Filipinos Are Very Sensitive About Criticism Of Their Country
****DISCLAIMER: If anyone has followed me online they know that I love Filipino culture as well as many various Asian cultures and promote them positively as I have an interest in the world at large. Even so, I am certain many Filipinos will react to this article in a bad way and claim that I am racist and troll me in the comments and be upset. Nothing can please those types of people. On the other hand I know there are going to be Filipinos who understand the point I am making and will use common sense and see the truth.***
Certain times in the media from various countries people have criticized the Philippines or made jokes about Filipinos. These jokes and criticisms are made often for various countries and cultures around the world. When it comes to a person making a joke about the Philippines, though, the most thin skinned-extremely sensitive overreactions occur. Demands for an apology, boycotts and vicious insults are given in retaliation for a joke or some thing Filipinos take to be prejudice or racist against them. This is a phenomenon among Filipinos that I have noticed. It is especially noticeable online.
I remember when the show Desperate Housewives made a passing comment about the quality of doctors in the Philippines and the entire world-wide Filipino population exploded into a rage. I saw a video clip of the joke and it was one of the smallest and silliest jokes that nobody could really take seriously. The actress Teri Hatcher simply states, “Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines.” That caused Filipinos to get absolutely angry and demand an apology, and wrote letters about how racist and hateful the comment was. Apparently, it is true that most of the doctors in the Philippines are decent. I know from experience than many Filipinos come to the USA to be nurses and are absolutely smart and very good healthcare workers. It can only be assumed that Filipino doctors are just as good as anywhere else. The website “expatforum.com” posted an article that states,
“you can still consider the health care of this nation is of good quality, despite the fact that the facilities may not be as impressive as those found in high-end US hospitals….Medical practitioners in the Philippines are graduates from top universities in the country, and most of them have in United States medical schools. Additionally, there are also doctors that have practiced medicine in the US before sharing their expertise in the Philippines. Filipino nurses are also trained by nursing schools with the best standards. In fact, most of the nurses working in the US are Filipinos.“
I know that this is true from experience.
When I visited the Philippines I went to the dentist since I could not afford a dentist in the USA. I had never had a checkup for 3 years. So I decided I could afford a checkup and fix any problems for a very low price that would be unbelievable in the United States and it was true! I went into the office and it was very run down, dingy, and it reminded me of some small garage or broken down apartment. But the quality of care I received was just as good as anything in the USA. So apparently Filipinos who complain about Desperate Housewives making that joke do have a a valid issue. But the show is about crazy, irrational, manipulative and slutty Desperate Housewives! Her ignorant comment only is a portrayal of the character on that show and not how the actress feels in real life. Filipinos seriously overreacted to this. One reason anyone might assume Philippines doctors are bad is because of the really poor quality of facilities, and overall poverty in the Philippines and the government run hospitals that cram people into the hallways and waiting rooms. It is a misconception.
Another issue that put Filipinos up in arms was when a Korean actress, Lee Da Hae, that is apparently popular in Asia, mocked the Filipino accent when talking about ESL instructors which can be seen on YouTube. What is amusing to me is that Filipinos constantly mock their own accents, other pinoy regional accents when speaking Tagalog or English, and the Filipino Americans often mock Filipino immigrants English with each other all of the time. I know this from personal experience and witnessing these jokes constantly. But God forbid someone who is not Filipino also makes the exact same jokes! Filipinos will be enraged and want to ruin your life. I even made a video on youtube about this very topic. I do believe for the most part these jokes do not allow Filipino culture to progress and it is simply bullying of Filipino immigrants by FilAms who think they are better than whom they deem as “FOBs” or (Fresh off the boat). But on the other hand an accent or race joke here and there can be hilarious. Many comedians use ethnic humor that everyone including Filipinos laugh at. Ethic humor is not only entertaining but can also teach through jokes to enlighten another group about one’s culture and people. But for the most part the way FilAms mock accents is just plain annoying and overdone, not funny, and malicious. Yet, there is absolutely some truth to what Lee Da Hae said. The quality of many Filipino ESL teachers do have somewhat of an accent like that. Yet, out of all Asian countries they are the best ESL teachers because they are the best Asian speakers of English, but really if you want to learn the best English you need an American or British ESL teacher, especially with pronunciation. Hae made a very accurate portrayal of most Filipino ESL teachers and how they pronounce words. It was actually pretty funny, but Korean ESL teachers have even worse accents. This was simply just a silly joke that has some truth to it yet Filipinos went nuts and slandered this actress over it and social media exploded with vicious insults about her. Yet Filipinos themselves constantly mock each other’s accents in the exact same way. It is very hypocritical.
Absolutely the worst consequences for people who make jokes about the Philippines seem land on Americans. Adam Carolla did say a more abrasive and charismatic insult about the Philippines when he had a discussion about boxing and particularly the Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao is of course world famous, arguably the best boxer in the world and an ambassador and cultural export for the Philippines. He is almost worshiped by Filipinos everywhere and his fights seriously matter for the personal and emotional well being of Filipinos worldwide. There is so much pride in this fighter for the Philippines. Carolla exclaimed,
“They got this [Pacquiao] and sex tours, that’s all they have over there. Get your s**t together Philippines. Jesus Christ. I mean, again, it’s fine to be proud of your countrymen. But that’s it? That’s all you got?”
This was a more abrasive insulting joke, yet, I do believe there is some truth to it. But the Philippines is truly much more than this narrow minded idea of the country.
I visited the Philippines in 2009 and experienced one of the most wonderful countries, absolutely beautiful islands, wonderful and hospitable people, delicious food, and interesting cultures with a rich history. Other people who have not looked into, been to, or studied the Philippines will only understand it through what they typically see through only the popular things it has to offer. Unfortunately, the Filipinos themselves do not always portray their own country in a positive light and even express negative things exactly like what Adam Carolla said. Yes, one of the only things keeping the Philippines in the minds of the rest of the world is in fact Manny Pacquiao. Honestly, no one would really care about the Philippines that much if it was not for him. No one would hear much about the country in the news at all. The Philippines would be more like Micronesia or Cambodia or some country people know exists but don’t think about or are concerned about typically. So his service to his country is very great. When he fights, he is fighting for the Philippines.
Another thing the Philippines is known for worldwide is sex tourism. Adam Carolla is only expressing what is a common known fact about the country. Just like Cambodia or Thailand, sex tourism is what many people know the Philippines for. When I was there I was harassed often by prostitutes, both men and women, assuming I am there for sex tourism. There is also a very serious problem with child sex slavery. Pedophilia is a huge problem there and Filipinos themselves are paying to sexually abuse their own countries children in this way as well as giving them to foreigners who visit to sexually abuse them. Pornography is also a huge epidemic in the Philippines as a high degree of pornography, most notably in the category of Asian pornography, is produced in the Philippines with Filipina women. Filipinos make it, act in it, produce it and export it worldwide, and enjoy viewing it. Yes, also foreigners show up to hire sex workers to be in videos but the Filipinos are the ones who are willingly participating in them for money. Part of the reason for these problems is of course poverty and desperation, but there is still no one really to blame for it but the fact this is a cultural problem within the country. Adam Carolla was only expressing a common fact.
Yes, the Philippines needs to do something about this and become popular or known for more than Manny Pacquiao and sex tourism. It is a sad fact and comments from comedians like him should be taken as a reality check to actually change. Stop the government corruption, fight to end poverty, develop a better economy, stop sex tourism, fight child sex slavery, and stop producing pornography that only degrades its women. Nobody can blame this on white people either. Adam Carolla is not racist for making such criticisms he is just being bold and brutally honest. Was it rude? Yes. Was it funny? In a way it could be seen as funny depending on if you have thin skin or not.
I find it very amazing that Filipinos can get through violent battles such as what happened in WW2 where many people died by the Japanese, constantly survive numerous typhoons every year and still remain resilient and within a few weeks live life as normal and smile, but they cannot get over mere silly jokes and insults by people who are not Filipino. This is a phenomenon and a very interesting thing about Filipino culture. There is an extreme identity crises where many Filipinos want to be like westerners, or even white, yet they will also turn around and bash white people, especially the United States and claim we are arrogant and racist. Filipinos constantly fight each other over whether or not they are “Asians” or “Pacific Islanders.” It is a huge debate (not really since the Philippines is in Asia the same as Japan or Indonesia is in Asia, all island nations, thus making them Asians). Filipinos are tough when it comes to life struggles, but they are very emotional and weak when it comes to jokes that may or may not be insulting them. They cannot seem to heal from ridiculous jokes or insults, but they can willingly live through a corrupt government, survive typhoons, poverty, volcanoes, and still smile etc…
It is apparent that Filipinos do not think anyone but themselves can make social commentary about their country or culture. Especially White Americans like me. I have constantly been harassed and called racist and told I have “white privilege” (a term created by White liberals in the United States which tells you they are being influenced by western thought and not traditional Filipino thought) and will never understand Filipino people and I have no right to talk about Filipino things. But if Filipinos want so much respect in the world they should start considering the opinions and reactions of non-Filipinos about the Philippines. If Filipinos themselves do not do anything about their own problems and refuse to listen to White people who reacted to something, or made a comment about an experience they had, how can they grow or change? We live in a globalized world and people have got to get their “stuff” together as Adam Carolla mentioned for the betterment of the entire world. We don’t have time to have petty arguments about how the USA is using cultural imperialism to destroy the Philippines through white dominant males who have sex with pinays to create a mixed race of English speakers who will end all that is Filipino! Yes that was a joke, but it really reflects some of the insane thoughts various Filipinos have towards foreigners who are White Americans.
The problems in the Philippines can only be solved by Filipinos and all everyone else can do is simply motivate them to do something about it. Take silly jokes, insults, with a sense of humor and a grain of salt! Filipinos need to get thicker skin, and relax and learn to laugh at themselves more. I know personally when interacting with Filipinos they constantly use self deprecating humor and always laugh at themselves which makes them some of the coolest people to hang out with, but for some odd reason if something happens in the media or through the internet they go crazy.
I remember when some Indian woman made a list about Filipina maids smelling, or something close to that, because she claimed they are always cleaning toilets. What she said was ignorant and racist and vicious, but Filipinos let it get to them so bad. It was rumored that hackers got her information and got this woman fired from her job. I guess Filipinos are trying to say “don’t talk trash about us or else!”
Things Filipinos can learn from White Americans, though, is you can mock us, make fun of us, trash talk our country, even burn our flag and yet your country will still receive aid in millions of dollars from our government. Sure, White Americans will frown on it, but still feel emotionally secure. America is probably the most insulted country in the entire world by everyone for the stupidest reasons. You don’t see us going around trying to get people fired or writing angry letters about racism to networks. We simply just ignore it. We frown on it, do not like it, might say a comment here and there, but we ignore it and move on. This attitude is one thing Filipinos could learn from these “white privileged” Americans.