SOME KINDS of political correctness are actually, well, correct. So I am glad that it has become politically incorrect to be insulting the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). For which Malu Fernandez and the Manila Standard are now reaping a whirlwind of disgust, boycott threats and an ongoing castigation, mainly by bloggers and other online Filipinos.
But how quickly we forget that it wasn't these "low-class" writers and newspapers that started and once engaged in writing that is insulting and disdainful towards OFWs. No, it was the biggest newspapers like the Philippine Daily Inquirer and its "nationalistic" pundits, the worse being CONRADO DE QUIROS who used to make hundreds of thousands of copies of screeds and epithets against OFWs of the most sophisticated and malicious kind.
For example, in a series of columns having supposedly to do with Sense of Country, Conrad de Quiros popularized the insult among journalists and other elitists that OFWs are "TOILET BOWL CLEANERS OF THE WORLD" -- even suggesting that we scrap our colleges and universities if that was all we were training our youth for. I can't seem to find the original columns of his at the Inquirer Website anymore (I wonder why?) but fortunately the Asian Journal Online still has him admitting and defending those insults to OFWs.
Conrad de Quiros: "I remember again the irate letter-writer who demanded to know what I had against caregivers and maids-I had asked what we were doing turning ourselves into the toilet-bowl cleaners of the world-when both did completely respectable work. My answer then, and now, is that I have nothing against them, just as I have nothing against janitors and forklift operators. What I have against is the attitude that we can only exist in survival mode and that we can't be better. What I have against is an educational system that imagines its role in life to be to cater to the export labor market by producing standard entrants to it. "If anyone has the original column, I would like to republish it in its entirety here, but as I said it can't seem to be found at PDI's website anymore.
He was joined in this once gleeful enterprise of vituperation against OFWs by people in such "great" and "high class" schools as the Ateneo, where some folks called that infamous DeQuirosian phrase "eloquent".
Back then (only two years ago) pretty much only Philippine Commentary and Wretchard of the Belmont Club stood up for OFWs, (as well as many irate letter writers and lowly chat room participants) whom the Inquirer gave short shrift by having de Quiros himself and the "readers advocate" Raul Palabrica rebut them. Manuel L. Quezon III defended his newspaper but a frequent Commenter of his, C.V. Jugo had this to say:
I agree with footvoter’s take on OFW’s above (as well as with a similar point made by Dodong a few posts back). Together with DJB, i take offense to De Quiros’ characterizating us as ‘toilet bowl cleaners of the world’, not so much for the designation itself but for the elitist insinuation that this kind of thing is somehow beneath one’s dignity.I am just glad to see how much things have changed.
I salute efforts of folks like Nick of Tingog.com who is trying to start a boycott of the Manila Standard Today and its dequirosian acolyte, Malu Fernandez.
The C at has some suggested tactics.
Reyna Elena has started an OFW Logo and Slogan Design Contest.
Filipino OFWs in Qatar are mighty incensed.
Pinoy Advertizzing TsisMax ccarries some of the colorful language being directed at Malu and her supporters (all half dozen of them)
Unedited Mara has a a nice, uhmm picture of the fierce and fabulous Malu Fernandez, but it's nothing compared to this one from the Pedestrian Observer.
The Jester-in-Exile doesn't find any of this to be very funny and describes the online seige.
The Rube Tube likens Malu's actions to going to America and making fun of the soldiers fighting in Iraq, which of course is a deviant behavior still practiced by PDI and de Quiros, except in regards to Philippine soldiers and Mindanao.
Coffee with Amee describes Pinoy bloggers on the issue, but pities Malu Fernandez for her deep seated insecurities.
Other significant entries lately have come from:
Far From Neutral Notions ("...no statute of limitations on outrage")
Touched by an Angel wants to combat the bigotry and condescension of the what AWB Holdings calls the "abonimable snub woman".
These efforts are laudable, but I think we and the OFWs have already won the argument, both morally and politically. For even "nationalists" -- who are mostly the mental crustaceans of a failed ruling class--now acknowledge, perhaps with not enough gratitude but certainly with enough false if grudging praises--that the OFWs really are the rising tide that is lifting all boats, even that of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Conrad de Quiros and PDI, like Renato Constantino and the CPP NPA all these decades have had an entirely mistaken and self-serving view of nationalism, which Overseas Filipino Workers, as the first global citizens of One World are teaching them is not the greatest possible virtue there is.
Here is a nice logo from Proudly Pinoy dot org.
The OFW has discovered virtues greater than nationalism!