Thai national Prasertsri Kosin received flak and condemnation from netizens after he made derogatory remarks against Filipinos on the ASEAN Facebook group page. Some of his remarks were based on his observation where he described our society in an exaggerated manner using his rudimentary English skills.
Truth is, I was also offended and my ego was somehow hurt when he labelled Filipinos as “pignoys”, “stupid creatures,” “low-class slum slaves” and “the most useless race in this world.” Nevertheless, the overreaction is unwarranted.
We Filipinos flaunt our country because we tolerate and respect freedom of expression, and that was precisely what we have inherited from the 1986 EDSA Revolution, and same revolts thereafter. And that includes giving our comments and opinions on the matters that mostly don’t concern us. We even say foul words to our Government and famous people and we weren’t apprehended because we understood the idea of “free speech”. What is the power of the bill of rights, particularly that of freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press, for? His personal comment does not endanger national security, public safety and order, therefore should not be abridged.
Philippine immigration Law lists some criteria on which bases an alien may be deemed “undesirable”. Though the set of criteria includes various financial crimes, prostitution, and sedition, there seems to be nothing in that law that provides for insult or disrespect of Filipinos and their culture as cause for deportation on grounds of “undesirability”.
But the point is not whether his slurs are grounds for deportation or not. It is us Filipinos for overreacting to things that don’t matter at all. We need to stop being a nation of overly sensitive, butt-hurt bigots and hypocrites. Why is it okay for us to throw racial and homophobic slurs but when it is against us we cry foul? That is double standards and hypocrisy!
Remember how most of us responded when Pacquiao lost the fight to Mayweather? How about, Gayweather for Mayweather, Nognog for Binay, Noytard and panot for Pnoy, MandaramBONG for Bong Revilla, Hello Garci for GMA?
That Thai man became famous over night because of this country’s onion-skinnedness, which shouldn’t have been the case because he didn’t deserve any attention at all.
In short, a mature society would not make such a big fuss over a few racist comments made over Facebook, much less deport the person responsible. There are other things to focus our attention that matter the most.
*Edrian Echague is a marine engineering graduate of the Philippine Merchant Marine School – Las Pinas, where he served as president of the supreme student government from 2012 to 2013. He won as one of the ten outstanding maritime students in the Philippines during the said school year.