Desperate for apologies

Too much emphasis has been put on the “racist” comment by Teri Hatcher’s character on the Season-4 opener of Desperate Housewives. Hatcher’s airhead character, Susan, remarked, “Okay. Before going further, can I check these diplomas ‘cause I would just like to make sure that they’re not from some med school in the Philippines?” Much of the Filipino community in the US is incensed over the line, and more so are Pinoys in the Philippines.

I received invitations yesterday to sign an online petition that demanded an apology from the DH actor, writers and producers. Links to forums and blog posts were also forwarded as indirect ways of saying, “Hey, check this one and work yourself out over a stupid line.” Frankly, I can’t bring myself to the level of emotional furor over the stupid remark about our homegrown medical professionals for a number of reasons. For one, the US requires ALL medical professionals to get certifications before they can work in hospitals and clinics. Therefore, whatever country you come from, you have to pass those exams before being allowed to work as a doctor or nurse. And if you have been in the medical field in the US, then you’re no less brilliant than the average medical professional who graduated from somewhere else.

Hollywood has been taking a jab at all ethnic, political and other groups in the US, as well as in other countries. Hello! Anybody ever heard of those tired Canadian jokes spewed by stand-up comics, late night show hosts and other TV characters? Yet Pinoys don’t question this decades-old practice. Filipinos are no better at treating other ethnic groups with respect. We make fun of other people’s accent (even our own), religion, skin color, hair, gender and ethnic background. Now that we become the target of a joke, we fall into the victim mentality. Garbage in, garbage out.

A lot of Filipinos–not all, but a lot–who have chosen to settle in other countries do have a habit of looking down at those who elected to stay in the Philippines (starstruck ignoramuses, anyone?). I don’t blame them for giving up on this country. With loads of incompetent buffoons in the government, corrupt politicians that bleed our coffers dry, grimy cities, mindless entertainment, poor public infrastructure, insurgency, kidnappings, hellish traffic and garbage strewn everywhere, it’s not entirely difficult to say paalam to this country. I was at the US embassy last week for a business visa application and it just amazed me how the immigration line seemed to have no end. Entire families, grandparents, children, executive types, yuppies and jologs were filing for immigration like there was no tomorrow. I guess that on any given day, there are only two lines at the said embassy: immigration and others. This brings to mind how incensed my boyfriend was as he told me how a pinoy “overstaying visitor” working at a restaurant laughed at his face when he informed the ignorant sod that he was returning to the Philippines. I wonder if I’d get the same treatment.

For all our self-proclaimed glory, we have allowed cheating and corruption to flourish. Jumping on the throat of any foreigner who pokes fun at what is wrong is not the way to deal with our problems. I say, prosecute the ‘tards that attempted to game the medical and nursing board exams and improve the system.

That Malacanang joins in the call for an apology makes the whole fiasco stink to high heavens. You just know that the OA-o’-meter has shot up when the palace and the DFA have joined the mass hysteria. Doesn’t this petty government have anything important to dip its toes into? Cleaning up the professional regulatory board is a good start.

Desperate Housewives is insipid. Teri Hatcher is not funny. The script was lame. The remark is dumb. But I don’t think that it reflected the truth about the degree of professionalism and excellence of Philippine-trained health care workers. They are not barred from working in the States because of poorly written TV scripts, but because of the cheating fiasco that backfired on the honest.

Insulting those who make your loved ones’ stay at the hospital a little more comfortable is a poor way to pay them back. However, the furor over Hatcher’s line is too much.

Challenge of the Super Duper Friends

super duper friends

Jonas Diego YM’d the link to one of his projects, called Challenge of the Super Duper Friends. It looks like the guys from IAS, Inc. and its Philippine office which Jonas manages and which produced about 80% of the material had a blast working on the animated cartoon. It shows Democratic Party’s presidential hopefuls, such as Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama and John Edwards, with their “super duper” powers. The villains are 9-lives, Doctor Spin, $ and Petro Man.

Jonas wrote the copy for the characters’ profiles and had this to say about Hilary Clinton’s weakness:

“…experiences unexplained rage-attacks in the presence of fine tobaccos and cigars as well as displaying severe aversion to interns.”

Guimaras Oil Spill in NASA Photos

NASA guimaras spill

By August 29, the government of the Philippines reported that the oil covered 245 kilometers of coastline; 16 square kilometers of coral reef area; 1,128 hectares of mangrove area; and 1,143 hectares of a marine reserve. At least 17,435 people had been affected by the spill, and many coastal residents were evacuated because of toxic substances on the shore.

–NASA Observatory.

guimaras oil spill map

This Radar satellite image map shows the extent of oil spill in Guimaras island following the sinking of Solar I tanker. The oil spill (yellow) covers an estimated area of 66 square kilometers.

Visit Sludge for more udpates about the Guimaras Oil Spill.

Visit UNOSat for more images.

Watching the Launch of PBB Celebrity Edition at Baywalk

I was not supposed to watch the PBB-Celebrity Edition on Baywalk last Sunday, but instead read Murakami’s Windup Bird Chronicle at a nearby coffee shop while Rome was covering the program.  However, an ABS-CBN PR invited me to tag along, and so I eventually found myself in the company of the showbiz press pack and a seat right there in front of the stage.  Being there meant witnessing the crazy off-cam proceedings of the program as well as having a good view of the PBBCE participants , shamelessly staring at the first edition ‘housemates’  and Toni Gonzaga’s to-die-for legs and gawking at Sam Milby’s killer smile. I still think Rico is sexier and JB shouldn’t put too much makeup, but I go for karate girl Gretchen Malalad.

During the pre-show dinner that was supposed to have been actually a press conference, people at my table (including the PR) mentioned the touchy subject, the ULTRA stampede. It was touchy in the sense that ABS-CBN also produced Wowowee, the show for which tens of thousands camped out and eventually stampeded for entrance to the Philsports Arena for chances to win huge prizes. The funny part about the discussion over the deadly Wowowee anniversary was that the PR person acted as if her employer were not at fault for the tragedy, as if ABS was the victim, instead of the 74 people who were crushed to death and the hundreds injured. The tabloid writers on my table, maybe thankful for the free dinner, agreed as if what the ABS PR was saying was true. Mga envelopmental journalists talaga itong mga press writers na ito. I swear that if Rome weren’t one of the press folks around, I would have stomped out of the place pronto.

Here is what happened: Weeks before the show’s anniversary that was to be held at Philsports Arena (formerly ULTRA), adverts were shown about the huge prizes awaiting those who would be lucky enough to enter the show’s venue. Days before the show, thousands of people started to camp out around the Philsports block, and it was obvious, judging by the massive numbers of people, that something ugly could happen because the venue was too small for the possible number of people waiting outside its gates. Still, Wowowee kept advertising prizes and inviting people to go to the arena. In short, the network encouraged viewers to amass around the venue even if it knew that the place could not hold even half of the number that was already waiting outside.  The basketball stadium could only hold 5,000; the crowd camping out was in the tens of thousands.

At about 6:00 AM on February 4, the show’s anniversary, Wowowee’s people started handing out tickets. Because many in the crowd had been camping out for days, they feared that their efforts would be in vain, and thus, agitated, jumped the lines and pushed those ahead of them. This prompted the Philsports guards to close the gates. The gates eventually gave out and those in front stumbled as the commotion to get in went out of hand.  

The show was canceled and what followed since was constant airing of reels from the tragedy and Willie Revillame asking for sympathy. Sympathy for what? For luring people to amass at the Philsports Arena even if it was already impossible to let everyone in?

To add insult to injury, ABS is now asking for donations from TV viewers for the hospitalization of the injured and I guess burial of the dead. I swear, kung sino man ang nag-donate, mga bobo kayo.  All fingers point to ABS-CBN. It was they who allowed the tragedy to happen. It is the network that should shoulder the victims’ hospital and funeral bills. And if they meant what they said that all they wanted was to help the poor, give money to each person who lined up for days outside the arena and stop airing that stupid show that has done nothing but demean women.

And fire that PR airhead. She’s not fooling anyone.