Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chip On Their Shoulder

As the recent experience with Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao demonstrated, Filipinos are hyper-sensitive to criticism. Requests have been made through official channels that Mr. Tsao be blacklisted for life by Philippine Immigration for calling the Philippines a "nation of servants." Honestly, when I saw the first news report on this story, I thought Mr. Tsao was a Filipino journalist who had aroused the ire of the Chinese government in Beijing for referring to the 1.3 billion Chinese people's service to their own Communist "masters."

Coincidentally, a friend in far away Nevada asked me if I was aware of how offensive some of my prior comments on this blog might be construed by Filipinos. I told her that the only Filipinos who should be offended by what I write are either politicians and/or celebrities. In which case they could, as Liberace once put it, "cry all the way to the bank."* I also made it clear to her, as I hope it is clear to the readers of this blog, that when I express disgust or dismay at some of the inequities that divide the Philippine people or the living conditions or the injustices that I see them endure not every once in awhile but every day and everywhere I look, I am doing so because I am convinced that those inequities, living conditions, and injustices are completely unnecessary and unacceptable from my particular perspective as a citizen of a nation that is certainly not without its own faults - not the least of which were its forty-seven year forcible occupation of the Philippines and its economic and military assistance to certain well-known tyrants when it suited their own vaunted national security interests.

Unlike mine, Mr. Tsao's comments were aimed indiscriminately at the Filipino race, and his subsequent apologies were utterly unconvincing. If I were to apologize, which I won't, while I was at it I might as well apologize to the Swedes, the Irish, and the Chinese - not to mention my very own fellow Americans, upon whom I have heaped gigaloads of abuse.

*This famous quote is nearly always misquoted as "laugh all the way to the bank." Liberace was asked how he reacted to the hostile criticism of his piano playing.

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