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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Curse Of Being

A lot of us claim to hate this country, but when something bad is said about anything related to being a Filipino and the Philippines, we rise up in arms. We proclaimed Claire Danes persona non grata for saying that Manila "just f--king smelled of cockroaches."

A dictionary which was reported to have defined a Filipina as a "domestic worker from the Philippines or a person who performs non-essential auxiliary tasks" caused uproar and made huge headlines and patriotically angry editorials.

Teri Hatcher talking against Philippine medical schools in a TV series became the most hated among the Desperate Housewives by Filipinos all over the world. The racist remark was eventually removed from the episode.

James Soriano, that Atenean kid who said Filipino is the language of the street, is now the recepient of online flaks.

And the list of similar situations goes on and on.

On the country, when something good is said, is done to, by, for the Filipinos and the Philippines, we go all agog in taking the credit, basking in the limelight, always saying proud to be Pinoy.

When out of the ring, Manny Pacquiao is bashed: his fashion style, his lifestyle, his gambling, his provincial grammatical-error-laden English, his wife, even his mother, particularly his mother. But when inside the ring, Manny is our king. When he wins, we have the world in our hands; we wear huge smiles on our faces as if we have just been named the world's superpower.

When a Filipino reaches international stardom, we claim the credit as a people. Think of Charice, Arnel Pineda, Maria Aragon, and Jasmin Trias. When an international superstar or celebrity happens to have at least 1/8 Filipino blood, we attribute his/her greatness to his/her Filipino lineage. We are always happy to note that these people are half-Filipinos: Vanessa Hudgens, Bruno Mars, Nicole Schswhateverherlongsurnameis of the defunct Pussycat Dolls, of BEP, and Kirk Hammet of Metallica. We are ecstatic that the Head Chef in the White House is a Filipina. We were proud that the governess of Prince William invited to the Royal Wedding is a Filipina. Etcetera. Etcetera.

I don't know if other nations are like us. Is Thailand always tapping its back for having Tiger Woods as half-Thai? Is Indonesia still smug that it has educated the young Barack Obama? What about Kenya?

Honestly, I don't have the answers. What I know only is that as a people, we are quick to defend our nation, but slow to move it forward. We are quick to smell half-bloods, but slow to embrace brown-skinned.

It is a curse and we have yet to find the witch who cast it.


  1. Having worked for/with many foreigners I can tell you that people are mostly the same all over. My Swedish boss is a little hurt that the Swedish-American character in the TV show "Friends" is a dufus. My German colleagues were here for the NBA finals and couldn't wait to get back to their hotels to watch Dirk Nowitzki cap his first NBA title. Other side of the coin, my American (citizen) cousins are PROUD of their Filipino lineage -- and it is not just Pacquiao. I, for one, am happy of this new trend of "Proud to be Pinoy". When was the last time that t-shirts that declared thus was popular or fashionable? Maybe that is the first step in moving the country forward.

  2. Good insights you got there. Thanks, Don Dee.