I've been reading a lot about the article by Malou Fernandez lately, and it's just too good of an issue to pass up. Besides, it's high time I live up to my degree and write about something relevant for a change.
Her reaction, written in the Manila Standard Today, can be found here.
It's bad journalism--that's what I think. I have my own beef with the overly-glorified status that society in general assigns to OFW's (largely owing to the fact that we've made people into commodities), but I sure as hell recognize their contribution to the economy, and I know that it isn't easy to leave familiar territory and be someone's errand boy or girl in a different country. Which is why I don't think the language used in Fernandez' article was in any way appropriate.
She claims that people "lack common sense" to understand her "acerbic wit". Jessica Zafra has acerbic wit. House (or rather, the writers for House: MD) has (have) acerbic wit. Fernandez, on the other hand, is simply acerbic. There is not an ounce of wit in what she wrote. And really, there is no sorrier excuse for being rude and elitist by saying that one is simply "being true to one's self". Come to think of it, doesn't saying that only confirm that one's "true self" is indeed rude, elitist and obnoxious?
She says in her reaction, published under her column in the Manila Standard Today, that her friends found it funny. It's always easy for folks who are better off to belittle others who they think are below them. I'm sure I'd also be annoyed by the noisy OFW's who were on the plane with her, but I can't blame them either. Separated from family and country, every kababayan is a comrade, a point which is completely lost on people who've grown up with a pa-sosyal, individualized and western-oriented mindset. If she minded the noise so much that she thought God put her in "her own personal hell" she should have plugged an IPod into her ears or something (as if sleeping pills weren't enough). With all the brand labels she name-dropped, I'm sure adding "Apple IPod" would be a welcome addition to her list of "haves". Or maybe it would be too "wannabe" or too "have-not" of her.
And just because her friends are just as crass as she is not an excuse to poke fun at others just because they wear AXE and Charlie cologne, and she wears some flabbergasting expensive brew (P2,500 for perfume is NOT moderately priced at all). It would be like one over-eager detractor justifying calling her Ms. Piggy (which is about the tamest description I've read so far) just because other over-eager detractors would find it funny.
One columnist for the Manila Standard Today said that we like to have fun at the expense of others, and proceeded to enumerate examples to illustrate her point. Personally, I do not find Michael V's "Nayari Ka" or "Wow Mali" to be anywhere near funny. It's annoying and meaningless comedy--if it can (or should) be even called such--to say the least, and rude besides. And it's a flimsy excuse to say that just because everybody does it, one is welcome to join in, regardless of whether it's good or bad. At the end of the day, we are only responsible for the words we say and the things we do, no matter what other people do or like--no more, no less. That the media (and a significant number of the general public) like to make "fun" and crack "jokes" at other people's expense is completely irrelevant. Ms. Fernandez was crass, and acted (or at least wrote) like a complete asshole, and that's that.
And finally, Ms. Fernandez, I do not need to have my world shaken up by a "bitch", as you put it. Life has a way of shaking itself up without any (unwanted) help from presumptuous people such as yourself. Actually, people like you are incapable of shaking up any sort of world, big or small--you simply exist to affirm that education and riches, or a good command of the English language (especially all those brands you keep bandying about) does not make a person a decent human being.
Some other small points:
- one does not get "roughed-up" at the beach. Try climbing a mountain, dumbass.
- all-terrains on the beach. Oh, I forgot, all-terrains are used for places where one "roughs it up". Really, there's nothing quite like total ignorance, is there?
- "Much to my chagrin, I had never been to Boracay", and then "I have serious trepidations about going"? That doesn't even make sense. Why be all chagrined about not being able to go to a place where you have serious trepidations about going to?
- I buy expensive perfume, denounce Havaianas because they mess up my pedicure, and go to Greece on a whim, and I ride ECONOMY?! What the hell is up with that? And to top it off, I whine about it, a conscious decision made by myself, a person who belongs to the "have" group of society, someone who's so sophisticated, intelligent and over-flowing with common sense that other people cannot understand my "acerbic wit"? I really must be some kind of sophisticated and witty idiot as well.