Life between the ivory tower and a cardboard box

Overrated or Underrated: Racism on “Desperate Housewives”

For those of you not connected to the global Filipino community, what tends to happen is that any piece of international news that is even remotely about the Philippines, Filipinos, or any human being with Filipino ancestry, will be passed around and talked about, to the point that even the government feels the need to speak out about it. How can we forget the city of Manila branding Claire Danes as a persona non grata because she told Vogue and Premiere magazines that Manila “smelled of cockroaches, with rats all over and that there is no sewage system and the people do not have anything — no arms, no legs, no eyes”?

Not all of these much-debated news items deserve the kind of attention it has been receiving, though. The latest source of outrage is a recent episode of Desperate Housewives, where Teri Hatcher’s character visits her doctor, only to have him tell her that she is going through menopause. She then reacts by saying [paraphrased], “Okay, before we go any further, can I just check those diplomas? I want to make sure they’re not from some med school in the Philippines.”

Check it out:

As expected, the Filipino community has been up in arms about this and has called on everyone from Teri Hatcher, to the writers of “Desperate Housewives” and ABC Studios, to issue an apology to the Filipino people. Predictably, the Philippine government has also taken the lead in demanding an apology from the popular TV show. The comment hit particularly close to home, with millions of Filipino nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals migrating and practicing globally. As a result, ABC Studios has issued a statement, apologizing for “any offense caused by the brief reference in the season premiere.”

I have never seen an episode of Desperate Housewives, so I can’t really vouch for the show’s style or sense of humor. However, it is very obvious to me that, given the context, Teri Hatcher’s character was meant to overreact to the news of her menopause by implying that her doctor got his credentials at some far away, obscure place. Of course, it is unfortunate that that far away, obscure place happened to be the Philippines. But, the way the line was said, any country’s name could have been picked out of a hat and inserted in the line, and the message would have been the same. In my opinion, the Filipino community needs to tone down its response to this particular situation. Don’t get me wrong; anyone who knows me personally knows that I am among the first to react to prejudice or injustice against Filipinos. Nonetheless, this piece of news does not warrant the attention it is getting. There are far worse things happening to Filipinos to be angry about, like poverty or exploitation of Overseas Filipino Workers. People will forget about this episode and move on.

I acknowledge that anything in the genre of “ethnic comedy” must be handled responsibly, since there will always be the band of idiots out there who will conflate comedy with the truth. However, that is the risk anyone must take in using free speech. We can only hope that our audience has enough common sense to be able to tell the difference.

PEx screen shotThat said, I find what Filipinos have been saying about this episode kind of interesting. In general, there are those who are offended because they feel the statement provides a disservice to the reputation of Filipino health care professionals and then there are those who believe that the statement is a reflection of the perceived deterioration of Philippine health care education (particularly with regards to the recent nurse exam scandal). In both cases, it seems to me that many Filipinos are still very insecure about their global image and tend to use any mention in the global consciousness to gauge their worth as a people. Any visitor to the popular message board will see countless threads discussing why foreigners like Thailand better than the Philippines, why Filipina women marry White men, why whitening soaps are so popular, and why the Philippines will one day fail as a country. Many participants will blame anything from the government to colonial mentality. While external causes certainly play their roles, at the same time, many will rarely or never own up to personal responsibility in the way things are. I was appalled to read several threads blaming and bashing the Chinese-Filipino community for causing poverty in the Philippines. If people really believe that is true, why can’t they get off of the damn Internet and do something to change the way things are? Filipinos need to stop playing the victim and start being proactive. Things here will never change if people keep placing the responsibility on everyone else but themselves.

So, really, this whole debacle has very little to do with racism and much more to do with a prevailing sense of inadequacy. If the Filipino community cared a little more about its own, then, in the end, it won’t matter what other people say (whether in jest or not). Of course, people should not stop standing up for what they believe in, even if some of us find it a little ridiculous and unnecessary. Let’s just try to re-evaluate our priorities a little, OK?

Final verdict: OVERRATED

29 responses

  1. wtfocaccia

    I’m a Filipino-American and it’s safe to say that I don’t have any “prevailing sense of inadequacy.” I think we’re all entitled to raise some sort of objection to anything that bothers us and of course, if you juxtapose this incident with say, global human catastrophe, it sits low on the scale of importance. But then again, when it comes to having grace and a sense of taste in comedy, I have to say that the writers of the show fell short of having any. You can make a punchline and in this case, you can make an ethnic-based derogatory remark. So call me a complainer, but I think it’s pretty shitty and really poor judgment. Furthermore, there’s nothing like a little backlash to get those writers listening. They have a lot more social responsibility than they realize and to let it fall aside in favor of what’ll garner a laugh or two in the face of ratings, is pretty stupid.

    October 7, 2007 at 8:37 pm

  2. Erin


    Thanks for visiting and making the first comment on my new blog!

    I agree with you that we are all allowed and entitled to voice our opinions and objections. I am not saying that people should stop doing that. I also agree with your point about mass media producers possessing some form of social responsibility with their creative works, as I stated in the third to last paragraph in this blog entry.

    However, I think this is where the tension lies between free speech and social responsibility. If the community as an organized unit comes out and denounces one group for perceived hate speech, then that should not stop the community from stopping every single person out there from engaging in anything that resembles hate speech. In addition to a one liner in “Desperate Housewives”, we should also stop shows like “South Park” from creating any more satire or Dave Chappelle and “Chappelle’s Show” from making any more ethnic-based comedy and social commentary. Since he also pokes fun at Filipinos, we should also stop Rex Navarrete from touring and making more comedy, too. If one show can’t make a joke that even mentions ethnicity, then we should bar ALL shows from making any ethnic comedy, regardless of who makes it and whether people enjoy them or not. Of course, we should remember to give up our right to freedom of speech on the way out.

    My question is, where do we draw the line between hate speech and comedy? How do we decide what hate speech even is? I think it’s great that the community comes out and expresses where they think the line should be drawn, but I ask that people also think about how this will play out in the greater picture.

    Since you are American, you may understand when I say that one of the greatest things I treasured while I lived in the U.S. was the few restrictions on the First Amendment. While it does end up creating an environment where neo-Nazis, anti-Semitics, the KKK, and other hate groups are allowed to thrive, it also creates an environment where a highly engaged civil society takes it upon itself to stand up, protest, create change, and educate others. This includes the ability to use comedy and satire to take a stand, even if some it is ethnic-based.

    So, my point is, I defend the ability of the media to continue creating ethnic humor, with the caveat that it is actually funny and productive. The “Desperate Housewives” joke was super lame and un-funny, anyway. If we should protest anything, we should protest ABC’s poor judgment in picking good writers, hahaha.

    October 8, 2007 at 2:12 am

  3. Pingback: Overrated or Underrated: Slut Slur on “The Daily Show” « Where’s the money in that?

  4. fire_fly

    if i tell u ur entries are way damn stupid and senseless, would u react negatively? or just let it pass because this world has granted us both with free speech? and what if i tell you im just joking because telling u that u write stupid stuff makes me laugh? thats the kind of comedy i dig. so you’ll excuse my behavior?

    whatever u say, there is still such a thing called social responsibility. and i dont think it should be compromised because of satire or just because u think ethnic jokes are funny.

    re-evaluate priorities? how about re-evaluate ur values?

    October 9, 2007 at 10:03 am

  5. Erin


    Guess what! That whole freedom of speech thing? It allows you to come here and tell me what you think. Yeah, even if you and I happen to disagree! Isn’t that great? How awesome that we are entitled to such freedoms.

    Also, I never said there was no such thing as social responsibility. That doesn’t stop us all from enjoying our freedoms; it just means that living in a free society demands that we actually use our heads, think critically, and make educated decisions and opinions about what we see and do. This is why our government here in the Philippines provides us with public schools. I’m sorry you don’t think that an educated society is not a real “value”.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog! Kisses!

    October 9, 2007 at 11:46 am

  6. fire_fly

    my dear erin,

    “living in a free society demands that we actually use our heads, think critically, and make educated decisions and opinions about what we see and do”….hmm, so that desperate housewives episode is one you call “using their heads to think critically and making educated decisions?” there is nothing “educated” in that joke. it is full of ignorance, and maligned with racial insult, and geez,i cant believe there are actually people like u who thinks its funny.

    “i defend the ability of the media to continue creating ethnic humor, with the caveat that it is actually funny and productive.”—SINCE WHEN DID ETHNIC HUMOR BECOME EDUCATED AND PRODUCTIVE?!!!

    i hate to argue with u because i usually think that insensitive people like u are not worth the time. are u Filipino? if ur not, then i guess i’d just let you rot in hell, but IF u are actually Filipino, then shame on you because u are not worthy of the blood running in yor veins.

    kisses! 😉

    October 10, 2007 at 2:00 am

  7. Erin

    LOLZ @ fire_fly’s ad hominem attacks. Way to make yourself sound credible.

    Please learn how to read before you make any comments.

    I never said the joke on DH was funny. In fact, I told wtfocaccia that I think the joke was super lame and unfunny. There is a very large difference between appreciating that joke and defending the media’s ability to use ethnic humor. If you like Rex Navarrete, that is also ethnic humor. The difference is that he is actually funny. If we protest and ask to ban any more ethnic humor, it looks like Rex will have to go find another job.

    And, if you actually read into my entry and anywhere else on my blog, you will find out that I am a proud and concerned Filipino. I write what I write because criticism is also an integral aspect of any growing society. Just because you and I happen to disagree doesn’t mean that I am any less Filipino than you are. Not all Filipinos have to think alike, you know.

    I am willing to engage any real problems you have with my arguments, since I enjoy a good discussion, but any more ad hominem attacks will be ignored.

    October 10, 2007 at 12:16 pm

  8. rationalthinker

    You know while everyone is getting upset about this whole television controversy there is so many massive problems in the Philippines economy.

    Here’s an idea for you all, how about we stop talking about identity problems that fire_fly wants to obsess about and start talking about how to fix this country.

    Fire_fly implies that if you don’t get upset about every stupid American show then you’re no Filipino. Well fuck you, who cares what you think, does anyone care what the Philippines thinks by the way? No, cause we’re a poor country that is overrun with corruption. Until we fix our own problems we’ll always be the butt of jokes. We shouldn’t be feeling pride about our identity, we should be feeling shame, and that shame should be enough to push us to get our shit together, and fix our country!

    Excuse me, but some Filipinas think there are more important things, deeper problems than just tv shows, and excuse some people for thinking um, hmm “maybe arguing about filipino identity in the Philippines is similar to having a food fight on the Titanic.”

    As long as our country is run to the ground by nepotism and corruption we’ll continue to be the laughing stock of Asia. We’ll continue to be looked down upon like how the US looks down on Mexico, and we’ll forever be obsessing about “what foreign show called us what” instead of actually building a future for our people. I’m sorry to say it, I take no happiness in saying it, but that’s the cold hard truth.

    October 10, 2007 at 4:09 pm

  9. Erin


    Thank you for your comments and for backing me up. I completely agree with your sentiments about focusing on improving things at home first. That is exactly what I was talking about.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with feeling pride about our identity. That pride should definitely be more productive and focused on making things better, rather than putting others down. If we continue to police what other people are saying about us, I definitely agree that we will forever be obsessing with it, so it is really useless.

    October 11, 2007 at 2:40 am

  10. fire_fly

    Rationalthinker and the Author,

    I have some news for you two. Filipinos know there are MASSIVE problems other than the stupid desperate housewives TV show happening in the Philippines.Everyone knows that. Our government and the political system is way more controversial than Hollywood, and this is only one of the minor things we have to deal with. I dont even have to point that out before someone agrees with me.

    I dont watch Desperate Housewives (I’m way too young to relate) It only captured my attention because of the racist script (and please dont give me a narrative of whats racist and not, Im not even interested). I’m only saying that the episode was foul and Filipinos have the right to stand their ground for being disrespected. Whats so hard to understand about that?

    The author tells us that the Filipino people are overreacting and defended the media’s ability for coming up with “ethnic humor” which she thinks is funny and productive. My question is, when did this ethic humor become educated and productive? And she takes a bold step to cite Rex Navarette. What major contribution does Rex Navarette have in our country? Did his jokes inspired anyone and made Filipinos proud of their heritage?

    The author tells us that we should be concerned with the more important issues in our country, and just ignore the stupid show. Wonder why the government and most Filipino people did not just shrug their shoulders and demanded for an apology? Because telling the ABC network that they have social responsibility not to include racist jokes like that in their show is A SIMPLE STEP TO PRACTICE THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS.

    To tell you frankly, despite all the loads of shit happening in the Philippines, I have never felt any shame for being Filipina. I dont care about us being a poor country, this country is blessed with so many things to feel proud about. My mom’s Filipino neurosurgeon graduated from UP College of Medicine, and he was granted a meritorious award by the Harvard Medical School! How can I just disregard that and laugh about the episode?

    There is no perfect country, no perfect government, I’m pretty sure you’re aware of that. No utopian possibility whatsoever. You think just because I reacted (which you referred to as “obsessed”, hahaha) to this author’s piece you automatically label me apolitical and full of apathy? I studied governance and leadership in college, and I do NGO work for the streetkids of Manila. Doing something “real” and being “actually involved” in the more important things for our country did not stop me from allowing these stupid shows to belittle the medical field in the Philippines which so many Filipinos have worked hard for.

    And Erin, I’m not concerned about my credibilty. I am concerned with yours.

    October 11, 2007 at 6:01 am

  11. SunsetPoets

    I dont think those who were outraged by the racist joke on DH were the same people who are not doing anything for their country. In fact, I believe the opposite is true. The first to wave the red flag and say its foul are actually the same people who have actual involvements in activities that help uplift the welfare of the Philippines.

    I dont think any country deserves that kind of joke, and you cant strip Filipinos of their right to protest. I dont believe they over-reacted. The demand for apology was necessary.

    I wonder what exactly this author does for the Philippines and the Filipinos that gave her enough guts to write how Filipinos are supposed to react with the recent DH controversy.

    October 11, 2007 at 9:46 am

  12. jeezny

    Desperate Housewives has 115 million viewers. Comparing that to Navarattes small groups of intelligent audience is simply illogical.Thus theres this very obvious equation why the show should be more socially responsible.
    The call for an apology was not an outrage. For a “rational” person it should be considered an effort to minimize damage.The filipino-american doctors or filipino medical community deserved better and asking an apology for this “little” lie did not take forever so lets not exaggerate by saying it has buried other important priorities (unless you fail miserably in multi tasking, haha!).
    It is not anybodys business to accuse others of being obsessive just because theyre sounding a tad too passionate. And then starts lecturing about the whole sorry state of this country and how it deserves all the insults.FYI, the entire globe is in a sorry state. Do not be deceived!

    October 11, 2007 at 11:41 am

  13. Erin

    fire_fly and Sunset Poets,

    Thank you for taking the time to write a more rational comment.

    It’s obvious that you and I agree about a few things. We both agree that there is a lot that needs to be done in the Philippines. We also both agree that our country’s people and professionals deserve respect. Ultimately, what we DON’T agree on is how to choose what battles to fight.

    I also have nurses, caregivers, and Physical therapists in my family and social circles, and, like many Filipino families, I have immediate family and relatives who make their living abroad. I also lived and worked abroad briefly. So, I know exactly what it means and how it feels when a Filipino is belittled professionally.

    My dad, who is a civil engineer and consultant for a multinational firm, is licensed in the U.S. and has worked in 11 different countries (including the Philippines), improving the lives of many people by building necessary infrastructures like sewage systems and creating access to clean water. Despite how much he has accomplished, he will be among the first to tell you that many of his foreign colleagues would never give a high position to a person from a third world country like my dad. One time, his company flew in a White engineer from Bangkok, who took the credit for my dad’s work, just so they could please their client. I think it’s disgusting that Filipino professionals are mistreated, just as how Filipino domestic helpers in the Middle East suffer abuse or how Filipino construction workers feel the need to sneak into Iraq, despite the travel ban, and are exploited because they are that desperate for money. I’m disgusted because it happens in real life, with or without “Desperate Housewives”. So, I don’t need a TV show to make me feel angry about mistreated Filipino workers. Since you are obviously informed about what happens to Filipinos, I don’t think you need this TV show, either. You said yourself, you are college-educated and work directly with our street kids. Why do you need to focus your energy on some TV show you don’t even watch? You and I both know it is so much worse in real life!

    As for me, I used to work for a non-profit in the U.S. that was targeted to improving the lives of Asian Americans in Iowa, where I used to live. In addition to the other Asian ethnic groups, I also got to know and work with the Filipino-American community, many of whom were also nurses and doctors who were trained in the Philippines. I have the utmost respect for them, because I know they worked hard to get where they are, and they give back by improving their local communities. One of the challenges I faced while working for my non-profit was to figure out how to increase and improve the profile of Asian Americans in Iowa, a state where about 90% of the population is White. It was a LOT of work, and not all of it was easy. In the end, though, it was absolutely fulfilling to meet even one non-Asian Iowan who was curious about Asians and even about the Philippines. (Unfortunately, I had to leave, since U.S. immigration policy currently does not give many foreigners work visa for essentially doing social work.)

    This is not to say that we did not have any detractors or stupid racists who assumed things just because we were Asian. I got my fair share of that shit, both in college and in my work. I have no delusions that the U.S. is some kind of ideal utopia of happiness and equality. But then, after getting quite enough of it, I learned that, no matter what you do, there will ALWAYS be a group of detractors who will piss on you and your every effort. In effect, there is just no point in running after everyone who brings you down. You will never catch everyone and, more often than not, they will never change. You learn to just choose what you feel is worth going after.

    You and everybody else who feels similarly certainly have a right to protest. I never said otherwise. I am not Big Brother, and my opinions should not stop others from doing what they want. However, my experiences and knowledge, particularly first hand knowledge of racism coming out of the U.S., leads me to believe that there are far worse things to worry about than a TV show.

    As for your question about ethnic jokes and comedy, if you do a Google search of “ethnic humor” or “ethnic comedy”, you will find that your hits will talk about how it has a very significant role in social change. I will give you one link where it talks about how a Hispanic comedian who openly uses “racial slurs” in his shows have allowed other Latin Americans to laugh at the current illegal immigration debate and ultimately talk openly and productively about it. Here:

    October 11, 2007 at 11:51 am

  14. Erin

    This says it best:


    “A fourth side was pointed out by some online reactors to the show: there is freedom of expression in the United States and any attempt to censor a work of fiction is worse than political incorrectness or hurt feelings. In other words, where do we stop? Shall writers no longer be allowed to create serial rapist-killers that say all kinds of bad things against women? Shall all novels and television plays now have only heroes and no villains? What about demonic characters that insult God? Shall we delete from the Bible the words attributed to Satan because they challenge the authority of the Almighty?”

    October 11, 2007 at 8:49 pm

  15. rationalthinker

    I’m sorry Erin, I disagree, there’s a reason that pride is one of the seven deadly sins (sorry, raised Catholic, big surprise*). Fire_fly is the poster child for that. Fly’s knee jerk response to you accusing you of basically being a traitor to our kind for disagreeing is an example of the stupidity and dangers that nationalism brings (as if the Axis Powers were not enough of an example).

    Pride can be beneficial at times, but only if it’s in what YOU do and what YOU accomplish. I love my culture, and it’s a part of me, but I don’t take pride in it. See the difference yet? I take pride in what I do and what I accomplish.
    Everyone has a culture, but it’s silly taking pride in something you never had any work in doing? Should I take pride in having two arms? Isn’t the answer obvious?

    Maybe it’s because I received my business degree abroad (Europe) but one of the first things they teach you: “pride is the friend of complacency.” It’s self-satisfaction, which is dangerous when you have competition… you know in the real world?

    Moving on:

    Fire_fly, I can’t actually know if you know the severity of the Philippines problems, and I agree you have every right to protest. I just have an aversion to your knee-jerk nationalism, and I’m saying just because I don’t care what middle aged skanks say on tv in another country doesn’t mean I’m not Filipina, it just means I have better things to attend to. In fact if you wanted to you could do go to their studios, set yourself on fire like the monks in the Vietnam war, that would get the studio’s attention. I encourage you to do that, take a stand for the people! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for “HUMAN RIGHTS!!!” but really what I’m for is competent transparent governments.

    And no, you shouldn’t feel shame for being Filipino/a nor should you feel pride. As a citizen though, I do feel shame, and shame and humility would not do the Philippines any harm.

    Shame is one of the emotions that causes us to act, to clean up our act, encourages diligence and self control. Pride is the opposite, it blinds us, causes people and nations to do horrible things. In fact more horrible things have been done in the name of pride than in the name of humility. Pride causes us to refuse to acknowledge the truth, how many people’s lives have been ruined because they wouldn’t swallow their pride?

    So again, I don’t like “Housewives”, I don’t think they should have said the things they said, but in the end, really there are more important things, despite the fact that you “care” about government and so forth

    And really if fly was telling the truth and there are “many” like him/her than I have to ask them: how much has really changed since the people power revolution? If fly was correct, our country would be a wonderful place to live. It’s not (unless you’re fairly well off). That saddens me more than words can express, cause so much of my family is still there.

    Finally, no I agree, there are no perfect countries. But there are good countries and bad ones. I’m sorry to say the Philippines is a bad one, there’s a reason why so many people are leaving our country just to find work, and why remittances are so important to our economy and why call centers rule us. I’m sorry, there are differences, we’re not all equal, and I don’t like that, but that’s the truth.

    And you’re right, I should have meant you were “malicious” instead of obsessed, not to Housewives, but to Erin.

    I do think it’s great that you say you’re trying to help the country. However everything you say is undermined by your response to Erin, and it shows that you’re just as lost in blind nationalism and really, can you be the hope for the Philippines? I say probably not.

    The same goes for Sunset poet, I never said you can’t protest, I just said you people are morons, that’s the difference. You can join fly and set yourself on fire for all I care.

    FYI, everyone makes fun of everyone, here in Europe tv shows make fun of Americans all the time (e.g. obese and stupid) if people won’t apologize to a superpower they are sure as hell not going to apologize to the Philippines (sorry to burst your bubble).

    What makes this so funny is that you all act as if Erin “has” the power to tell you how to react, as if Erin has the power to stop you from protesting and that makes you angry. Well my “power” tells you you’re free to set yourself on fire, and also if you like, go overboard.

    With jeezny, Housewives is about old skanks getting laid, and you’re talking about “social responsibility?” I truly find that funny, you have my permission also to set yourself on fire, power to the people!

    And another thing to all you idiots: I’m sorry, but if someone calls me not being Filipina for NOT going overboard on some US tv show, then I have the right to call you a dumbass.


    Now that I’m done dealing with those morons, listen Erin, you’re the only one I can actually reach here, so listen to me.

    I assume about you:
    1. You were never raised in the Philippines, otherwise, why the fuck did you chose anthro?! (also the third culture kid gave that away)
    2. You’re relatively young since then why would you be whining to your Mom at age 30 or beyond? By then you’d be a burnt out smoker working at a call center
    3. You’re part or full fillipo/a

    Look I had a similar experience, but I chose business as my major, and I never hated it. I ended up in Eastern Europe, rose up fast in my ranks, and now I’m on my way to becoming a dual citizen and in about a year I anticipate to be making over 100,000 Euros (not bad for being age 27).

    Leave the Philippines anyway you can, if you have to get another degree now so be it. No one takes Philippines job experience seriously (not at my firm at least, like we care about call center experience).

    Everyday you live in the Philippines is going to be a waste: the country suffers from nepotism, corruption, and from I read on some news sites instability, there’s a reason why our competitors are planning on pulling some of their operations out of the country, and I don’t blame them. The Philippines is literally the Titanic, waiting for an iceberg.

    As a businesswoman, I don’t see a bright future for our country, if you were smart you’d be gone.

    Plus the guys here in Europe are sooo cute !!!

    October 11, 2007 at 11:56 pm

  16. rationalthinker

    I meant cute!!! “not cute?!!!”

    Sorry, must have been thinking about a couple of them I met this weekend.

    October 12, 2007 at 12:02 am

  17. rationalthinker

    by the way I’m just kidding about the setting yourself on fire, don’t do it

    October 12, 2007 at 12:50 am

  18. rationalthinker

    also the monks were great people with legitimate reasons to protest, comparing them to you morons seems in bad taste

    October 12, 2007 at 1:13 am

  19. jeezny

    omg, rationalthinker just proclaimed her assets to the about good taste!YES, even old skanks and nearly middle aged women who desperately wants to get laid are not excused from social responsibility.hope you get both.Erin, i still like you anyways.

    October 12, 2007 at 4:48 am

  20. Louis

    Hey Erin,

    It’s my first post. I think you all of your friends here are overreacting and should get a life.

    No offense…

    I thought it was funny.

    See you losers never.

    USA, Alaska/Iowa

    October 12, 2007 at 2:07 pm

  21. Louis

    For Erin’s Friends:

    I will give you guys a heads up:

    On the Philippines:

    “So, what lessons might businesses, both local and foreign, draw from all this? First, that corruption remains deeply ingrained in the Philippines—as also confirmed by Transparency International’s latest survey, published last month. Second, that the rule of law may be sacrificed to political expediency, as shown by the readiness to pardon Mr Estrada. And, third, that the country remains as coup-prone and unstable as ever.

    Though the Philippines has recently been lifted by its main trading partners’ flourishing economies, it remains vulnerable to any downturn in their fortunes. And, given the head start it once enjoyed, it should be leading rather than following. Until the 1970s it was one of Asia’s richest countries. But its complacency and its chronic lack of credibility have held it back while its neighbours have soared.”


    You guys have better things to do… like preventing your country from becoming Zimbabwe 2.0.

    Just giving you a heads up, good luck preventing the collapse of your nation, if you get that tv show to apologize you might just save your country!

    Now I mean for reals: see you losers never!

    -Louis M.
    USA Iowa/Prevent

    October 12, 2007 at 2:24 pm

  22. SunsetPoets

    oh rational thinker, i bet ur so ugly and sooo fat. philippines doesnt need u anyway, just let urself fucked in the face by ur soooo cute europeans. hehehe

    October 14, 2007 at 5:04 am

  23. fire_fly

    This is getting so ridiculous. rationalthinker is the one being so “obsessive” this time. I think she never realized that she just made a 22-paragraph narrative defending herself to the morons! Doesnt she have anything else to do? God, 22 paragraphs! And addressing it to the morons, tsk tsk tsk.

    And I’m sorry Erin, got a little emotional. Was way out of line.

    October 14, 2007 at 5:14 am

  24. Erin

    Hi people,

    Sorry for taking a while to reply. I have had a bit of a rough week.

    fire_fly: No worries. I’m sorry for being rude at one point. I like disagreeing and learning, and I hope this doesn’t stop you from visiting and keeping up a dialogue. 🙂

    jeezny: Thanks!

    October 14, 2007 at 5:59 am

  25. Erin


    Re: your argument about pride, fair enough. I do think, though, that you and I have differing definitions of what “pride” is. Yes, pride can lead some to have xenophobic tendencies (the white supremacist movement comes to mind). However, without pride, oppressed people would not have the agency to overcome their unfortunate circumstances. Without Black pride, there would not have been a civil rights movement in the U.S. Without pride, the monks in Burma would not feel that having peaceful protest would be worth it. I think that there can be productive and non-violent ways of exhibiting that pride, which do not include acts of extremism (e.g., terrorism in the name of Islam).

    Your argument about good vs. bad countries sounds like a value judgment. Countries are neither “good” or “bad”; they are just political constructs. What we CAN say are good or bad are what happens within those countries, like a crappy government, crappy economy, etc. — things that are controlled and can be changed by people, a.k.a. actions and decisions. Those actions and decisions are what causes people to leave. But those things can be changed if people actually invest in changing them. It doesn’t make the Philippines or Philippine culture bad; it just makes circumstances bad.

    I am full Filipina and I am currently 24 years old. I chose to major in Anthro because I think it is relevant (though definitely more relevant if you have a graduate degree, heh). I also minored in Global Development Studies, which also had Anthro courses as requirements, so I know it’s not some bullshit ivory tower subject.

    I’m glad you’re having a good life and you are happy with it, so kudos to you. But that isn’t necessarily the answer for everybody. Some people like business and want to succeed elsewhere; some people want to be involved with NGOs here. It all depends on what makes you happy. Anthro makes me happy. The only thing is, it’s keeping me jobless. It doesn’t make it a “bad” degree, though, since I know my circumstances will change. I had a chance to stay in the U.S. (not through work), but I didn’t take it. That doesn’t make me a stupid person, it just means I made a decision and I will live with its consequences as best as I can.

    I intend on going away to work or for school again someday, but right now, my life is here. That’s just fine with me, thanks.

    October 14, 2007 at 6:14 am

  26. Ben Brillantes

    Yes, I think I have to agree with what this guy says on his blog:

    I will end my commentary on the whole issue by simply asking why we think it is perfectly alright for us to do this:

    and this:

    and even for one of our most respected politicans to say this:

    but when anyone dares to poke fun at a segment of our population like

    everyone immediately cries racism and discrimination?

    October 15, 2007 at 11:48 pm

  27. Hi.

    Oh can we please just get over it. it was just a little joke that was a little too offensive. british people have the piss taken out of it all the time by other countries about having buck teeth and talking like toffs. but none of us are like that!! besides, they removed that line form the show afterwards because when it came to england the line was left out.

    February 25, 2009 at 4:20 pm

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