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A certain Chip Tsao just called the Philippines " a nation of servants."

The War At Home
March 27th, 2009

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. We can live with that—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That’s no big problem—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: 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.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. 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.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, 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.

Oh yes. The government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have 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 a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being.

Chip Tsao is a best-selling author and columnist. A former reporter for the BBC, his columns have also appeared in Apple Daily, Next Magazine and CUP Magazine, among others.

http://hk-magazine.com/feature/war-home
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Comments

  • Lawmakers slam HK Magazine, columnist over ‘racial slur’

    abs-cbnNEWS.com | 03/29/2009 8:17 PM


    Two female lawmakers and a labor policy center have joined calls in demanding a public apology from a top Hong Kong publication and one of its columnists over a recent article that made a racial slur against Filipinos in relation to the dispute over the Spratly islands.

    In a statement Sunday, Sen. Pia Cayetano said Filipinos "deserve no less than a formal public apology" for an article by Chip Tsao entitled "The War at Home," which appeared on the March 27 edition of HK Magazine.

    In his column, Tsao depicted the Philippines as a "nation of servants" not worthy of claiming the Spratlys islands from China, as the latter employs hundreds of thousands of Filipino domestic helpers on very low wages.

    "Instead of contributing to intelligent discussions on ways to resolve the Spratlys dispute, Tsao only succeeded in eliciting hatred and sowing more confusion not only among Filipinos but maybe even among his fellow Chinese who are not aware of the intricacies of the issue," Cayetano was quoted as saying.

    "Let's not dignify Tsao's views by not stooping down to his level. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be bullied by people with narrow minds like him. HK Magazine and Tsao must apologize for insulting Filipinos, and they should pledge not to commit this mistake again," she said.

    "Our being a poor nation does not diminish the validity of our historical and legal claim to the Spratlys. In the proper forum, this dispute will eventually be threshed out and resolved. Ignorance, hatred and racial bias are the last things we need in approaching this long-standing controversy," she added.

    Cayetano also said that the Philippine claim to the Spratlys "is as valid as the other claims being pushed by other nations. It does not mean that we're disregarding the claims of others. We respect their claim inasmuch as they should acknowledge ours."

    Cayetano added that should Tsao make good on his "whimsical threat" to fire her Filipino househelp over the Spratlys dispute, she said she is confident that other employers in Hong Kong, including foreign expatriates and fellow Filipinos, would be more than willing to take her in.

    "I'll personally appeal on my Filipino and foreigner friends based in Hong Kong to hire her. I'm sure there are many more enlightened minds out there willing to take her in. Filipino domestic helpers are very much in demand in Hong Kong precisely because of their efficiency and positive ethic at work," she was quoted as saying.

    "We should be proud that millions of OFWs are able to serve the world, whether as managers, laborers, caregivers or medical professionals. There's nothing to be ashamed of as long as we're earning an honest living without having to step on the dignity of others," she added.

    "Pawn"

    Former labor undersecretary Susan Ople meanwhile also denounced Tsao for using Filipino maid as "pawn" in Spratly controversy. She said, in a statement released by Blas F. Ople Policy Center, that the Hong Kong journalist “should be blacklisted as an undesirable foreign employer.”

    Ople called on the Philippine Consulate on Hong Kong particularly its Office of the Labor Attaché to look into the work conditions of "Luisa."

    "His published declaration that he gave her Filipino maid a harsh lecture and warned her to tell every one of her compatriots that Spartly Islands belong to China or she'd lose her wages, is already a sign of an unstable, irresponsible and racist employer who resorts to verbal abuse even for perceived bilateral and historic infractions. Luisa deserves a sane and more humane employer while he deserves to clean up his own filth," said Ople.
    The former labor official expressed personal concern for the Filipino housemaid's safety and health and urged the labor attaché to investigate the matter. She said if possible, put Tsao on a list of unworthy foreign employers.

    The Blas F. Ople Policy Center also called on the Philippine Consulate to call the attention of Tsao’s magazine's publisher and editorial board for the columnists “provocative and bigoted write-up.”

    "The household is not the place to resolve multiple claims to the Spratly Islands, and Filipino domestic workers should not suffer because of it," said the Center in the statement.

    The center also said that such Tsao’s actions were “a concrete example of racial and political intolerance.”

    "Apparently, Mr. Tsao and his friends think they are the more supreme race, and are now using what should be strictly an employer-employee relationship to drive home this point. We must not allow them to use our workers as pawns and hostages as a consequence of our just and historical claim," said the center in the statement.

    'Disgusting, derogatory, vile'

    Akbayan Rep. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros-Baraquel also protested over Tsao's article, saying 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. With a report from Delon Porcalla, The Philippine Star
  • Does truth hurt? The comment and publication is in bad taste, a seeming abuse of freedom of speech, but why attack the messenger?

    Witness the nation of servants produce more servants to fan out in this world, the servants that the Catholic Church promotes as the propagators, the ambassadors of "The Faith".
  • Can you explain how Chip Tsao's article became an issue about the Catholic Church?
  • Publico wrote: »
    Can you explain how Chip Tsao's article became an issue about the Catholic Church?

    The catholic church condones government policy to send out its citizens as OFWs as a solution to domestic unemployment problem and earning foreign currency to keep the economy floating at the same time.

    Harsh and brutal that chinese writer might be, but the truth is that our country is not in a position to go to war or even defend our citizens against China or other countries over the issue of Spratley islands, abuse and ***** of Filipino OFWs in other countries.

    What can our govt. do?

    Complain to the U.N.?!

    How pathetic we look to other countries.

    :D
  • bondying wrote: »
    The catholic church condones government policy to send out its citizens as OFWs as a solution to domestic unemployment problem and earning foreign currency to keep the economy floating at the same time...

    So are you saying that the Church should disallow Filipinos to work abroad as OFWs?
  • WanakoSeyWanakoSey PEx Rookie ⭐
    Repatriate all Filipinos in Hongkong and in China!
    Boycott products from China!
    Picket piers and ports with ships loaded with cargoes from China.
    Deport all Chinese nationals.
    Picket and protest at the Chinese embassy. Call or text all your friends now. Meet them at the CHinese embassy. Protest and let them know that this is not something Filipinos are going to take lying down.

    Unitl a public apology is made.

    -WanakoSey
  • ArnoldZArnoldZ PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Is Chip Tsao completely to be blame? Chip Tsao is just voicing out what the rest of other countries are already thinking about the Philippines. Name any other nationality that is a servant or a househelp in a country not their own. In Japan, Saudi, China.

    Blame the greedy placement agencies that lure Pinoys to go abroad with a promise of god job to end up workng only either a a help or in sex trade. Blame the government that allow this even with their knowledge of what is going on. Blame the family that is just too happy to receive money remittances even if it means to sacrifice thier relatives' self-respect. There are plenty blames to go around.

    Chip Tsao he is just the messenger.

    Don't you ever think that just because he voiced out the truth and even if he apologizes, that the "serfvant" thing will stop. Nope. Might even increase. Check if there is any statistics on how many Pinoys are being hired and then worked as servants or help from year to year. I bet you that, that is increasing.

    There will be more times and other instances when Pinoys will have to swallow their own pride, until greed and corruptipn at all levels of Pinoy society is minimized or rid of.
  • Chip Tsao is a fuc_ing idio_. True, there are 130k Filipino maids in Hong Kong, but there are 90 million Pinoys. To say that we are nothing but a nation of servants is a generalization.
  • chinese are insik kwakang mga salbahis yan mga yan angkinin ba **** nila yun china sea kasi yung dagat na yan ang pangalan china sea daw mga b o b o talaga insik kwakang talaga kung sa kanila kaya natin gawin yan gulpihin natin lahat ng insik dyan sa manila na makita natin ano kaya sabihin nila kahit kailan hinde na angkin ng chinese ang pilipinas kahit noon pa lagi lang sila talo kahit sa panahon pa ni limahonghong
  • Publico wrote: »
    So are you saying that the Church should disallow Filipinos to work abroad as OFWs?

    Government officials should put more effort into solving the domestic unemployment problem (creating jobs with living-wage salary) which is the primary reason Filipinos are becoming OFWs.

    :D
  • wag na palakahin yan, eye for an eye na lang. if there are writers here, e di sumulat na lang ng article din...

    "china, a nation of smugglers" (halos lahat ng smugglers galing china)
    "china, a nation of shabu makers"
    "china, a nation of thieves" (tingnan nyo lang mga pirated, ip issues)
    please add...

    hehehe. okay lang yan, wag na patulan.
  • yuel0022yuel0022 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    um... satire nga lang daw po ito...

    anyweiz, if it really is a satire, it is badly written. he shouldn't wonder why he receives such comments.
  • ^exactly. This satire hit too close to home that it ended up sounding mean and derogatory, with no redeeming value whatsoever.

    Satire is supposed to emphasize some behavior/value that needs criticizing. What behavior/value would that be? Maybe it's the Chinese's character of being subservient to a perceived superior and being domineering only to those who are perceived as inferior. That's ok by me, but not too much at our expense.

    And it shouldn't be worded it in such a way that the reader would interpret the message of the satire to be: the Philippines is such a puny insignificant nation of servants that it has no place in the international community, no right to assert its sovereignty anywhere, and no stature to act as a republic. Which is what is happening here.

    Feeble writers shouldn't attempt satire. It bites them in the *****.
  • JeffreywJeffreyw PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    I dont see this as racist. Just plain insecure.

    Even though Philippines is considered a poor country, we still produce talented, skillful, artistic, hardworking, practically speaks good english and physically good looking human beings. Which make us an object of envy among our Asian neighbors.

    --
    www.gwapito.com
  • j10021213j10021213 PEx Rookie ⭐
    Does truth hurt? The comment and publication is in bad taste, a seeming abuse of freedom of speech, but why attack the messenger?

    Because that's what you do when someone abuses their "freedom" of speech at your expense. Telling the "truth" is one thing, but the article is oozing with racial overtones all over the place.
    ArnoldZ wrote: »
    Is Chip Tsao completely to be blame? Chip Tsao is just voicing out what the rest of other countries are already thinking about the Philippines.

    I sincerely doubt that this Tsao serves as a good representative for these countries.
    ArnoldZ wrote: »
    Chip Tsao he is just the messenger.

    Don't you ever think that just because he voiced out the truth and even if he apologizes, that the "serfvant" thing will stop. Nope. Might even increase. Check if there is any statistics on how many Pinoys are being hired and then worked as servants or help from year to year. I bet you that, that is increasing.

    There will be more times and other instances when Pinoys will have to swallow their own pride, until greed and corruptipn at all levels of Pinoy society is minimized or rid of.

    The issue here is not the servant thing. The issue here is that some bigot thinks that his journalistic license entitles him to spew obviously racial remarks.

    Besides, the article lays a lot of questions about his character. To him it's okay for some of his own countrymen to be killed by a militarily competent nation, but goes ballistic because we're claiming some "scattered rocks in the South China Sea"?
  • yuel0022yuel0022 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    JdelaCruz wrote: »
    Feeble writers shouldn't attempt satire. It bites them in the *****.

    *okay*

    as you can see, it is hard for almost everybody to realize it really is a joke.
  • j10021213j10021213 PEx Rookie ⭐
    yuel0022 wrote: »
    *okay*

    as you can see, it is hard for almost everybody to realize it really is a joke.

    Coming from a "best-selling author and columnist", it was a poorly constructed one.
  • ach_chooach_choo PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    First-world firepower and a fourth-world mentality. That makes them doubly dangerous.
  • spanishbasketballteam-olympics-756782.jpg

    Feeling naman nila.
  • If we just let this pass by, then you're just allowing the same offense to continue. It may be true, but then it's a generalization. It may be a joke, but not at our expense.

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