After reading tingog.com, ederic@cyberspace, Manolo Quezon, Brianboy, bayanihan blog network, Watson online, and many others, I thought I had enough of this Malu Fernandez thing. ‘Tang na!, we are now obsessed with this creature, hahaha! Then came Lalaine Chu-Benitez’s letter written in a beautifully indignant prose saying the whole affair was an abuse of press freedom. Take it from Lalaine who is the publisher of the illustrious Illustrado magazine based in
To the Editors of Manila Standard and People Asia—This is regarding the articles ‘From Boracay to Greece’ (People Asia, June 2007) and ‘Am I being a diva? Or do you lack common sense?’ (Manila Standard Online,
30th July 2007), written by your columnist Malu Fernandez.
We are among the over 2M Filipinos who are based here in the Middle East, and to say that we were shocked to have read the above articles that you deemed fit for publishing, is a gross understatement.
We will save our comments about your columnist who is so obviously lacking in knowledge, understanding and finesse, but the real question here is how your publication (with your team of educated and qualified editors), known for its ‘fairness and objectivity’, allow such ignorant and putrid display of bigotry.
That you allowed your publications to be a dumping ground of ‘personal garbage ’ mocks true freedom of the press and has truly degraded, not only your paper, but also your entire staff.
Just in case you don’t know - there are over 2M Filipino expatriates in the
Middle Eastregion. Apart from facilitating the billions of dollars in remittances that help keep our country afloat, this community also represents a huge potential market for Philippine-based industries.
Furthermore, Filipinos have contributed greatly to the growth of the region – just a small example is the phenomenal infrastructural development in cosmopolitan
– the Dubai of the New York Middle East, which was largely the work of great Filipino architects, engineers and planners. We have senior executives, managers and directors in different business fields, as well as educators and entrepreneurs. And our compatriots who work in blue-collared jobs (comprising only 17% the UAE Filipino segment) are some of the most well-educated and sought-after workers (as compared to other nationalities) in that category.
A lot of us here are trying very hard to uplift the plight of our kababayans who have sacrificed their lives to earn a decent living outside the homeland, but it is irresponsible articles like these which perpetuate the Filipino stereotype - that we are all uncouth, uneducated victims of our own circumstances – and yes that we cannot be united even if our lives depended on it.
While we squabble amongst ourselves in an ugly discussion started by such a negligent act, the rest of the world looks on shaking its head in consternation, at yet another ‘onli in da Pilipins’ episode. And because perception is reality, we OFWs out here have to contend with another kind of discrimination – thanks to our very own people.
It is tough enough to compete and earn respect within the international community, without such actions weighing us down even further.
These are very sad times, not only for OFWs but for Philippine journalism.
By the way, I heard from reliable sources that Malu Fernandez has resigned (was forced to resign) from both Manila Standard Today and People Asia.