On BBC’s Harry and Paul “Filipina maid” controversy

October 7, 2008. I don’t understand why we’re raising hell for a comedic portrayal of a “Filipina maid” when for the longest time we’ve been portraying maids, house-helpers, yayas and countless Indays in our own comedy shows and movies the same way, even worse. I think we Filipinos are even worse at having our own stereotypes of foreign races and occupations. Imagine if all the Indians or the dark-skinned races raised howl over how many of us stereotype them. The portrayal doesn’t even claim to be a the British’s general perception of Filipinos. It’s a comedy show for pete’s sake, with a comedic sketch of a perceived condition among Filipino domestic helpers. If there’s one to be faulted with such a sad reality, or a perception of it rather, it should be the proximate cause of the phenomenon–the government.

Even more disappointing is how the congresswoman from Akbayan is riding the issue to get mileage among domestic workers. Sa isang taon pa po ang eleksyon. If we’re to raise hell, which I believe is not totally unjustified, we need to transcend mere demands for an apology from the BBC or from the British government. We must demand accountability from our own government for its failure to protect our domestic workers abroad, and for its failure to create jobs that has pushed so many Filipinos into such situations. I don’t think foreigners can be solely faulted for their perception of Filipino domestic workers. We can’t expect them to know any better. Let’s condemn the reality and its causes, not its mere manifestation in a comedy show! And while we’re at it, let’s demand our own television networks and film producers not to portray domestic workers the same way. And stop forwarding Inday jokes. Treat your househelp better. ‘Wag pa-ipokrito.

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