever someone notices our obvious faults, why can't we just do something and change so that nobody will even dare say anything against us.

Finally, nakapag-post din ng bago. Nasira ang pc ng isang linggo at tapos noon naging busy namana ako. Jhosel, you're right. Lumalabas na ako ngayon. I went on a date. Nyahahaha Tungkol sana doon iyong i-post ko but I can't seem to write about it. I wanted to write something about that, and the other girl but ayoko magsulat ng puno pa ako ng inis at kalungkutan. Pasensya sa mga nag-submit ng ID request, I will work on that ASAP. Sorry din kay Aisa at hindi ko pa nagagawa iyong tag and salamat kay Pope sa Uber Blog Award na ito.


More on my next post, I have a lot of catching up to do.

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13 comments:

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A-Z-E-L said...

welcome back...
kaya ka pala nawala overused na pala ang pc mo.

about the "pikit" issue... madami ng reactions ang nagkalat sa blogosphere regarding that.

minsan talaga.. gumagawa ang tao ng MALI para sumikat. and that made Chip Tsao soooooo famous! (pero di ko sya gagayahin! pwamis!)

i'll be waiting for your next post... babalik ako...

The Pope said...

The multinational claims on Spratly's islands is an issue which calls for an investigative journalism based on facts and other legal sources.

Mr. Tsao has crossed the line when he tried to "drag" Ms. Luisa, a Pinay DH and "use" her into his article to symbolize the Phils. as a country of poor that doesn't have the rights to raise a finger against China much more to claim for Spratly. A racist remark aimed to insult the Filipinos in general.

He should distinguish between household issues and international border disputes; and should never ever use a Pinay Domestic Helper as a chess pawn in his articles concerning diplomatic rows.

Marlon said...

Azel, I'm glad to be back too. Uu nga, nasira na iyong pc. Well, I don't think any person in his/her right mind would like to be famous that way. He's more infamous than famous i think.

Pope, great point you raised. As what the journalist creed say, no one should write what he should not say as a gentleman. It's true that the article could have been written in a more professional manner however it's a good thing that this made such a buzz because for a moment. Filipinos actually think we deserve better than that.

Dylan Dimaubusan said...

Wow, you're the 5th or 6th blogger on my list who wrote about Chip Tsao and his insults against Filipinos.

But with your post mas naliwanagan ako, ano nga naman ang masama kung tawagin tayong nation of servants..?

Ang ayaw ko lang eh masyado namang ibinababa ng mga FIlipino ang sarili nila.. Like the one working for Mr. Tsao. She/he is a graduate of a smewhat degree in a university here, what is she doing there in the first place? GMA's mentality is somewhat doomed by the fact that she wanted to have Filipinas to work as DH all over the world, were the fact is we can do better than being chimays and yayas of these foreigners... It's our mentality that needs to be changed..

And in these times makikita mo kung sino ang matapang na nagtataas ng sarili nilang bandila.. It's a chalenge for Filipinos and the country itself, esp the government.. Karamihan kasi isinisisi lahat sa gobyerno natin..

Teka mahaba na tong post ko este comment..Namiss ko dito eh..

Cheers Marlon! Nice post!

Marlon said...

Dylan, I was just at your blog. hehehe chick ka pala noh? hahaha matagal ko nang iniisip yan eh. Anyway, you're right. I really think the issue is not Chip Tsao, iyong mentality natin ang problema na ok na sa atin iyong kung ano iyong meron. With the attitude we have, we are inviting all sorts of insults.

mulong said...

haaay dont want to say nakakaumay na ang chips ahoy...ano ngang pinag uusapan natin? hehehe

but here's the thing...are we mad because of the term "servants"? or we are just mad to someone who is a racist na katulad din natin? teka ano yun? pag ginagawa ng pinoy ang pagiging racist ok lang? pero pag sa tin ginawa hindi ok?

come to think of it, (gusto ko talaga gawing post ito eh) dito na lang sa pinas, ano ba connotation pag ng marami pag sinabing bisaya? tsimay, katulong, muchacha ano pa? Or pag sinabing pormang bisaya!?

we are even saying na "alipin tayo sa sarili nating bansa." Come on, get real, baka kulang lang yan sa reality check kaya sobra ang reaksyon ng iba.

Anonymous said...

I tried to find the full text and tried to look at it from the point of view of a satire as mentioned in their apology.

There seems to be a hint of satire as there also seems to be hint of hyperbole'. But all these hints does not seem enough to bring it out as a true satire. So their excuse is that it's politically incorrect.

I am angry at how he 'used' the Filipinos in the article but more than that I am worried that this person is being used by someone not Chinese.

As you know, there is a feeling in the air that the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in the Philippines is going to be put down and if this happens, American presence in the South China Sea and Pacific will greatly diminish. Now that this article came out, it seems to be trying to change the emotional atmosphere around the VFA and hoping to maintain American presence.

If I were the Chinese, I would watch him better.

Marlon said...

Mulong, tama...I don't think we or anybody has the right to be upset for being a racists. anybody, esp pinoy's have that sort of mentality. Perfect example nga iyong pag-stereotype natin sa mga bisaya, or sa mga muslim or sa mga black. it's almost natural for everyone to have stereotypes but it's never an excuse to change.

Anonymous, it's quite an interesting theory you have there. however, i strongly doubt parts of it. I'm not saying it's not a possibility but Americas stronghold here in the Philippines can't even be questioned. They are here to stay, maybe for good and same as VFA. Remember, next year it's election again. It's only natural for some politicians to go against VFA to gain some pogi points but we all know it's not going away. Maybe the term VFA will be out but I'm sure they will come up with something else, also i don't see anything bad VFA and even with our strong ties with the U.S. To some extent, perhaps they get more out us but we also benefit from them. Like what is said in Tsao's article. Even a world power like China is hesitant to act against us because of America's presence. I should probably write something about US and Philippine relations sometime.

Great insights. thanks for the drop

lucas said...

i see, mainit pa rin ang isyung ito...akala ko nga nagsorry na siya...sabi nman ng iba nadedok daw siya kahapon. april fool pranks lang lahat..hehehe!

Kosa said...

lols
april fool sabi ni Pareng Lucas

jhosel said...

aw. welcome back! and aba you were on date? naks naman. date lang pala ang makakapalabas sayo ng bahay, malamang she's SOMETHING at finally naisipan mo nang lumabas. ahehe.

well, thats good. para naman di ka na madepress.

about kay chip tsao, ayoko na magcomment. maxado na siyang sumisikat e. lols. and im contented with the apology already, saka isa pa, the 'servant' there na he's referring to could actually be a compliment looking at in another way. basta. tama na yan, sabi ko di ako kokoment. ahaha.

im glad your back!

Pilar said...

ang saya saya ko, nagsorry sya sa Pilipinas! bwehehehe. buti nga. magsusulat nalang kasi di pa ayusin. tinatanggal dapat ang mga ganyang writer: biased!

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