Malu who?

I received an off-line instant message from B, a friend living and working in the US yesterday morning. The message simply contained this link with no other explanation of what it was about. I didn’t click on the link straight away as I had other matters to attend to but was intrigued. B usually just forwards links of her online photo albums, funny emails and other fun stuff. She’s certainly not the kind to read blogs, much less forward something that has “seething with anger” as its title.

I finally got round to checking the contents of the link around noon and found out that a certain Malu Fernandez from the Philippines has written an article for People Asia and has whinged about having to share her pleasure flight to Dubai with Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Complaining of having to squeeze herself into a tiny seat and having to endure

sounds of gum chewing and endless yelling of “HOY! Kumusta ka na? At taga saan ka? Domestic helper ka rin ba?” Translation: Hey there? Where are you from? Are you a domestic helper as well?”

Then there’s also

On my way back, I had to bravely take the economy flight once more. This time I had already resigned myself to being trapped like a sardine in a sardine can with all these OFWs smelling of AXE and Charlie cologne while my Jo Malone evaporated into thin air.

Now, OFWs are publicly hailed as modern day heroes in the Philippines because the money they send back to their families keep the economy afloat. Most Filipino families have at least one family member living or working abroad. Those who don’t are in the process of becoming OFW themselves or may just be dreaming of becoming one in the future. The Philippines is turning out to be a nation of overseas workers, its chief export being its people.

So you could probably guess that this Malu Fernandez, who fancies herself a cultured socialite, got the ire of a lot of people. Blog posts a-plenty have been dedicated to this incident, some from people who are OFWs themselves. Also there’s a campaign right now to get her to apologise, with calls of boycotting The Manila Standard, where she currently works as a columnist. This was her response. I don’t agree that the whole newspaper daily should suffer from her careless remarks. I mean, not everyone working for the paper would share her views so why should they be punished for her error?

I messaged B this morning, asking if she even read the link she forwarded to me, to which she replied ‘Of course!” I was interested to know what she thought of it and asked her. Her response? ‘Sarap ipakulam, parang hindi siya pinoy.’ (How great would it be to put a curse on her, she acts as if she’s not Filipino). I laughed, clearly this Malu Fernandez got to my even-tempered friend as well. As for me, I don’t think she would ever apologise (nor am I entirely sure she should). She calls her comments a product of her ‘ascerbic wit’. I call it ignorance and utter disregard for others. She has shown herself as someone who’s shallow, spoiled and suffers from tall poppy syndrome. Perhaps the best response would be to ignore her and her crass pronouncements and then maybe she’ll finally shut up.

Published in: on August 23, 2007 at 12:15 pm  Comments (7)