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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Desperate Fil-Ams


Last Oct. 8, 2007, Ms. Ellen Tordesillas, a journalist from Malaya and Abante, who also writes regularly in ABS-CBN's online edition (she also visits this blog), published a letter-sender's message in her blog with the title "Offended". That was in reaction to her Oct. 5, 2007 column in Malaya entitled "Convenient Diversion".

I am copying the letter, by one (obviously) Fil-Am named Noel de la Fuente:

Dear Ms. Tordesillas:

Thank you for understanding the outrage of Filipino-Americans over the racist remarks of Teri Hatcher in the TV show Desperate Housewives. For those who are not yet aware of this, here are the offensive remarks:

“. . . Mayer (Teri Hatcher) asked for the credentials of the gynecologist who examined
her . . . She said, `Can I check those diplomas ‘coz I just want to make sure they’re
not from some med school in the Philippines.’”

These remarks must be condemned by all Filipinos. Its clear implication is that Filipinos are cheaters and must not be trusted. It is demeaning to all Filipino doctors who are all highly qualified to practice their profession in the United States as well as in other countries. Granting for the sake of argument that there are Filipinos practicing medicine in the United States who are not qualified. Logic demands that some of the blame must also be attached
to the U.S. systems and procedures for hiring doctors from the Philippines.

The Daily Tribune 10/06/2007 editorial, The truth hurts, asked, “Why would that remark even be made if there was never a hint of some cheating in the Philippine nursing exams?”

Asking this question is bad timing as well as in poor taste. First, this has the effect of confirming that it is justifiable to attack the honesty, integrity and the professional qualifications of Filipino doctors because a few nursing school graduates cheated on their board exams. This is an example of condemning the whole for the transgression of a few. Furthermore, no Filipino doctors cheated on that exam. Let me remind everyone that Filipino doctors undergo rigorous testing and continuing education to be able to practice medicine in the United States. Secondly, we must unite against anyone who attack Filipinos. Any manifestation of disunity among Filipinos is used by others to attack us. It is very much easier to attack any race who is not united and, therefore, can be treated as helpless weaklings who can be ridiculed, demeaned, disrespected, discriminated against with impunity and not be able to fight back.

If we are outraged by racial slurs and attacks impugning the honesty and integrity of the Filipinos by other nationalities, we must be equally outraged when the attack comes from another Filipino. I am referring to the remarks of your regular blog discussant, Anna, about this, as follows:

“. . . . our friends in the US (sic) to do the same thing about the NBN corruption deal –
I wanna see them in the same fighting mood! Then I believe they are patriots, otherwise,
no dice! (They’re merely feeling slighted coz their li’l amor propio has been a li’l bruised
. . .)”

First of all, Anna is not our friend. She has no right to insult and judge Filipino-Americans.
We don’t care if she does not believe our motivation for expressing our outrage against Teri Hatcher’s remarks. But, I can not let this pass. Not challenging her reprehensible remarks can cause further dissension among Filipinos. She is perpetrating the colonial mentality of dividing the Filipinos. In fact, she must be a Filipino hater. And I am inclined to believe that she was manifesting her self-loathing. This was just her way of attempting to validate herself at the expense of Filipino-Americans. She failed miserably. What did Anna do for the Filipinos that made her a patriot?

Filipino-Americans opted for the individual solution when they came to the United States.
By force of necessity, we sought for better educational and economic opportunities in the United States. These were not available to many of us in the Philippines If we stayed there,
we would most probably be unemployed, poor, hungry and unable to help anyone. For some people, this move made us unpatriotic. All Filipinos should know that this is not true. We continue to help our relatives and friends in the Philippines. We continue to be concerned about what is happening in the Philippines. There are Filipino men and women here in their late sixties and mid-seventies who are working as janitors to support and help their relatives in the Philippines. Although an honest way to make a living, it is hard work specially when they have to work 16 hours a day to be able to send money to the Philippines. These Filipinos are glad to be able to work despite the difficulties. They said it is better here because they are able to help Filipinos there. And they are assured of a pension and health care when they eventually retire.

Filipino-Americans send money and consumer goods to the Philippines continuously. Our proof is the proliferation of money changers and freight forwarders serving the Filipino community in the U.S. LBC is one of the biggest. PERA (Philippine Express Remittance
and Allied Services) is another. Through them, we send Balikbayan boxes full of food and other consumer goods to the Philippines. Through them, we also send money to pay
for expenses such as costs of education (tuition, books, lab fees, uniforms etc.), medicines (even anti-rabies vaccines), hospital confinements, burials, down-payment on a house, home and vehicle repairs, capital to start a small business, to pay existing debts, etc. There is a great value to this for the recipients and for the Philippine economy. This also provides employment and income on both ends — here and in the Philippines.

I must mention also that many Filipino-American doctors go back to the Philippines to provide medical treatment free of charge. One of these doctors is my heart surgeon,
Dr. Alexander Yap. He goes to the Philippines accompanied by American doctors to treat patients there. Dr. Yap is an excellent and highly regarded heart surgeon in the U.S. and in the Philippines. It was reported that he was called as a consulting surgeon when First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo had open heart surgery. Some people who are against Mike Arroyo might criticize Dr. Yap. Everyone must bear in mind that Dr. Yap and all doctors are devoted to treating the sick and saving lives. This is the first and foremost priority of Dr. Yap and all doctors rather than politics.

Filipino-Americans protest and express their dissent against anomalies and injustice here, including those that are happening in the Philippines. Anyone who says we don’t is ignorant and a liar.

Not now and not in any other time it is right to unjustly attack Filipino-Americans. There
is no sense to it. It will only alienate us. And for what? For our enemies to succeed in further dividing us so they can continue to exploit and treat us badly? Let us follow the
examples of other nationalities who recognize and appreciate the help they receive from those who immigrated to other countries such as the Jewish-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Korean-Americans, Chinese-Americans and other nationalities. Therein lies their continuing unity and strength in fighting a common enemy. This also assures them of continuing help and support from their expatriates. Can Filipinos not do that?

We are very much concerned and distressed over the newspaper accounts of killings, graft and corruption, exploitation of Filipino workers in their own country and other anomalies in the Philippines. The hope that we see towards the eradication of these anomalies is the
bravery and militancy of the Filipino journalists who exposed them. I have expressed my support for them and my concern for their personal safety. I wrote to you, Ms. Tordesillas, about this. I also wrote to your fellow journalist: Lito Banayo, JB Baylon, Dahli Aspillera, Ronald Roy and Rod Kapunan.

I hope that this letter helps in promoting unity among Filipinos everywhere and in
condemning anyone who attacks and divides us. All Filipinos must be united, wherever they are. If we remain divided, other people will continue to discount and exploit Filipinos.

I would like to request that you publish this letter in full, either in your column or as a letter to the Editor of Malaya.

Sincerely,

Noel de la Fuente


I've had it with this over-reaction to the supposed "racial slur"; they've made their point, ABC had apologized. What more do they want, send Teri Hatcher to the firing squad? Itchy little Tongue here has had enough and though I had wanted to stay out of it, because I genuinely believe it's just the result of some egos getting pricked, I had to say my piece. Now, I had been "conveniently diverted" into this, to me, a non-issue. I didn't want to participate in any thread relating to this earlier, but the foolish pride has to be stopped. Not just because a blog partner, AdeBrux or Anna (who blogs here, too), was slighted.

How can we, who are frothing at some unkind remark, underscore our much-vaunted professionalism when we cannot even take criticism, okay, sarcasm? I don't think REAL professionals get affected by wide swipes directed at a very particular group or profession. Much more call these "racial". I remember George, the Brit senior analyst who trained us in Asset Management who said, "Intelligent professionals hit their opponents above the head, up there beyond the reach of the other guy's brains".

Secondly, we weren't reading the full context of the comment and had to substitute our own interpretation of such an innocent attempt at humor. It was clear, the uppity character was in denial after finding herself at the door of menopause. Asking for credentials is a wise practice especially if you know there exists unqualifed people in that field of service. Especially, too, if you know exactly which school produces incompetent graduates. How did she know that? From the news, where else? If it was in the news, it must be true! Reality bites?

With George in mind, I tried to "hit above the head" and responded in the blog with this:

OK, so let’s write what they want to read:

Mr. De la Fuente,
Naaawa ako sa kalagayan ng mga DOKTOR diyan sa Amerika. Huwag kang mag-alala para sa pagkakaisa ng mga Pilipino, itutuloy ko dito yang petition laban sa Desperate Housewives.

Pipilitin kong papirmahin ang lahat ng APAT NA MILYONG ISKWATER sa Metro Manila, para sa ikabubuti ng mga Pilipinong Doktor diyan sa Amerika na napahiya dahil sa pang-aapi ng isang karakter na ginawang katawa-tawa ang mga manggagawa sa kalusugan ng mga Amerikano diyan. Mahirap man kumbinsihin dahil sila mismo ay kasalukuyang inaapi, pinagsasamantalahan, pinagnanakawan at pinapapatay ng isang karakter sa Malakanyang.

Hindi ko ubos-maisip, paano na ang buhay sa Pilipinas ng mga kamag-anak ng mga doktor, kung tuluyang matitigil ang pagpapadala ng de lata, toothpaste, sabon pati vitamins at gamot. Mga damit at laruan ng mga bata. Kawawa rin ang pamilya nila, hindi ba?

Hindi na bale kami, pabayaan ninyo na lang na ibinabaon kami ng buhay dito sa bilyon bilyong utang ng mga letseng mga lider namin. Siguro, pag-uwi ninyo sa pag-reretiro, Mr. de la fuente, bayad na namin ang lahat ng iyon. Wala na kayong problema.

Ang mahalaga, kailangang ipakita nating LAHAT ang galit natin. Huwag tayong papayag na laitin nila lalo na ang mga Doktor!

Hindi baleng tinawag tayong mga bugaw ng mga anak natin ni Jay Leno, hindi naman Doktor ang gumagawa noon, yung mahihirap lang. Hindi na bale kung babuyin nila ang isang simbolo ng bansa gaya ni Presidente Cory, tutal si Cory lang iyon. Hindi naman kayo maaapektuhan nun. Mandaraya ba tayong talaga, pero hindi natin pinansin nung sinabi ni Howard Stern na lahing mandaraya tayo dahil pati yung Little League, nagpasok tayo ng mga overage kaya tinanggalan tayo ng tropeo, diyan mismo sa Amerika. Matagal na iyon. Ang bagu-bago pa lang ay iyong mga nandaya sa nursing board nung 2006. Kalimutan na dapat iyan diba, dahil alam naman ng lahat, kung sino ang malaking singil na review center, yun ang dinadayo dahil yun ang maraming leakage, hindi ba? Kahit pa itanong mo sa mga doktor diyan sa Amerika. Noong araw pa iyan, pero itong kay Teri Hatcher ay bago. Dito tayo dapat magalit.

Tama ka, Mr. De la Fuente, dapat tayong magkaisa dahil ang mga doktor natin ang nag-aalaga sa kanilang mga Kano. Kahit iniwan nila dito yung mga kababayan nilang walang ipantustos sa paggamot sa sarili, aba, KAWAWA rin yata ang buhay-doktor sa Pilipinas. Maliit lang kasi ang kita. Kulang ipambili ng malaking bahay na may swimming pool, magagarang kotse, ipambiyahe sa labas ng bansa, na ngayon ay nagagawa nila sa Amerika. Dapat silang kaawaan, ipagtanggol, magkaisang tulungan dahil kung hindi, baka magsara na yang LBC, Forex, PERA, Wells Fargo, at Western Union.

Itong braadband, cyber-ed, kung anu-ano pang kurakot sa Pilipinas, wala ito, kaya na namin ito, babayaran namn ito ng mga anak at apo namin. Huwag na ninyo kaming problemahin dito, Mr. De la Fuente. Pagbutihin nyo na lang ang pagtrabaho diyan para mapadalhan at makaipon na naman ng tigwa-one dollar ang mga bata dito sa Pasko.

Size 7 po ang paa ko sa Adidas, 6-1/2 sa Nike. Merry Christmas.


The letter-sender in a new post writes about being ("framed" I guess what he meant was "stereotyped"), and delved into history, among other things. Now, I get even more irritated, "What's with these people? Don't know when to quit?" The more these people explain, the more they get lost. The more they try to achieve depth the more they end shallow. Carry this further, and we end up losing whatever "victory" that was achieved. We might just end up proving Teri Hatcher was right: we are incompetent.

I had to stich the ends and put it to a close. I wrote this final message:

Mr. de la Fuente and others,

When we are promoting nationalism, patriotism, or whatever Pro-Pinoy ism, we examine from the top. A general perpective over the full landscape. Instead of being hysterical (later historical) let us understand where our audience are coming from. Then we can expect they can understand where we're from. I'm sure we are headed in the same direction the problem is how we take everyone on the same route.

I know Mr. de la Fuente you are reading this. We can see clearly through your intentions. Noble as they are, may we stress it further that we, the Filipinos left behind in the mother country, are in the thick of a fight to save this friggin divided country from the claws of a monstrous cabal that seeks to destroy it.

Sure, we can feel the anger against Teri Hatcher ourselves but we can only do so much. We do not want to lose focus, sidetracked into nitpicking on some petty verbal abuse. We are trying hard to survive here in the major league of abuses that this, YOUR country for six years has been subjected to.

Don't get me wrong, Mr. de la Fuente, I admire your efforts directed at bringing this issue and your unity advocacy to fruition. You and your associates there are doing the country mighty proud. But as your idealism urges you, unite your efforts with us, as of late count, 82% of Filipinos who want Gloria out of Malacañang today.

Let us save NOW, with the help of all our medical professionals worldwide, the country from its inevitable death in the hands of a usurping, cheating, lying, murderous few. We cannot do it by ourselves. Yes, you are right all along, unity is the key!

More than ever, our countrymen now need leaders, like yourselves, who can mobilize a significant force from among the digitally-connected Fil-Ams and put in action this 82% overwhelming majority who cannot even go beyond skipping their jobs to do so.

You, who have the financial stability to carry on in case of a prolonged confrontation many of our compatriots are scared of.

You, who touch base with the significant people who can influence the events as they happen.

You, who are blessed with the experience and education.

But most of all you, who I'm sure, are still hoping to come home to a land of peace and prosperity, strengthened by the pillars of honesty, integrity, unity, compassion and respect.

Then, we can all raise hell when any insensitive individual attempts to humiliate this mighty proud brown race.

Peace. Out.

Labels: , ,

22 Comments:

At 6:13 AM, October 11, 2007, Anonymous Bibeth Orteza said...

"Far, far worse than some middle-aged actor wanting to make sure that a diploma didn’t come from 'some med school in the Philippines,' is that which we’ve all heard with our own ears, and globally, too, thanks to modern technology: “Hello, Garci.” And “Back off,” and “Sec, may 200 ka rito,” no matter the latter two you got through hearsay.

One woman’s act of desperation to guarantee her position has cost us our dignity, and made us impossibly balat-sibuyas. If we truly don’t want to be judged along the standards of what is wrong about the country, we must do more than protest whenever we are used as some hapless punchline in some fictional world, we should take actual steps to ensure that we are respected as citizens of a respectable country, led by a genuinely-elected leader, and this is a task for overseas Filipinos, as well.

"Huwag naman iyong na-insulto kayo riyan, tumutulong kaming mag-petition, pero kapag kami ang nadadaya rito, at nasi-ZTE, ilan lang sa inyo ang kumikibo."

—Armida Siguion-Reyna
From This Corner
The Daily Tribune,Oct. 6, 2007

 
At 6:24 AM, October 11, 2007, Anonymous Bibeth Orteza said...

The above, my mother-in-law wrote in her Daily Tribune Saturday corner. Kamamadali kong mag-cut and paste, mali at kulang pa ang mga quotation marks.

I'm with you on this, Tongue.

 
At 7:18 AM, October 11, 2007, Blogger mschumey07 said...

I totally agree and have even stressed in my previous blog that if only these people had the same vigor in condemning the crimes of the current dispensation.

Ang problema kasi, kapag sila ang nasagasaan, they want us to join them fight, pero everyday tayong sinasagasaan dito and they could not even protest sa mga consulates natin duon much less sa UN.

The Fil-Ams should realize that they are there at the very doorstep of democracy, they can always lobby for us not just for themselves.

They call for solidarity, solidarity my ass, tayo dito ang ginagago.

 
At 7:54 AM, October 11, 2007, Blogger Tongue's Wrath said...

Bibeth,
Thanks, I knew from the very start this position I took was not an isolated one. Hearing it from you and Ms. Armida (and I guess, Carlitos', too?) encourages like-minded people not to lose sight of our goals.

Trivial Pursuit is child's play.

Kicking Gloria's ass is major league.

(BTW, I am a fan of Ms. Armida's column, too.)

Welcome!

**************

Schumey,
Exactly my point. Solidarity isn't a one-way street. 82% of us locals share a common sentiment, it's them who should be working with us not just us, with them.

Priorities.

 
At 7:56 AM, October 11, 2007, Blogger Tongue's Wrath said...

Schumey,
Did you notice the picture? Orig yan!

 
At 8:47 AM, October 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The uproar over this remark is way too exaggerated. I am also a medical practitioner (a product of philippine schools) but I do not really take offense. The truth hurts and it should spur us to improve our quality of education.
As msschumey said, there are more improtant issues.
This slur is a very petty issue.

 
At 10:16 AM, October 11, 2007, Anonymous Bibeth Orteza said...

Pero hindi ba kasi this is so how we dedma the bigger and graver things that afflict our country? Either takot, or ayaw lumaban for what ever reason, pero nagi-guilty, kaya ayan, pag may isyu na ganito, feeling safe, kaya sige, sige, puwede nang dito na lang sumawsaw, mas madaling upakan si Teri Hatcher, kaysa sa graft and corruption.

Carlitos my Pogi feels the same.

 
At 2:14 PM, October 11, 2007, Blogger Ellen said...

Tongue, okay yung photo.

 
At 2:30 PM, October 11, 2007, Anonymous Bibeth Orteza said...

Ngayon ko lang pinansin ang picture, after reading Ellen's comment, hahahaha. Parang ang sarap sabihan:

`Can I check those Provincial Certificates of Canvas ‘coz I just want to make sure they’re
not from someone named Garci.’

 
At 4:47 PM, October 11, 2007, Blogger tongueINAmowRain said...

tongue,

Remember me? ako yung dahilan kaya mo binago ang display name mo sa blog ni ellen.

ano ba ang pinuputok ng butsi mo kay Mr. De la Puente? hindi naman siya ang nag-umpisa nuong pitisyon.

At saka tingnan mo muna ang sarili mo. mahirap kang paniwalaan kung politika lalo na kung corruption ang pag-uusapan. Bakit? eh sagad pa sa buto ang pagka marcos loyalist mo. di ba ikaw ang nagsabi na pinakamayaman sa buong mundo si marcos?

at kayo namang mga artista, nasaan kayo noong panahon ni erap?

kayong mga nasa pilipinas, nasaan kayo noong nag-alsa si trillanes?

 
At 4:52 PM, October 11, 2007, Blogger tongueINAmowRain said...

tongue,

natatandaan mo rin siguro si binignO. asar ka rin sa kanya dahil palagi niyang tinitira ang pinoy.

ngayon, kayo naman ang bumabanat. masarap kasing bumanat kung feel mo hindi ka part ng group.

 
At 5:29 PM, October 11, 2007, Blogger tongueINAmowRain said...

tongue,

siguro, dapat i-update mo ang profile mo. dapat, ipagmalaki mo na myembro ka ng Kabataang Baranggay ni marcos.

hindi personal attack ito. dapat malaman ng 'readers' mo ang political leanings mo. 'disclosure' ika nga.

 
At 4:41 AM, October 12, 2007, Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Hi Tongue,

That's a wonderful billboard you've got there.

 
At 4:42 AM, October 12, 2007, Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Ooops, this is Anna - forgot to log out of my "European" blog and into Manila Bay Watch, heh!

How did you do that billboard?

 
At 10:10 AM, October 12, 2007, Anonymous chi said...

Galing nung singit na most desperate housewife photo dun a!

 
At 11:24 AM, October 12, 2007, Blogger Tongue's Wrath said...

Ellen, Anna, Chi,
Photoshop lang yun. Di ba mukhang desperate yung nasa huli. Nandidilat ang mata sa sobrang desperado.

Sa panahon ngayon, gulatin mo lang yan baka atakihin sa puso. Hahaha.

 
At 8:02 PM, October 14, 2007, Blogger Ellen said...

Nakakatakot yung mukha ni Gloria Arroyo. Nakita siguro si "E"

 
At 2:52 PM, October 23, 2007, Anonymous Toungue in a new Reign said...

desperadong fil-ams....

bakit naman kasi nanunood kayo ng walang kakwenta-kwentang american tv show? ayan pinataas nyo lang rating ng show na ito at saka nag apologize
na ang mga desperadang maybahay..
tanggapin nyo na....tama na...

kung gusto nyo talagang maging pilipino ulit at makatulong...
napakaraming isyu ang kinkaharap ng
pilipinas at mga pilipino na
pwede kayong makatulong..
salamat po...

 
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