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Mar 31

You’re right

Reyna elena dot com is absolutely correct to take me to task for presuming to catalog people without their permission, something Victorina attributes to a cultural disconnect. Both are absolutely correct: my criticism of those criticizing Chip Tsao was arrogant: unthinking, unfeeling, and unpardonable on my part, because, while entitled to my own opinion, there was absolutely no justification for me to make a sweeping judgment about my countrymen. A negative judgment based on nothing more than my own writerly biases: in other words, a bigoted, prejudiced comment fully deserving of condemnation.

Every reader makes up his or her own mind about whatever it is they read; your opinion is as good as mine; and when enough are of the same opinion, well, if there’s smoke, there’s fire.

That Hong Kong columnist deeply offended many Filipinos and instead of castigating my countrymen, I should have recognized the outrage as a manifestation of our collective sensibility, grounded in deep grievances about what drives so many of us to work overseas, under degrading circumstances, and in the face of often insurmountable obstacles that get in the way of securing a decent, dignified, place in the world for so many of us.

I had no right to pass a dismissive, disparaging judgment on fellow Filipinos, merely because they hold an opinion contrary to mine. Not all of us write, but all of us read, and each one is capable of rendering judgment on matters of taste or the lack of it, concerning anything they read. The writer has a particular responsibility to trust the reader, and if a reader reacts in a particular way, one must accept criticism just as one would accept praise.

I thank these two bloggers in particular for putting me in my place, and I hope they will accept this apology, which I extend not only to them, but to anyone offended by my comment on FaceBook.

For what it’s worth, and purely in the spirit of fostering discussion, let me put forward some of my views concerning satire in general, and Chip Tsao’s piece in particular.

I personally believe that we are a nation born of satire, because it was one of the most effective weapons used by our Founding Fathers as they waged two campaigns: first, to convince their countrymen that they were precisely that, a people with a country they should call their own; and second, to assert before all peoples in all climes, that we are a people the equal of any in the world.

That satire was, at times, quite funny, at other times, quite cruel; that satire lampooned Filipinos and foreigners alike, and Filipinos who had a prejudice against their own countrymen that matched, or even exceeded, the prejudice held by foreigners. It didn’t matter if the satirical pen wielded by our Founding Fathers produced sophisticated or crude, tasteful or rude, pleasant or revolting prose. The point is, they used it, and in particular, the two novels that are in a sense, the founding documents of our country, were satirical works meant to hold up a mirror to reveal, as Rizal put it, the social cancer afflicting the Philippines of his time: and he knew full well the fate in store for those who dare to hold up mirrors for others to see themselves in, whether they want to or not. It got him shot; and before that, it got his books banned and garnered imprisonment and exile for those who dared, not even to take up arms against the authorities, but to laugh at them.

If we hold up as heroes those who wielded their pens -often cruelly- and as much against their own countrymen as the foreign officials and churchmen they opposed, I don’t see how we can deny others the right to take up their pens and do unto others as our heroes have done unto ourselves (for they continue to hold up that mirror to every generation that bothers to re-read what they’ve written). I also don’t see how we can call for the same intolerance -to the extent of demanding some sort of retribution, or even cruel and unusual punishment- when it comes to opinions that we find deeply offensive.

The Founding Fathers fought words with words, opinions with contrary opinions, and demanded of those whom they viewed as prejudiced and bigoted nothing more or less than a fair hearing, a chance to rebut their arguments, and an opportunity to disprove wrong facts with true ones. All the while being careful to point out what they most definitely could not and would never tolerate: silencing dissent with force of arms, and the kind of fanaticism that led to Inquisitions and book-burnings.

To my mind we have a kind of historical obligation to recognize that, perhaps more so than many other countries but at least as much as some countries familiar to us, we are a people and a country that owe our very existence to the commitment of writers to challenge, irritate, offend, and outrage others.

It is for this reason that I oppose our existing sedition and libel laws; and calls for declaring people persona non grata may be all right in places like Singapore, but I think such blacklists have no place in a country whose national hero was once blacklisted on the basis of his writings.

And it for related reasons that I opposed demands for Justice Cruz or Malou Fernandez to resign: it would have been a kind of censorship.

At the same time, every reader has a right, indeed, a duty to react to anything that a writer puts forward and with which the reader disagrees. And, if the writer and his publisher are dependent on the public for their livelihood, the public has a right to take its business elsewhere if its objections remain unheeded by writer and publisher.

Now, with regards to Chip Tsao’s piece, I approached his piece with these questions in mind.

Was he presenting his own opinions, or was he writing a satirical piece? There is a difference between writing, “I, Chip Tsao, think the Philippines is a nation of servants,” and putting those words in someone’s mouth for effect, which is what satire is. It seemed to me that what he was trying to do, is to put on paper what you or I might do when making fun of someone by assuming the character of an exaggerated blowhard. This assumes, of course, that the reader knows he does this on a regular basis; a flawed assumption as it turned out (would it have been different if every single statement that caused Filipinos offense, was attributed to a fictional character who employed a Filipina? Perhaps; it might also have given Tsao a way out).

Was the point of the piece to slander Filipinos or to take Tsao’s fellow Chinese to task? I thought that his main purpose was to paint a highly unflattering picture of his fellow Chinese as cowardly chauvinists who wouldn’t dare tangle with anyone except the Filipinos, and only because the Filipinos happened to be in a financially dependent situation. Chip Tsao in blowhard mode, doesn’t dare question the Russians but happily picks on Filipinos, as do all his household-help-employing Chinese chums. The picture he paints of these employers is a disgraceful one: they have no problems with underpaying and overworking Filipinos, and then they castigate them for daring to assert their country’s sovereignty; the treatment he describes is fully in keeping with the brainwashing and bullying the Chinese themselves endured during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. The whole thing is an indictment of the false sense of superiority of modern-day, wealthy Chinese, who forget, not so long ago, “No dogs and Chinese” signs were posted in Hong Kong (similar signs were posted in Manila), that once upon a time the Chinese provided coolie labor for the world, and that poverty was endemic in Hong Kong and all of China not so long ago, either.

I don’t know if I’d go as far as Indolent Indio, who says Tsao’s on our side; I would definitely go as far as to point out his primary target was his fellow Chinese; that he took them to task for acting like the kind of arrogant Western colonizers the Chinese used to hate; and what’s worse, they’re being prejudiced to fellow Asians while the Chinese remain meek in the face of say, the Russians. What I think happened was that he failed to consider that not everyone would consider his portrayal of a Filipina as either warranted or permissible. Connie Veneracion, pointing to this piece, doesn’t think Tsao holds Filipinos in affection; I think the most he did was simply to make a nod at the wretched working conditions of many Filipinos but that from first to last, the main focus of his attentions -because they are also his readers- are his fellow Chinese.

But this was the root of my folly: to step into his shoes, to the extent that what took over was a feeling of solidarity as a writer, forgetting my first duty to always uphold solidarity with my countrymen. In the end, much as I happen to feel positive about anyone who dares to challenge his fellow Chinese and their monolithic, increasingly aggressive state, that is Tsao’s fight and not mine.

Some blogs and their own take on the whole thing: Ricky Carandang; The Marocharim Experiment; baratillo @ cubao; The Tao of Pao; Manila Bay Watch.

114 comments

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  1. TheEQualizer

    Manolo:

    I liked very much your Explainer show tonight on “Reform” candidates.

    As usual,Joel Rocamora made a lot of sense.

    Dean also raised a good point on the need of unity among opposition candidates.

    One nitpicking comment:why is that guest lady panelist always embracing her throw pillow???It’s the second time I saw her in your show with THAT PILLOW.

    EQ

  2. Angel C. de Dios

    It is clearly a satire. The article maybe guilty of bad taste as it chose to take the case of Filipino overseas domestic helpers under the spotlight. And as we have seen, Filipino political leaders are more eager to crucify Tsao, instead of asking themselves why the Philippines is sending its mothers abroad to work as domestic help.

    It starts with the sad news of deaths of Chinese sailors who were aboard a ship that was sunk by a Russian destroyer a month ago. The reason: apparently, Russia did not like the price of rice that the Chinese ship was trying to sell.
    Then it continues with an existing islands dispute with Japan, which China recently put aside as the two countries try to work together against the pirates near Somalia. At this point, the satire is already about to begin as Tsao starts to ridicule the Chinese people as being obsessed with toys from Japan, and citing this as the reason behind China’s reluctance to stand tall and defend itself. Unfortunately, the main satirical body of the article takes the case of the Philippines, which recently passed a new baselines bill that claims sovereignty over the disputed Spratly islands. Tsao’s objective is to ridicule the Chinese political leaders, but he also found the case of domestic helpers from the Philippines as a situation worth writing about.

    The purpose of a satire is not to entertain, but to incite contempt. It is meant to upset people so that they may begin examining what is going on and hopefully, do something about it. Although Tsao’s initial target was the Chinese lack in defending its turf, the rest of the article becomes an
    exposition of the sad plight of Filipino domestic helpers. Tsao took time to cite that his domestic assistant holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila. This is her degree and she washes his toilet and
    cleans his windows 16 hours a day. Imagine the specific details. The ridicule should not have escaped anyone. This is satire with sarcasm, and obviously, Louisa does not refer to a real person.

    The piece is not a racist slur, but an ironic exposition of China and the Philippines, which are currently in territorial dispute, with a magnifying glass focused on an existing relationship between individuals of these two countries,
    and how the leaders of these two countries seemed to have both betrayed their citizens.

    The article is supposed to be disgusting that it makes us think and reflect, and hopefully, this forced retrospect would then encourage us to change. Obviously, watching the reaction from the Philippine Congress, it only succeeded in upsetting people, and not in opening their eyes.

  3. TheEQualizer

    My Fellow Pinoys In Hongkong (especially Louisa):

    Get your revenge quickly (“Lintik lang ang walang ganti!”*) IF you have a RUDE or NASTY chink boss like Chip Tsao (see his picture below):

    1)One thing that everyone’s afraid of is someone spitting in their food.

    2)Don’t wash your hands after coming from the toilet and prepare his special noodle of the day.

    3)Teach his kids “Intsik Beho Tulo Laway” nursery rhyme.Tell the chink it means “Long Live Chairman Mao!”

    * “Hell hath no fury like a Pinay OFW scorned!”

  4. DJB

    You’re wrong Manolo. You were right to begin with about Chip Tsao’s piece! Haha. And now, contrary to Connie Veneracion’s claims, that other piece of Chip Tsao’s that she claims “takes a swipe at Filipinas” does nothing of the sort. Quite the opposite…You should read it with the same eye for the guy’s inherently satirical but really iconoclastic and light hearted style…

    Inspired by the poisoned milk powder scandal, a friend of mine is planning to import a wet nurse from the Philippines. His wife has just given birth to a baby, and he is, most justifiably, extremely worried about anything made in China…But why from the Philippines? Why not recruit a wet nurse from China? I asked my friend who until recently had whole-heartedly loved his motherland. “No,” he explained, “How can you be sure that a Chinese wet nurse is not going to be fake, with something like a Bangkok ladyboy-style plastic bag filled with artificial milk made from poisoned powder?”

    So allowing Hong Kong families to import Filipina wet nurses would be an innovation. And not only for babies. What else would be as impressive as a status symbol than when you are visiting a billionaire for lunch and you and dozens of other refined guests are offered a glass of fresh milk to toast everybody’s health, instead of a glass of Chateau Rotschild Lafitte? You would be told that the troop of in-house wet nurses all hail from remote villages in Luzon or Mindanao, instead of the polluted city of Manila, transported to Hong Kong only minutes after they gave birth to their babies, jetfresh, to guarantee the best vintage. So, loosen whatever restrictions and bring them in, Sir Donald—just a thought for your policy speech as I look forward to the milk-tasting party hosted by my friend, whom I warned it would be better for legal reasons, if his wife, the madam—instead of himself, the sir—supervises the job on the spot.

  5. betol

    i love satirical but incendiary articles like those of mr. tsao’s. writers love to provoke and see other people’s reaction, and i have no doubt that mr. tsao is giving himself a pat in the back while drinking a margarita, or whatever the hell it is that they drink in hong kong to unwind, satisfied that he got a whole nation of servants to declare a price on his head.

    i do agree on with you on one point though; that he was subtly calling on his country men stop acting like a bunch of girly men who pick on little people who can’t defend themselves.

  6. BrianB

    Kitty Go, not Senator cayetano, is the proper spokesperson for this. She’s doing it absolutely brilliantly.

  7. BrianB

    Yahaha, you’re getting killed. You can forget about running for the Senate.

  8. cvj

    At first, i did feel offended by Chip Tsao’s article but after you made your controversial comment, i realized that it was directed more at his fellow Chinese that at us Filipinos.

  9. cvj

    ‘that’ = ‘than’

  10. BrianB

    Manolo, the 4 or 5 people watching the Explainer, wala na, zero na. The power of blogs talaga oo.

  11. betol

    how did that silly picture of mine appear out of nowhere? that was not intended. i hope it doesn’t offend – or scare – anyone. my apologies. is there anyway i can get rid of it?

  12. d0d0ng

    “Why not recruit a wet nurse from China? I asked my friend who until recently had whole-heartedly loved his motherland. “No,” he explained, “How can you be sure that a Chinese wet nurse is not going to be fake, with something like a Bangkok ladyboy-style plastic bag filled with artificial milk made from poisoned powder?”

    The poor Chip take a swipe at all women including Chinese women. But since the trajectory is directed at Filipina wet nurses, the article is really infuriating to the Filipinos in general.

  13. Madonna

    Chip Tsao’s main mistake was to take that his “only” audience was his countrymen whom he perhaps overestimated would be rather amused by his “patriotism” or a play on it (a patriot or worm? — I think he is more of the latter). LOL, dun pa lang, e, bird-brainic na sya. In this age of the Worlwide Web he dared to write such a piece, no matter what a brilliant satire it was against his own country (as a piece ridiculing China, I personally gave it a rating of 9.5 out of 10)

    Another thing is that if he was really bent on including other nationalities in his satire, then, he should have done more research or get to know about the true-blue reality and history about poor Pinas, and not splashed his piece with such balderdash on Pinoys. Sweeping generalization is a sign of laziness while a nuanced presentation better resembles the truth.

    This reyna elena is being true to form — such raw honesty and a good writer to boot! Haller sistah!

    Kitty Go is also a good writer.

  14. BrianB

    It’s demoralizing how truly undemocratic Filipinos are. Just think about how e have to go through official channels and then mass up on the streets for one silly quip in a TV show or column. Just how weak is this country?

  15. BrianB

    We’re also a country who just love it when some patronizes them. I’d explode if I get patronized. Americans and Europeans too, and definitely Hong Kongers, I know they hate it. But pinoys, Jesus, we’re so happy when someone is making uto us.

  16. Pedestrian Observer GB

    It is natural for people to be offended and angry but the bigger challenge is how to respond to the raging controversy without letting ones’ emotion dictate how one respond to the “offending” remark. It becomes pathetic when Philippine political cheapies exploit the controversy acting like a pied paper leading the flock to the cliff of frustration and desolation while they weasel themselves out of accountability and responsibility on why we are branded as a servant nation in the first place.

  17. cvj

    I think it depends on which side of the oppressor-oppressed (or dominant-dominated) divide people are on. It’s ok to direct satire at whites or Westerners in general but not so against blacks, arabs, women and Filipinos. When we, as a people, come to see ourselves as equal to others, then we will be less sensitive to these things.

  18. supremo

    Much ado about ‘n othing.

  19. d0d0ng

    Manolo, there is substance in your opinion if one knows Chip and his background as satirical writer and familiar with his sarcasm. But Filipinos have no time to examine somebody’s sarcastic writings for ideas nor his background but rather return fire with fire. So the national outrage and indignation.

    His mouth is rotten as he can belittle housemaids from the Philippines. The poor guy is not that far different from the subjects he ridiculed. He worked as doormat for BBC for eight years and took the cause of chinese illegal immigrants who died in the container van by taking as pen name “Golden Venture” (the vessel that carried the chinese illegals to the US in 1993) in the Ming Pao monthly publication.

    Filipina domestic helpers fared better riding in an airconditioned airplane than those chinese illegals herded into the vessel for months on the way to the land of milk and honey. I suppose Chip has that in his memory when he was obliged to pay Eloisa’s salary increase, an irony he cannot live without, especially the services of a talented Filipina.

  20. BrianB

    Well, CVJ only states the obvious. It’s our feelings of inferiority.

  21. cvj

    Not exactly ‘inferiority’, more like lack of self-confidence and self-assurance. It’s also legitimate (but misdirected) feelings of outrage against the dominant party. That’s why we bounce between cockiness and despair. The Chinese are also like that btw since they only have recently emerged from poverty.

  22. cvj

    By ‘Chinese’, i’m referring to the newly rich Mainlanders (not the Hongkong people like Tsao who are more like the old rich and so have more self-confidence).

  23. Phil Manila

    It’s satire with a twist. Based on his piece, I think the guy is gay.

    Chip Tsao’s essay comes out pa-cute and pa-‘maldita’. You know, like the ones you find in society/lifestyle pages.

    BTW, lest you get the wrong ideas it doesn’t take one to spot one. 🙂

  24. Madonna

    But cvj, don’t you think you’ve got it backwards? Sensitivity to others engenders equality — not the other way around. This idea of equality is hollow if it merely becomes an intellectual pursuit. The sense of equality has to come from your innards and common folks instinctively know this, and that’s what’s great about the Internet because voices are heard all at once, speaking in unison. There were many who were not Pinoys themselves who reacted viscerally against Chip Tsai’s column. It doesn’t matter who they are, or what nationalities they have. Democracy, that is, equality among the human race, is in the heart ika nga.

  25. cvj

    ‘Sensitivity to others’ may also mean an awareness that the other has a fragile psyche as in, ‘huwag mong tuksuhin iyan, baka mapikon’. Equality can only come when we attain an attitude of [quiet] self-confidence, not when others treat us with kid gloves.

  26. Madonna

    Well, cvj, some people do have fragile psyches, and it’s not their fault either, because they were partly born that way. And it’s not wise na tuksuhin sila.

    “Equality can only come when we attain an attitude of [quiet] self-confidence, not when others treat us with kid gloves.” —

    A korek ka dyan.

  27. cvj

    Yeah, i agree it’s not our fault. With each episode of collective outrage like this one, i think the world (not to mention Manolo) is becoming more and more aware of our fragile psyches.

  28. d0d0ng

    It is not about sensitivity, it is poor choice of subjects. Chip’s central point is to pick on the wisdom of Philippine government of claiming Spratly sovereignity while it is economically dependent on remittances of OFWs working in China. The poor judgment is picking on the helper Eloisa which has no influence on Philippine government policy on territory. Eloisa is not entirely fictional. The true Luisa is employed with Chip’s father for 14 years. Chip employed 2 Indonesian maids.

    As a writer, any subject is a fair subject. Chip will just have to suffer the consequences. Apart from being banned from entering Philippines, he will have to think twice eating in restaurants with Filipinos, there is no guarantee what is in his food or drink. Serve him right.

  29. Abe N. Margallo

    dOdOng, you mean to say it was Luisa who used to do the dirty job of changing Chip’s diapers? So it’s possible Luisa was Chip’s first ESL teacher? and . . . from whom he also learned the art of sarcasm and . . .

    Wow! Chip’s Oedipal relations was with . . . Luisa? . . . his wet nurse????? haha

  30. d0d0ng

    I am with you, Abe. The point of satire is to shock the intended audience. However, POV is not one way street. It works both ways. Meaning it offers the audience a rare glimpse of the writer’s twisted tiltillating experience.

    Too bad for Chip since Luisa has no plans of leaving Chip’s father. Haha.

  31. Cris Bagsic

    So much has been said (hurled about, mostly) in re this article… I’m in agreement (well, at least on the points that matter most to me) with Angel de Dios (Tue, 31st Mar 2009 10:59 pm), and cvj. I also like the warm-hearted-cum-cool-headed arguments/comments posted by the peeps who hold views different from those I don’t hold.

    They say practice makes perfect: the next time something of this nature crops up again, I’m sure we all will feel as passionately outspoken about our convictions but I hope the day comes that comments based on ad hominem arguments/appeals to emotions type of arguments diminish to an insignificant minority.

    PS. To MLQ3, this entry brought smiles to an otherwise bleating icy/windy day. haha PLUS, tip of the hat to you for not making this piece an “I’d-just-like-to-defend-myself-from-unfair-attacks-on-my-person/education/etc-boohoo”. THAT would have been disappointing.

  32. Cris Bagsic

    “[…]different from those I don’t hold.” => different from those I do / different from mine… take your pick.

  33. Leytenian

    The reaction of many filipinos to Cheap Tsao may be emotional and somewhat insecure?
    You all can call me anything. It won’t diminish me a bit and I am a filipina too.

    Manolo’s respond to reyna elena is humbling and very appropriate. Manolo is always nice-actually nicer and smarter than DJB. 🙂

    Nation of slaves? How does one understand it anyway? why so sensitive about it?

    In this modern world, it’s about employee/employer relationship. That relationship will not exist without the other. It’s up to the policymakers to balance and manage the risk. In our situation, there’s no such thing as employee/employer relationship because this country’s admin has not been able to manage and balance the oversupply of potential employees to the demand of employer within its home country. It can only manage the issue today but without the stability of our future. The issue of underemployment is not new. It’s a chronic issue.

    Nation of Slaves? maybe we are because we sell our votes to the politicians. We tolerate corruption of public officials. We tolerate political dynasty. We allow everything outside the RULES.

  34. Carl

    Often enough, there’s a thin line separating satire from vulgarity and bad taste. Because satire attempts to shock or alarm people out of conventional thinking, there’s a real danger of pushing the line and descending into boorishness.

    But as comedian Mel Brooks, no stranger to controversy, once said: “Bad taste is simply saying the truth before it should be said”.

    Stereotyping a nation is not telling the truth. But, employing a portion of the truth, stereotyping uses a broad brush and applies it to everyone. To quote Alfred North Whitehead: “There are no whole truths: all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.”

    As a people, we are capable of laughing at ourselves. It is painful, however, when it comes from others. More so when it comes from people we once thought inferior to ourselves, because it only accentuates the painful reality of how far we have fallen.

    It isn’t only the Chinese who now feel superior to us. Malaysians and Singaporeans also look at us with a degree of contempt, when only a few decades ago they looked up to us. If we don’t do something, even the Vietnamese will one day look down on us.

    We can blame many factors for our decline. We can blame our damaged culture, our religion, our leaders, our bad choice of policies. But we still have to face up to the reality that, over the years, we messed up, big time. That’s why it hurts so much.

    By the way, nice stream-of-consciousness confession, Manolo! Say 1 “Our Father” and 2 “Hail Mary’s”.

  35. reyna elena

    Manolo, this is Reynz. Thank you for your apology. I really appreciate the effort, I do. 🙂

  36. number cruncher

    hmm, seems like chip tsao issued an apology: , but apparently, there’s still a protest rally? isn’t that a bit pointless just to prove a point? (pun unintended)

  37. inodoro ni emilie

    i initially felt insult reading the phrase

    nation of servants

    reading his piece, but came to realise the fact of the matter. reading the article in its entirety though does reveal the swipe is actually made on china, as cvj correctly points out. hey, the guy is writing in hong kong, he needs to wear the chinese attire to point out the satire.

  38. Leo

    I like the first part of your commentary or opinion but i think you missed so many points that should have shown Chip Tsao’s writing negative whether he is just using satire or not. Using the Filipina OFWs as a tool to condemn his fellow Chinese is already not a good strategy.
    Satire elicits dissferent meaning to various readers and it will depend on whoi they are, their status and the way they perceive the current situation, socially or politically. But one thing is clear, majority of the people did not get hios point and are not happy about his article. It elicited patriotism like Rizal’s novels, yes, and it is against him.

  39. Christopher

    There is only one message here that the writer wants to convey…and that is for all of us to see the sad reality of life…and do something to change it.

  40. istambay_sakalye

    the truth indeed hurts! and lest we forget it’s close to 2010 and politicians are trying to deflect the sad state of our nation by shifting the blame.

    satirical or not it is the sad truth. no need to apologize and be nice about it. we should be outrage at ourselves and our leaders in the government for putting us in this situation where we are right now.

  41. ricelander

    I was not offended and I do not know satire from non-satire. I just am hard to offend by nature. (And if ever I get offended, I do not get mad; I get even.)

    But then maybe, if you had a wife there or perhaps a sister so dear, who graduated from college, with honors at that, working as domestic helper in HongKong, if it will not hit you in a different way, I don’t know. O kaya ikaw mismo yung nandun, as servant to a HongKong couple, you can reason out it’s an honorable job being servant, but honestly now, … We’re talking context here, I think.

    Kung you’re a bank exec or a college professor maybe or an accountant of SGV, you can afford to shrug it off easy— but that is precisely because you are not the one, a domestic helper or a wet nurse with a college diploma.

  42. BrianB

    Reynz, you are so cheap. If you wanted a hug just ask him.

  43. SEO Philippines

    Hi Manolo I made a similar statement here: http://www.brownseo.com/2009/03/apology-accepted-true/

  44. GabbyD

    @MLQ3

    i’m not sure i understand your apology. i have two points of confusion…

    I. you write:

    “Every reader makes up his or her own mind about whatever it is they read; your opinion is as good as mine…”

    is this true for satire? satire is a form of writing that has established rules, right? you can define what satire is. there is no opinion here.

    so when someone is offended by satire, it must be either:

    1) he knows its satire but is offended anyway (even tho its not meant to disparage, he ignores it and chooses to get offended.)
    2) he doesnt know its satire…

    if (2), then what are you apologizing for? you are merely saying that they don’t know what satire is… and it is then correct to explain to people what the heck satire is…

    if (1), i can understand. is this what you mean?

    II. Even if its (1), i have a problem with it…

    you write further: “That Hong Kong columnist deeply offended many Filipinos and instead of castigating my countrymen, I should have recognized the outrage as a manifestation of our collective sensibility…”

    in other words, we are sensitive about our collective sensibility… however, if its satire, then the author had no intention to malign our collective sensibility. yet we choose to be upset… why?

    isnt it the responsibility of the opinion writer to ask ‘why’? Should we be upset that we are upset over something that OUGHT NOT to make us upset?

    i think this is a fair point to make, no?

    A FINAL NOTE:
    if we want to criticize the piece as a piece of satire, we only need to say this: satire is ALWAYS directed against the powerful. is the piece against the powerful?

    by going after easy targets to mock, such as the OFW, he shows he’s not after the powerful at all…

    that is whats wrong with the essay…

  45. Derek A.

    To BrianB on Wed, 1st Apr 2009 3:11 pm:

    Let Reynz enjoy his moment for his acceptance is heartfelt. (Seriously!) It’s not everyday you can receive a magnanimous apology from an ampon, vaklush, undergrad (what else did they write in Victorina?), grandchild of the First Prez of the Commonwealth. Lalo na kung naka graduate ka at ang nagbigay ng sorry ay hindi man lamang nakatapos ng colegio, elista at pangit. (Ayan ha, satire yan!)

    Hula ko, makikipagkaibigan nayan kasi may “connect” na sila, tapos, makiki Facebook na yan si Reynz, kasi di naman siya Facebook friend ni Manolo. Then wow, mabait pala si Manolo, at wow, ok pala maki rub elbows sa mga friends ni Manolo, coffee coffee, debate, debate. Ay di naman pala ganun kasama si Manolo, palpak lang minsan, slight lang! Ok rin naman pala kahit hindi siya graduate kasi nakapunta na ako sa house nya at marami siyang books at nalula ako ha! Cute din ng dogs nya ha!

    Ok, am putting words in his mouth but this is all tongue-in-cheek! Then we will all live happily ever after…in an alternate universe!

    Derek A.

  46. Vin

    What dismisses Chip Tsao’s article from being satirical is the fact that it is simply witless.

  47. mlq3

    gabby, the point is precisely what you pointed out, and i overlooked: satire is only ever permissible when aimed at the high and mighty, and hardly ever permissible at the expense of the downtrodden (permissible, perhaps, only when one of their own criticizes their peers). this is something people instinctively latched on but i refused to see it, castigating others for “not getting it,” when they actually did. crime of arrogance.

    there’s a passage I’ve been reflecting on, because of this lesson.

    Rizal, in his essay, “the Indolence of the Filipino,” pointed out that, “Yet it is not to be inferred from the misuse of a thing that it does not exist.” But he went on to write that “We think that there must be something behind all this outcry, for it is incredible that so many should err, among whom we have said there are a lot of serious and disinterested persons. Some act in bad faith, through levity, through want of sound judgment, through limitation in reasoning power, ignorance of the past, or other cause. Some repeat what they have heard, without, examination or reflection; others speak through pessimism or are impelled by that human characteristic which paints as perfect everything that belongs to oneself and defective whatever belongs to another. But it cannot be denied that there are some who worship truth, or if not truth itself at least the semblance thereof, which is truth in the mind of the crowd.”

  48. BrianB

    Manolo, in today’s world, power is lateral not hierarchical. It can be fired from below as well. Everyone has power, including the downtrodden. In our country, the masses outnumber the upper class by as much as 1:100. remember the May Day rally?

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    […] don’t see why my good friend Manolo Quezon should find himself apologizing to Reyna Elena for correctly appreciating the literary and […]

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