Criticism: not (fun) in the Philippines (Reblogged)

I found this very interesting write up in Manilatimes.net. I tried to share it using the sharing button but I couldn’t connect somehow. Anyway, I copied it and pasted it here.  This was written by Katrina Stuart Santiago and Published on 20 February 2013.

The world knows of the Philippines by now, for reasons other than a senator who refuses to admit to plagiarism, being the setting for the bustling Asian city in “Bourne Legacy,” and a cybercrime law that might be the worst piece of legislation against freedom of expression since the world wide web.

There was a time when we could call out the Western eye for gazing at us exotic: the ones who eat duck fetuses, the pretty brown-skinned girls with wide smiles and a fascination for, who fascinate, the white man. In these times of transnationalism and globalized cultures, though, these assessments might be closer to being correct.

Yes, we cannot handle being called out on our mistakes, and we get pissed and defensive the moment we’re faced with criticism. We also do not know to lighten up when we’re the butt of jokes.

So when we lose in the Ms. Universe pageant, we scream “homecourt advantage!” We don’t want to hear that Ms. USA’s story included socio-civic work, and Ms. Philippines’ didn’t. Beliebers have been lost in Manila, after Justin Bieber poked fun at Manny Pacquiao’s last knockout loss. Members of Congress want to declare Justin persona non grata.

I hang my head in shame, as the world shakes its head in laughter.

It’s about as funny as our claim on every person who has a wee bit of Filipino blood, no matter that they were born and grew up elsewhere, no matter that their passports are a different color, or that they almost won a contest called “American Idol.” As far as we’re concerned: your great grandmother is Filipina? You’ve got a career in Manila. We will not question your loyalties, and we will give you a billboard on EDSA.

Yes, that historic highway of the 1986 Revolution is now but a row of billboards selling every imaginable beauty product, with some fake boobies and liposuction to boot. Elsewhere in the First World, women are challenging this industry of fakery; here, celebrities take pride in selling manufactured beauty to a sea of brown-skinned young girls.

Only in the Philippines: a highway notorious for its traffic, reinvented into advertising opportunity. And we celebrate because we think billboards prove urbanity and development, our own propaganda helping us deal with the notoriety. How did we handle having the worst airport in the world? We fired the world-renowned team of Cobonpue-Layug-Pineda that volunteered to redesign it. The President had a man with a new team for the job. A year hence, what has changed?

Not much. In the airport and government, both….

To read more, just click here.

I totally agree with what Katrina wrote.  This is one sad fact about our country, but I would like to believe that there is still hope for this country.

“In the Philippines, it’s the worst time to be a critic. And it is the most important time.”

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