Monday, April 06, 2009

What Evils Chip Tsao Hath Unleashed: A Culture Of "Creative Outbursts"

.:Facepalms Galore:.

I didn't expect to write about this again, but last night, while watching the news, I found out that the rally in Hong Kong against Mr. Tsao actually pushed through.

Really, I don't know what else to say. The man already apologized and admitted that his words crossed the line and have (obviously) offended the sensibilities of some Filipinos.

What else did you want the guy to do?

Did you want the guy to write an essay about how wonderful the Philippines is and how much he absolutely loves the country?

Did you want him to punch the fabric of reality itself and retcon this article he wrote out of existence, as though it never happened at all?

What standards did we establish in the first place to determine that the apology was "insincere and rings hollow", to begin with? He apologized because you demanded for one. He realized that he hurt the feelings of people, and as such, "crossed the line", and I believe that is a fair evaluation of whatever wrong he may have done. Despite that, it was clear that crossing the line against Filipinos was never the intent of the piece: it was a jab at China, a self-referential putdown of how certain Chinese look down on the Philippines only because it's powerful enough to do so, yet won't do the same against people who are more powerful than they are.

In short, China was being put down for being a stereotypical bully. That the Philippines was somehow denigrated in this article is a sad side effect, but to assume this was the intent of a writer whose main audience were Chinese people, is to think too highly of ourselves. Carly Simon said it: "You're so vain..."

In the meantime, our country has a very clear history of not being able to take it the way we dish it out. While we call our milk "Alaska" and we call our paint "Dutch Boy", we are insulted by having some people brand their cookies "Filipinos". While we don't mind Miriam Defensor-Santiago saying that "The Chinese invented corruption", we bristle over Desperate Housewives poking fun at medical schools in the Philippines. While we applaud Michael V. for parodying Indians, we raise a furor over Conan O'Brien.

Why the double standard? I don't hear Miriam or Michael V being asked for apologies, either, or at the very least, these people sure haven't apologized. Yet someone throws something our way, and if it's anything less than a good comment about us, we will not let them hear the end of it.

When a foreigner says something wrong about this country, they are labeled as "racist". When a Filipino says something wrong about this country, they are called "traitors". Has it gotten to a point that the Philippines is so untouchable already that absolutely nobody can make any negative comments about it?

Seriously, guys. He already freaking apologized. Let it go already!

Enough with politicians grandstanding every chance they get, from suing the publication to challenging Chip to a fistfight. I thought as civilized people who hate it when people are surprised we don't live in trees anymore, we'd be above this crap. And if people believe Mr. Tsao's apology is "insincere", I also believe that majority of the outrage from politicians going around is equally "insincere". It cuts both ways, people.

Enough with the bristling over the term "servants"! It reflects on us poorly that we don't take kindly to the word, perhaps owing to the fact that we look down on the term as well, and calling it "noble" is only cold comfort for most of us. In the back of our minds, to be called a "servant" is an insult, the way that people who claim to not be homophobic are still insulted when people call them "gay".

Enough with people who are fighting "racism" with more, unabashed, relentless racism. You don't hear Chinese people complaining about the hatred we pour on Tim Yap, do you? If you think Mr. Tsao is a horrible person, that does not make the entirety of the Chinese race horrible people.

Enough with the internet tough talk of threatening to inflict bodily harm on Fil-Chinese who do not condemn Mr. Tsao! Are you seriously hearing yourselves? You're "indoctrinating" Fil-Chinese in pretty much the same way Mr. Tsao was "indoctrinating" Louisa! Holy guacamole!

By the way,"Louisa" is actually Indonesian. Now, can we also stop these grandiose but ultimately empty gestures of mounting a rescue operation for a non-existent "maltreated Filipina maid"? If anything, Chip opened our eyes to the fact that these things do happen, because the nature of satire is to expose a lot of inconvenient truths. Though he does not himself abuse maids, it is obvious that he is pointing out that certain people actually do.

On a personal note, I am the kind of person who would rarely apologize for anything I do. For the most part, I tend to second-guess myself a lot before I do anything, which means that for the most part, I only occasionally act in a way that I will regret shortly afterwards. To me, an apology is a big deal. If I give one, I mean it. If I demand for one, when one is given, I will assume sincerity on the part of the person who apologized, and accept it.

As a country, we condemned the actions of one of our own, this guy named Boyet Fajardo. I didn't write about the issue because I wanted to see how it played out first, but when he made his apology, I noticed key differences between his apology and Mr. Tsao's, the differences hopefully obvious to all the people reading. When Boyet apologized, he knew his back was against the wall and he was in deep trouble. He even used his apology as an opportunity to shill his products and make himself sympathetic to us. When Tsao apologized, it was really, no skin off his back. Think about it: what can we really do to his livelihood that would scare him? Nothing. He has no product to sell to us. He will still keep his job or lose it at the pleasure of his employers, who are similarly unaffected by our actions.

And no, Filipinos living in Hong Kong inflicting bodily harm upon him don't count as pressure for him to apologize. I think he'd still like to assume, the way I would, that Filipinos are indeed better than that.

Do I condone what Mr. Fajardo did? Of course not. He made a powerplay, and bullied an employee of Duty Free into apologizing to him in a humiliating manner. He essentially forced this employee to kneel to him for deigning to not treat him right because "they didn't know him". Then, when his back was against the wall, it suddenly became a mere "creative outburst", which, any person would understand, is an excuse for outrageous behavior that defies any logic.

Now, I ask... are we turning into a nation of Boyet Fajardo's?!?

Every single slight against us, no matter how small, seems to be blown out of proportion, with all the horrible bandwagonning that follows from it. I understand how people can be offended, as I said before, but I feel that the "punishment" doesn't fit the "crime".

And now, we are powerplaying, demanding Mr. Tsao kowtow to us for deigning to insult our dignity. That a simple apology wouldn't be enough: he should pay damages, he should get into a boxing ring with Roilo Golez, he should do this, he should do that. The man gave you a hand, you clamor for the arm. Now, we want him to suffer. We want him to pay dearly for impugning our dignity. How dare he? Hindi niya ba tayo kilala? Kailangan siya parusahan! Luhod, Chip! Lumuhod ka!

We condemned Boyet Fajardo for this kind of behavior, this "creative outburst" of his.

So to those of us who are doing pretty much the same thing now on an international scale, why shouldn't we be condemned, either?


joyfulchicken said...

The mob wants blood! I guess harakiri is the only honorable way out for Mr. Tsao.

Kel Fabie said...

Isn't harakiri a Japanese practice? :P

joyfulchicken said...

Japanese, Chinese, Hongkonese... what's the difference? They all look alike.

Kel Fabie said...