Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why I Wrote that Blog About Mr. Chip Tsao-PART 2

Mr. Tsao’s article started off with what seemed to be a criticism of the Philippines’ passage of the Baselines Law, which prescribes the boundaries where our claim to our territorial waters and our Exclusivc Economic Zone would be based.

As a short background, the Baselines Law was passed by the Philippine Congress and signed into law by President Arroyo as compliance to the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which the Philippines is a signatory. Under that convention, we had until May of 2009 to comply or otherwise, be left behind in the discussions on maritime laws and implementation of the same.

The Baselines Law provided the basics of our existence as a country, in that it defines where our sovereignty begins and ends, where we can exercise the enforcement of our laws and where we can take full advantage of natural resources for our country’s welfare.

Therefore, the Baselines Law’s passage is of utmost importance to us, one that Congress and the executive branch has taken seriously. On a personal note, it is one agenda that I closely followed in Congress, recognizing the need for us to institutionalize a policy on the matter.

It is already expected that China will react negatively once we pass the Baselines Law. Indeed, China immediately made us feel its displeasure through the diplomatic channels. Our envoys were called by the Chinese authorities to explain the Philippines’ action. They then sent one of their “state of the art” ships to the Spratly Islands area, an obvious flexing of muscles, although they explained it was not a warship but just a ship of some benign nature ( a fishing or research vessel).

So it would be perfectly acceptable and even expected if Mr. Tsao will slam the Philippines on its policy of passing the Baselines Law. After all, China is claiming the whole South China Sea. The Spratly Islands alone has at least six claimant countries, including the Philippines.

But what seemed to be a dig at Philippine foreign policy quickly turned into a racist slur when Mr. Tsao’s article then focused on his Filipina domestic assistant. His writings betrayed an apparent disdain for Filipinos, which is distant from the subject of a foreign policy in the South China Sea.

That’s where he earned the ire of the Lahing Kayumanggi, myself included.

While his style of writing is said to be satirical, it is quite evident that his particular article was not meant to question the Philippine Baselines Law but to take the opportunity to shame the Filipino people.

The label “Nation of Servants” which he used to refer to Filipinos was not meant as a compliment (which it actually should be) because of the context of what he wrote. By emphasizing that his Filipina domestic assistant was a holder of a degree in International Politics while she works 16 hours a day cleaning his toilet bowl, he condescendingly portrays Filipinos as good for nothing else than being subservient to a master.

Indeed, he implied that since our Overseas Filipino Workers are earning a living in their country, our Foreign Policy should not go against their interests, the “Masters”.
In fact, Mr. Tsao even portrayed them as “hostages”, reason for us not to offend them lest they terminate the employment of the OFWs.

In his article, he even wrote that he showed his Filipina employee a map and berated her for the actions of her country’s government. Let’s assume that Mr. Tsao really had a Filipina employee and that he really did that (because he might just be writing fiction aside from a satire), I am pretty sure that if he pointed out where the Spratly Islands are in relation to where the Philippines and China are, he would have to accept that the Spratly Islands are much, much closer to the Philippines than it is to China, even if he uses Hong Kong as a reference point.

That by itself will support the logic of our claim which is in compliance with the UNCLOS. So while China is entitled to howl in protest over our claim to the Spratlys, we are not claiming it from an impossible and indefensible standpoint.

Historically, those islands in the South China Sea belonged to us, such as in the case of the Treaty of Paris, when Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to the United States. This was not disputed back then by China. After the Second World War, that area was pretty much left as international waters, which emboldened the Filipinos to lay claim to it, owing to the close proximity it has with the Philippines.

Perhaps that is why Mr. Tsao simply chose to pick on his Filipino employee. He could not tackle the wisdom and logic of our claim so he simply insults us as a nation, using satire as an excuse.

Are we to take his attacks sitting down? Of course not!

But how are we to respond to his tirade? I chose to give him a dose of his own medicine. A satire, he says? Well, a satire, I say.

I have received varying responses to the blog entry I wrote, which I specifically described as being personal. Some said I should have acted in a more “noble” and “dignified” manner befitting my position as a congressman. One even described my blog entry as pathetic and ridiculous.

But I say return the trash to the one who gave it.

Some are proposing that we file a diplomatic protest with the government of China. I say why bother? Why waste the talent of our skilled foreign service on someone like him? He is just a writer scrounging for some attention. Why involve the Governments of two sovereign nations? He is not worth the paper that our diplomatic protest will be written on.

Someone suggested we file a complaint with his publisher. I say not. We will just be giving him the prestige that he longs for, having compelled a government to take action against him. He might even ask his publishers for a raise in talent fees for having stirred up international fame for their magazine.

Another suggestion was to simply ignore him. Well, that doesn’t sit well with me because to remain silent will be to abandon the dignity of our Filipino Overseas Workers who toil hard abroad, are called the Modern Day Heroes by a grateful nation and just have some crappy, ignorant bigot demean them.

I may be stooping down to his level by dishing out the same garbage he did, but I believe that as a representative of the People, I am not limited to doing my job to defend my nation through classy and elegant means. My response to Mr. Tsao may be seen by some as juvenile, ridiculous, pathetic, or even uncouth, but I think he deserves what he got from me acting as an individual, proud Filipino.

2 comments:

AdB said...

Allow me to say bravo, Congressman! You took the braveman's route.


With regard to those Filipinos who view, take or accept Chip Tsao's cheap shot at the Filipino nation with a shrug of the shoulder saying Tsao's public rubbishing of the Filipino nation is a form of satire, I say to them, it is the coward's easy way out.

There's nothing remotely satirical when a foreigner uses a public or popular forum/vessel to whip up racial slurs against another race of people.

Again, to those who claim that Chip Tsao's piece is satirical is way over their head and are seriously lagging behind in matters of intellectual prowess.

To them, I say, "When in a hole, stop digging!"

jelink said...

u know i am so0 happi i read this bolg..it makes me feel that there are people who actuallly knows about how this mr.tsao is! seriouslyy!!!! dude ur are pretty hilarious and i do agree with u! lool:D aaahahah! he better watch out..f he ever sets foot in philippines he'd be gettin melamine infected milk bottles in his fsce.. 'like wat i sed on the last blog i read!!!hahahah'
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