Someone asked me before what’s my take on the “English accent” issue of Pinoys against Korean superstar, Lee Da Hae.
For those not in the know, the Korean actress earned the ire of some Pinoys after she has allegedly made fun of the Filipino way of speaking English. I tried looking for a vid of the said show but it was already erased in YouTube. Instead, what I was able to get is a snippet from the local news about the said incident.
So, what do I think?
First, I think Lee Da Hae should really be more careful with her words and statements next time. The thing is, she is a well-known celebrity in Asia and everything she says maybe used against her. What maybe funny for her, might be offensive to some people and could ultimately–land her in an uncomfortable position. Just like what happened now. It’s a good thing that she finally issued a statement to clarify the issue, but honestly–the damage has been done. I am sure she also knows that her country is currently the largest number of foreign residents in the Philippines due to young Koreans studying here to learn good English at a cheaper price (compared to the US and UK). I am sure, our Korean brothers and sisters will not send their kids in the Philippines, if they are not satisfied with the quality of our education.
Second and MORE IMPORTANTLY, I THINK WE PINOYS SHOULD LIGHTEN UP. TAKE UP A HOBBY. GET A LIFE AND MAYBE HAVE A GOOD VACATION. Cos we have a tendency to take ourselves too seriously. Oh please… (*rolls eyes*)
It’s not always a case of “Us against the World”…where the countries of the world sees this country as a joke, or the apt material for the best punchline. Lighten up, have a Kitkat. Yes there are instances where we seem to get the shorter end of the bargain and where we are OBVIOUSLY insulted (Yes, Terri Hatcher…Yes, Adam Corolla — I am talking about you). But this time, can’t we effing direct our pent-up energies and anger SOMEWHERE ELSE? We are wasting too much time and effort railing against stupid things that won’t even change our life.
Wake-up people, your misplaced indignation against a Korean movie star will not make the Philippines a first world country. If we use that rage, that effort into improving ourselves, our lives and our nation — instead of tweeting useless messages of hate on Twitter against an actress–who, for all we know can even be misquoted! Sometimes I ask why Filipinos are always the quick one to spew words of venom as soon as they feel that the nation or our race is mistreated or made fun of. Can this be a manifestation of an underlying feeling of inferiority, for being a country so full of potential and promise yet still mired in poverty and squalor–no thanks to a corruption in politics and the lack of national discipline. Why do I think that we are always quick to gang up on stupid issues such as these, yet very slow to rise collectively on important issues: like having discipline in following rules, exposing corruption in every form and for being indifferent on the problems of our nation.
Part of the news report even contained a reaction from a viewer saying the Philippines should declare Lee Da Hae a “persona non grata” — persona non grata for what? For mimicking our accent? Yes guys–we have an accent! The same way that Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, South Africans, Spanish and any other non-English speaking (as a native language) country in the world will have an accent when they speak the Queen’s language!
And please-don’t even give me the crap that we can copy the American twang and the (adorable) British accent — YOU can speak it cos you are being paid to learn it. So that when an American or a Brit will call their credit card, cable, eBay account, they are assured (albeit even superficially) that they are speaking to someone based in New York, New York and not New York, Cubao!
And oh, let’s not even play the “racist card” here, cos this is not an issue of racism. How many of us have made fun of the Visayan accent? Please raise your hand . How about made fun and even attempted their own version of Chinese (“oh you fighta meh! sio mai…akyen kuha iyo bayad!”) Or mimicked the way our friends from India speak. During one point of your life–you are guilty of any of these. Just as I was.
So, please let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill. Nationalism and patriotism is fine. I too will be quick to defend my country and my race if needed and if there is a valid reason. But the issue on Lee Da Hae is too small and insignificant to waste energy on. If we really love our country, let’s prove it by being good citizens. By following rules. By eschewing corruption and taking advantage of other people. By supporting good governance. By knowing what’s right (RH Bill) and wrong (power rates going up). By being good citizens. By being good Filipinos. We defend our country that way. Not through messages of hate in Twitter or the online universe.
By the way, if you are wondering — I am NOT a fan of Lee Da Hae. Watched “My Girl” from start to finish, but mainly it’s due to Lee Dong Wook.