I’m back from outerspace. Or shall I say, “earth-dwelling”, in the words of my Twitter friend, Kevin M. Keating. That’s not entirely true though since I have been finding the time to update my other blogs. Mea culpa.
I’m still in the process of defining what it is I want to say here on my WordPress. I revamped my categories to free me from my self-imposed restrictions. Out of all the blogs I maintain, I feel that here is where I want to be the most “serious”. Then again, one should not take oneself too seriously. Life is too short.
Before I jump back into The Radio Files series that was rudely interrupted by life and work, there’s one topic I wanted to go off on. Countless blogs from the Philippines and Filipinos all over the globe have contributed to the space in cyberspace labelled “Malu Fernandez Hatred“. I wanted to put my two centavo thoughts into the fray.
While I do not agree with Fernandez’s bigoted comments about Overseas Filipino Workers being “funky smelling” and users of “cheap colognes like Axe and Charlie”, the brouhaha has made me re-visit racism, chauvinism, age discrimination, disability discrimination, socio-economic class discrimination, and other forms of looking down at fellow individuals.
How many times have I been guilty of labelling loud, inarticualte types as rednecks? Or looked with disgust at a Jaguar and shouted in my head at the passengers, “nouveau riche!”? Or cringed at scantilly-clad women on the arms of a foreigner? Or paid no attention to beggars because I’ve pre-judged them for being members of a money-making syndicate?
What Fernandez said was definitely uncalled for. And I whole-heartedly support the calls for her apology and resignation. But in the broader scheme of things, beneath the anger-stirring and mud-throwing, I am looking deep into how much propensity I myself possess to quickly label others.
It scares me to find that deep down inside me, I can be no different than her.
The difference is, that I choose the path of higher ground and remind myself that I am no better than my fellow man; that we are all here on this earth on borrowed time; that our cologne does not define who we are; that in God’s eyes, we are all sinners in desperate need of saving.
So while Fernandez’s column in the Manila Standard and vacation feature in People Asia brought tears to my eyes both of anger and hurt for Filipinos making a decent living away from home, I am stopping myself from calling her names and eagerly awaiting to see how this will all turn out.
Will she be removed from these publications?
Will bloggers score a victory over a mainstream medium?
Fernandez has no further to look than her passport to see how much she shares in common with the Filipino workers she belittled. It’s green.
Post script. Fernandez apparently issued an apology and has resigned from both publications. Watch the video on YouTube.
Additional post script as of September 3, 2007: Fernandez resumes her column with the Manila Standard due to the fact that they did not accept her resignation. Click here for details.