Filipinos: Just as racist as the next guy

If we’ve learned anything from this whole Chip Tsao incident, it’s that we Filipinos are quick to anger when the dignity of our nation is slighted. We have very thin skins when it comes to jokes at our expense, and we will not hesitate to meet racial slur with racial slur.

And that’s understandable, since racism, the rest of the world pretty much agrees, is wrong. Knowing that,  however, does not stop us from insulting other nationalities, even when we’re not on the defensive.

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Joseph Dent Explains the Joke

We at Indolent Indio are not fond of explaining jokes, on the principle that if you have to explain, or even give some sort of cue that you’re joking, it isn’t funny.

But the amount of vitriol being sprayed around by people who were genuinely offended by Chip Tsao’s article perhaps merits this explanation from mystery commenter josephdent, pro-Chinese apologist and agent provocateur for the godless communists.

He writes:

My fellow Pinoys, Mr. Chip Tsao is defending Filipinos and Filipino maids and is actually ridiculing these so-called “Chinese patriots”.

When Tessie Tomas pretends to be a rich matrona in “Abangan ang Susunod na Kabanata” and then says outrageous, ridiculous mata pobre things, Tessie Tomas is not really mata pobre, instead, she is exposing the mata pobre of the Filipino upper class. That is how this article works as well: satire. In the article, Mr. Tsao is pretending to be one of these Chinese patriots. He then proceeds to say outrageous, over-the-top, racist statements to show them that the viewpoints of his fellow Chinese citizens are in fact outrageous, over-the-top and racist!

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Chip Tsao may be a racist, but what are you?


Legend has it that God (and/or Bathala) created man out of clay, baking the prototypes in his oven just because he could. Not yet having the hang of his omnipotence, Bathala fucked up and burnt the first man, hence the African race. He fucked up again, probably drunk on fermented rice wine, being primarily a rice god, and created the Caucasians when the he took man out too early. Also the Chinese, when he messed up again before finally creating the perfect man, the brown man. And so it goes.

And if you believe that, then you were probably foaming at the mouth when Chinese columnist Chip Tsao played the racist card and called us a nation of servants. [UPDATE: HK Magazine has taken down the offending article. You may view it here. Thanks to joyfulchicken for the tip.]

And right then and there, all the trolls and armchair nationalists, who never even took ROTC, rose to the defense of Inang Bayan and tried to spam the guy with racist comments of their own.

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Xenophobia Begins at Home 5: Koreans


metaphorically kicking your face daily

metaphorically kicking your face daily

Unlike our other Asian neighbors, the Koreans do not have a long history of trading with our ancestors. This is probably because they spent their time being part of China and fending off Japanese invaders for so long. It’s sort of hard to think about trade when you’re facing armadas of samurai and such. The Japanese finally got them eventually and did to them what they did to us in World War II for 35 years or so.

In the ’50s, our Batallion Combat Teams marginally helped them fight off North Korean and Chinese attacks in the aptly-named Korean War. For which they thanked the Philippines by setting up trade and tourism deals with us in the late ’90s.

Since then, millions (billions?) of Koreans have set foot on our shores to evangelize, put up shops and learn English from our college students at P50 pesos an hour. They actually pay much more than that, around P300, but most of it goes to the Korean owners of the language tutorial centers.

What we call them:

Interestingly, because our ancestors lived in a time before there were Koreans (in the country, obviously. They’re not some magical race that suddenly popped into existence,) we’re stuck with just calling them Koreans. Sometimes we call them anyong (from the Korean salutation annyeong), kimchi or jamppong (from the cup noodle ad,) which just proves older generations right: the kids today don’t even try anymore.

What we say about them:

Officially, the Koreans are honored guests, and one of our largest trading partners. With industrial giants like Hanjin Heavy Industries providing jobs and each Korean coughing up money to the Bureau of Immigrations, the government couldn’t be happier.

The informal economy centered around tutorial centers is a steady (if niggardly) source of easy money for our college students. Coupled with the fact that most Korean tutees are the same age as their tutors, a smooth cultural exchange is guaranteed. Also, a smooth exchange of sex for promises of marriage and a wonderful life in Korea, resulting in the yet-unwritten but canonical social realist short story Impeng Koreano.

Unofficialy, though, it’ll be hard to find a Filipino who doesn’t resent Koreans. Noisy, brusque and given to disregarding essential things like respect for a host country’s culture, Koreans either walk around like they are our lords and masters, or ignore us altogether.

They are generally loud, and will think nothing of walking down the middle of the street in packs in the middle of the night chattering away like we don’t need to sleep before showing up to teach them English the next day.

A source in the hotel industry even said that their housekeeping staff would rather clean up after a bumbay than a Korean because they tend to spit everywhere. For a relatively new arrival to our country to overturn a centuries-old stereotype in just ten years is a pretty telling thing, don’t you think?

Why we’re douchebags for saying it:

We’re not, really. Cultural differences, we can chalk up to simple misunderstanding, but ten years into the Filipino-Korean experience and they’re getting ruder by the day. And the worst part is that Koreans, in Korea, are very much like the Japanese: slanty-eyed and very big on courtesy. They’re how Filipinos were if  Zaide’s historical accounts were somehow actually historical: they venerate their elders, they take care not disturb the harmony of others, and put a huge premium on education and cleanliness.

Somehow, when they get to our country, they throw all of that out the window, mixed with some spit, more likely than not. Maybe it’s our fault. Maybe it’s because we’re also impolite and dirty as a culture, and that encourages them to act like goddamned grade school boys on a field trip. Maybe Rizal was right when he wrote “to this country come the dregs of the Peninsula (Korean Peninsula, in this case) and if one arrives a good man, soon he is corrupted in the country.”

Maybe it’s because for the last ten years we’ve let them have their way because of the money they bring. It’s sort of a buy the ticket, take the ride deal, I guess.

On the other hand, maybe they’re just assholes.

Xenophobia Begins At Home 4: Muslims

Not Your Average Muslim.

Not Your Average Muslim.


Some guy told me once that we’re lucky the Spanish came along otherwise we’d all be Muslims. While that is indeed some pretty narrow-minded thinking, it’s true that our islands were well on their way to being Islamic in the 1500s. Sultans ruled Mindanao and it is safe to say that “what would Jesus do?” was not the philosophical question that the kingdoms of Manila and Tondo pondered either. Given that the Muslim Filipinos have been around since pretty much forever, it’s sad that we fear them and treat them as a totally alien people.  A totally alien people who can be counted on to provide us with pirated DVDs. read more »

Xenophobia Begins At Home 3: Chinese

Secret Invasion

Secret Invasion

Wikipedia scholars, when not watching YouPorn, speculate that our island of Luzon was once part of the Song Dynasty of China.

While the factual basis of this is still debatable, records do show that the Chinese had contact with the island of May-i (supposedly our Mindoro) centuries ago. Records also show Chinese trade with a country they called Feilubin,which was prety lazy on their part.

Since Hispanic times, the Chinese have been a permanent, if repeatedly forced into ghettoes, part of our society. There was a time, it has been written, when one could purchase a Chinese servant for 50 pesos. That was, of course, back in unenlightened times when 50 pesos was actually worth something.

The Chinese have since assimilated into our society through intermarriages and clever name changes that we don’t know where their culture ends and ours begins. Pancit with rice, though, is probably all us. read more »

Xenophobia Begins At Home 2: Americans


The Americans are what good Filipinos want to be when they grow up.

What We Call Them:
Joe- From Victory Joe, we suppose. By default, all Americans are Joes regardless of race, creed or gender. That’s democracy at work.

Kano- An abbreviation of Amerikano.

Puti- For the sake of convention, all white people are Americans, and all Americans are white. This is globalization at work.

What We Say About Them:
The booming outsourcing industry has taught us several things: call center agents are a horny lot, that we speak better English than most Americans, and that most Americans cannot be bothered to read the user’s manual.

More traditional sources like balikbayan titos and popular culture have shown us that Joes are also brash, lazy, loud and generally come in second place in Pinoy jokes.

Why We’re Douchbags For Saying It:

Xenophobia Begins At Home 1: Indians

Actual Indians May Vary

Actual Indians May Vary

The Indians are one of our nation’s oldest trading partners. Widespread contact with India in pre-Hispanic times is evidenced by a great number of sanskrit loan words in our national language.

What We Call Them:
Bumbay– From Bombay, which is a city in India. It is by no means the only city in India from which all Indians come from.

5-6- For their loan practices. The math is probably complicated, but the basic rule of thumb is you borrow P500, and you pay P600.

What We Say About Them:
They stink, and so does their food. That’s pretty much it, I guess. Also, they can be called upon by yayas and mothers to kidnap disobedient children. Or, possibly, to take them as payment when said yaya or mother cannot cough up the P600 she owes.

Why We’re Douchbags For Saying It:
We all smell weird to other people. Filipinos, they say, smell of fish. Surely some culture in the world finds that abhorrent. Probably everyone else who isn’t Filipino or a fish.

Older generations of Filipinos actually gag or have asthma attacks when encountering Indians or their food. Aside from being absurdly OA, they conveniently forget that some Filipino stuff like bagoong and various meals made from gastric juices and animal innards are pretty fucked up, too.

As far as kidnapping goes, we’ve got things back-asswards. Indians are more likely to get kidnapped than your average child. Criminals probably think that a person who can afford to lend money is worth kidnapping.

Common sense holds, however, that a person who lends money is only really worth kidnapping if money owed is actually collected. One doesn’t have to work for the World Bank to know, though, that paying our debts is not a Filipino virtue.