Slur vs Hong Kong Pinays sparks outrage

Published by rudy Date posted on March 29, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – A congresswoman yesterday called on a Hong Kong magazine to apologize to the Philippine government for offensive and defamatory comments on Filipinos in an article on the country’s claim over the Spratly islands which China also claims.

Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros voiced strong protest over the article of Chinese writer Chip Tsao published in the HK Magazine of the Asia City Publishing Group, where he called the Philippines a “nation of servants.”

In his article, Tsao protested the Philippine claim over the Spratlys, urging his compatriots not to bow to the Philippines because there are “more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong.”

“As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter,” Tsao said in his article.

He also mentioned that he employs a Filipina domestic helper named Louisa and warned her that should a war erupt, “I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day.”

“With that money, she would pay taxes to her government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings,” Tsao added.

“I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China,” Tsao wrote.

The Chinese writer likewise said the Philippines should stop threatening China.

“The Philippines may have a Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout ‘China, Madam/Sir’ loudly whenever they hear the word ‘Spratly.’ They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout ‘Long Live Chairman Mao,’ at the sight of portrait (sic) of our Great leader during the Cultural Revolution,” Tsang said in his article.

Hontiveros took strong offense at this and said the magazine should apologize immediately.

“This disgusting, derogatory, and vile remark can only come from dim-witted and mediocre writing. The magazine should apologize straightaway. The article reflects the kind of attitude that promotes abuses against Filipina workers,” Hontiveros said.

She said Tsao’s story should not have been published, owing to its defamatory nature characterized by racial discrimination against Filipinos in general, and domestic helpers in particular.

“Chip Tsao should find another profession. He should leave the Spratlys issue to the diplomats and writing to real writers because clearly he has neither competence nor talent in foreign affairs and in writing,” Hontiveros added.

“When you make fun of a particular group, you expose them to abuses. Wittingly or unwittingly, you end up supporting acts of intolerance and abuses,” she added.

“Filipina domestic workers should hold a one-day strike to tell the likes of Chip Tsao who’s the real master of the HK economy. If all Filipino workers in HK would strike, the HK economy would grind to a halt without us having to invade the territory,” she said.

She said Filipinos are not asking for political correctness, just professional treatment.

“Domestic work is a decent job. It’s not just done by hired Filipina domestic workers, it has also been the function of mothers of all nationality, in Hong Kong and China and elsewhere. It should be treated with respect,” she said, adding that by insulting Filipina domestic workers Tsao has also insulted his own mother.–Delon Porcalla, Philippine Star

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