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Saturday, October 06, 2007

I think we brought it on ourselves

I think I have kept silent for too long. I have passed on several issues that occupied a lot of bloggers recently. I have no intentions of just jumping into the bandwagon. The reason is simple - if I feel I cannot make a good contribution on the subject. I'd rather not talk about it. Recently, a certain segment of the premier showing of this season's Desperate Housewives created quite a stir with Filipinos when Teri Hatcher's character wanted to check a doctor's credentials to make sure that it wasn't just "from some med school in the Philippines". A lot
of Filipinos took offense as they claim that it questions the credibility of medical schools in the country. Even government officials had joined the fray and demanded for an apology from the producers of the show which, to date, has already been given.

After the first onslaught of attacks, the air is still filled with steaming fury, I rise up from the smoke and would like to give my two cents worth.

While the remark was intended to be a joke or a witty remark from the character, it turned out to most Filipinos as a criticism in the end, hence, I am treating it as such. When being criticized, which is quite often too, the first thing I do is to do some honest soul-searching and after I have licked the wounds of my battered ego. I ask myself if there is truth to the criticism. If there is even a hint of truth to the criticism, I try to mend my ways.

To be offended at a certain remark or gesture is the easiest way to confront a similar situation. But now that we have made our point, why don't we do some introspection? I wonder what the writers of the show were thinking when the country suddenly crossed their minds. Why not another third world country, I ask. Why do they think that would have a comic jab to the situation? What was their basis, if anything at all? Surely, the name of the country did not just pop in at random.

Flashback a few years back to a scandal that happened in the medical world. The Fatima Medical School rocked Manila when allegations of cheating in the exams resulted in the questioning of the licenses awarded to its students. Much recently, the nurses had fallen prey to people who were out for a quick buck out of their vulnerability. What about the diploma mill schools and the Recto give-aways? News of these events had come from our shores. Let's go a lot further in time when during the 80's, young boys who went to the US for the little league turned out to be not boys at all! And of course, the very rampant cheating during elections just strenthen one thing - that we are living in aa country full of cheaters. Now, can we claim that the potshot remark is without basis?

While there is reason for us to be angry that we are being pictured in a bad light, I think the more important question we shoul ask is how do we correct this image? How do we erase a tarnished image strengthened throughout the years? It is hard but even a mighty boulder lying passively along the shore yields to the contstant beating of the waves.

Am I angry at this episode of the Desperate Housewives? Hell yes! But for another reason. I am angry because my elders way down to my peers have erred in shaping this nation. I am angry because some individuals have made this country vulnerable to attacks by some foreign show. I am angry that we lay prone and open to criticisms made defenseless for such may border on the truth and it stings to the core of my being. I am angry because while I live on a day to day existence these shenanigans are scot free continuously wreaking havoc on our very being.

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23 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Emer said...

I am also for reform, Tito. But that's all up to us and the powers that be. As it is, wala pa naman nahuhuli at napaparusahan sa maling gawain, di ba?

7:35 PM  
Blogger cbs said...

about a year ago the ny times did a beautiful feature on filipino nurses in new york, stating that their being effective and competent healthcare workers is borne by their powerful sense of kinship at home (in the philippines) where every son and daughter is expected to take care of their old folks.

that article did not cause quite a stir among filipino communities, and i suspect it even gave a deeper sense of envy by other filipino professionals toward their nurse-compatriots. after that i was no longer surprised that gen. taguba's exposition on human rights abuses by the us military did not earn a valid discussion among filipinos.

and now i hear this noise because of some remark from a sitcom.

truth is we are either cheats or reactionaries, or simply do not know where our priorities lie. oh pinoys, where are we going, where are we now?

8:19 PM  
Blogger BatJay said...

ang parati kong response sa mga ganito ay tulad ng pagtayo nina rizal sa paris ng indios bravos.

we give them who belittle us a big up yours and then live decent lives

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rolly,
How are you? Napadaan lang dito rin pala 'hot' parin yung episode sa DH..i hardly watch the show pero i was curious and watched it on youtube and i found it quite amusing dahil menopausal and issue ni Susan dito..siempre i forgive her dahil nga sa situation niya. Pero- bakit ganoon ang script?..critical of Fil doctors..on deeper analysis sabi niya SOME, not ALL naman so seguro Susan (differentiate her from Teri Hatcher - dahil i love Teri in Superman series LOLs)was referring to that medical school that you mentioned in your post. This is just my opition tito rolly...and have a great week! warm hugs from Oz..vicky (www. vicksevents.blogspot.com)

4:10 AM  
Blogger amateur misanthrope said...

Hello, Tito Rolly,

I'd like to share this story.

About ten years ago my mother went on vacation in the States. Then she turned yellow/jaundiced. The white/American doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. They kept on talking about a vague "tropical disease" and "exploratory surgery"--not good words to hear while on vacation. When my mother came home, our very Filipino and medschool-from-the-Philippines educated doctor gave a simple diagnosis: gallstones. He just laughed when we told him how CLUELESS the American doctors were.

A racial slur is a racial slur. It is inexcusable.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

True, the Philippines has indeed a global image problem. The country is perceived as a dangerous and a lawless place. When I tell my colleagues to visit the Philippines, I might as well have told them to go to Iraq or Afghanistan. This is evident by the number of Caucasian tourists you will encounter in a given day in Manila. Compare that with other Asian cities eg. Bangkok, Siem Reap and Saigon. Wherein in almost every corner you will encounter all types of foreign visitors; the Young backpackers, college kids, old folks and couples with their kids.

5:35 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

kfeDoc Emer All I know is that it has to start somewhere. Right now, it doesn't seem like our leaders would really start it.

cbs All I can say is that I just hope your observation is the exception.

batjay Minsan mahirap na ring maging quiet na lang

vicky kamusta ka na? well everybody is entitled to his/her own opinion and you have all the right to express it.

AM I agree completely. Please don't get me wrong. I am also slighted by that line as it is insensitive and ignorant. However, I would like to take the issue to another level. That of introspection.

Ron It seems like you are talking of another issue. If you are not a Filipino, why don't you come over and see how peaceful the country is. The relative absence of tourists as compared to other Asian countries is probably due to the advisories of over protective embassies. I have had foreign guests in the country and they loved it.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Luchie said...

Good evening Rolly. I agree with you that there should be introspection.
Desperate Housewive's producers need to broadcast their apology but we also have to do some reflection. One thing, they have no right to malign a revered profession and our country at that even though it was delivered as a jest.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Bugsybee said...

I wonder what my late father who had his residency in a New York hospital (in the early 1950s) would have thought about this. He said the white doctors would, from time to time, try to put him down but he always fought back by showing them he could deliver. In the end, he earned their respect and they all became steadfast friends.

Ang nakakainis lang kasi when one or two bad guys do something wrong, lahat tayo nadadamay. And what makes matters worse is that the authorities either do nothing or are very slow in punishing these culprits.

I don't like laughing at the expense of other people but, well, may mga bobo at bastos talaga. I even think they relish all the attention that DH is now getting.

11:35 PM  
Blogger ipanema said...

when you work out of the country, you can really feel and see how they see the Filipinos. i tell you, the only way to put them where they are is to stand up and show them what you've got. you'll get respect. little by little they'll say, oh you're different, "i thought all filipinos are like those maids". but mind you, that won't stop them because it is ingrained na. that's the way they see us ke edukado ka o hindi.

minsan masyado tayong mabait. sige nalang, hayaan mo na lang yan sila. know what? because of that attitude [though it is good], kaya tayo ginaganyan.

it is too late to reflect. kahit sa ibang bansa, dala-dala ang mga ugaling Pinoy kaya napupuna. but to generalise everyone, iba na yan.

ano na naman at meron din si Jon Stewart? i don't know that people earn their keep belittling people. :(

4:00 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Luchie Long time, no see! I agree with everything you said.

bugsy What your father did, in my opinion, is the right way of doing it. We don't just say we are good, we show it - ala "in your face"

ipanema hidni naman ata kabaitan yung hindi na lang kikibo. Mali yun. I am not for that, too.

HIndi ko pa nakita yung kay John Stewart. blocked ang youtube sa school namin at hindi ko naman ma-access dito sa comuter sa bahay at kaka reformat lang and besides, it takes too long to download it. Dial-up lang kasi eh.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tito Rolly,

Ako po si Anonymous sa "Who is Number One?". Sana naaalala niyo pa po ako. Sumasangayon po ako sa inyo. Sa ISO 9001:2000 po namin, meron po kaming tinatawag na "data analysis." Dito po sa data analysis na to, malalaman kung ano ang "root cause" ng problema (sa quality procedures). So kung titingnan niyo, ang root cause talaga nito, ay ang standard of education ng Pilipinas. Marami pong mga graduate ng medicine na pagpunta sa Amerika ay nagiging nurse. Hangang ngayon, sa global survey, wala pong unibersidad sa Pilipinas na nakasama kahit sa Top 200 unversities. So di niyo rin talaga masisi yung producer at writer ng show. Pero iba naman yung panlalait na ginawa ni Malu Fernandez.

3:02 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Anonymous Ikaw ba yung nakaniig ko ng matagal? Kung ikaw yun, mahaba ang naging balitaktakan non, diba? Anyway, ayaw mo ba talagang magpakilala?
:-)

Alam mo, yung parteng pagiging nurse ng mga doktor natin sa palagay ko ay out of necessity na rin ng mga kababayan natin. Kailangan na nilang kumita agad. Kasi sa pagkakaalam ko, they still have to pass a certain series of tests in order to practice their profession there. E stiff pa ang competition.

At any rate, medyo foul nga ang ginawa ng DH at ito ay isinulat na ng maraming bloggers kaya kumuha naman ako ng ibang slant sa istorya.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tito Rolly,

Ako nga po yun. Tawagin niyo na lang po akong Anonymous No. 1 (dahil sa "who is No. 1"). hindi po tayo magkakilala. Nagtagpo lang po ang landas natin nung isang araw ay nag-google ako para malaman ang top universities sa buong mundo at nagbakasakalina may unibersidad sa Pinas na kasama. And the rest, ika nga ay history. So Tito Rolly, ano naman po ang inyong masasabi tungkol sa panlalait na ginawa ng isang Malu Fernandez? alam ko pong matagal na isyu na to subalit (walang halong intriga) bakit po wala po ata kayong pananaw tungkol dito? (correct me if I'm wrong) Para sa akin, walang karapatan ang sinumang tao na manlait ng kanyang kapwa, at ang panlalait na ginawa niya (MF) sa kapwa niya Filipino ay sadyang "karumaldumal." Mas masahol pa po ito kumpara sa ginawa ng DH.

10:08 AM  
Blogger auee said...

we have a long way to go in terms of cleaning up our image... as some bloggers have said, we cannot be too sensitive every time something like this happens.

Those who can should prove to the world that we are much better than how they perceive us to be. I would like to believe that the overseas workers have the biggest part to play in this.

5:04 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Anonymous Is she even worth our time? Wala akong panahon sa mga snob eh.

auee And I think most of them are.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Just Another Day said...

Pare,

Bakit di na lang kaya gumawa tayo ng sariling TV series na ang title ay "Desperate Filipinos". Magaling lang tayong pumuna sa mga bagay na ayaw nating madinig pero tayong mga Filipino sa totoo lang ay marami sa atin ay nakadepende na lamang sa patak ng ulan at gustuhin man ng nakakarami ay walang magawa dahil mas powerful ang kakaunti.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous bayi said...

If only there are more likewise minds among the leaders running the country and shaping the nation, Rolly, then the country will be well on the way to greatness again.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Miki said...

it's weird that i was so not offended when i heard about this. because although my abilities as a (future) doctor have yet to be honed, i know my teachers, and they're world class. filipino doctors are known for their clinical eye; we don't have the luxury of ordering mri's and ct scans left and right, so we're trained to arrive at a diagnosis based on history and physical exam alone - that's always emphasized in our lectures; labs are for confirmation only. so filipino doctors are great critical thinkers.

so yeah, i found the whole burn-teri-hatcher issue amusing (and why are they attacking teri, anyway? she doesn't write her lines). just like i think it's unfair for most of my friends to hate claire danes because of the slur she made years ago about philippine streets being smelly and rat-infested (it was an opinion! and i dare anybody who lives in manila to contradict her). i find it hard to get all worked up about a comment made, as you said, as a joke, and, more importantly, in ignorance.

and i think they thought of the philippines because we have so many damn health professionals working over there, it was impossible to miss.

8:20 PM  
Blogger R Panaderos said...

Yes, we don't have anyone else to blame but ourselves for the negative comments or slurs that are hurled our way. Yes, the words hurt. But I agree that an introspection should take place to determine and address the root causes of such negative comments. Personally, I take such comments like water off a duck's back. In my own small way, I work hard to prove such comments wrong. Deep within, I know such comments or slurs are misplaced and I fight and will continue to fight them in the best and most decent way I know how. Tagisan na ng talino. Matira ang matibay!

11:23 PM  
Blogger amateur misanthrope said...

We really need more introspection. MORE.

3:59 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Just another day Pwede rin ano? Sila naman atakihin natin ng racial slur. A dose of their own medicine.

bayi You make me blush :-)

miki And I know what a good doctor you'll turn out to be. I have seen how you work silently towards the top. Jeep it up.

R. Panaderos Good for you. Yes, I'd rather prove them wrong quietly but in the end would look like "in your face" type of thing.

4:35 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Amateur Misanthrope Yes, we do.

7:21 PM  

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MGA TURO NI TITO:
Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.


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