Thursday, May 05, 2011

Pinoys, accents, and double standards

Heard through the grapevine that Pinoys took serious offense at Lee Da Hae's portrayal of a Pinoy speaking in English... that is, she appeared to portray the Pinoy accent as something funny.

I find this really hypocritical, considering that Pinoys just looooooove to make fun of the accents of other nationalities—it is a staple of the sort of cringeworthy jokes the "batikan" comedians would always do when they made fun of Chinese accents ("Oy, ako punta Cainta pala tulo laway!"), Japanese ("Ugh! Ai rub yoo beri machi! HAI!"), German ("Oh, my kalbonen is so pakentaben and so spakenhaiten! Heil!"), and even homegrown probinsyano accents (just look at all the Bisayan, Kapampangan, Ilocano, etc. etc. jokes that still abound). Bubble Gang does it all the time.

Even the accents of those whose language IS English do not escape the ridicule of Pinoys (this video, for instance:

Pero, as most Pinoys would reason, katuwaan lang naman. Katuwaan if it is the Pinoy who is being racist and xenophobic... but beware the naive foreigner who mistakenly believes that most Pinoys would appreciate a joke seemingly made at their expense.

I never did see why this would be something that will reach the evening news in the Philippines. I cannot imagine it ever happening here: an apology demanded, or a lobbying that the "perpetrator" be labeled "personal non grata", for a comedy act on accents (like this video).

I find it sad that the worst thing Pinoys can threaten a naive foreigner is being labeled "persona non grata". I find it the greatest irony that a people who pride themselves on being very welcoming, very accommodating and always smiling are actually known here as being standoffish and petty (

And solicitous, too. A friend of ours once took offense when a Pinay told her she had "chinky" eyes (she's Chinese)... and another time when a fellow Pinoy interrogated Æ on how regular her periods are. Pinoys can be very offensive... pero katuwaan lang naman, right?

Even more sad was that a lot of Pinoys actually felt more offended by this little jest on the Pinoy accent than what Willie did to Jan-Jan.

When in Oz...Ærynn and I, together with our good friend The Grey Fox, were able to get tickets to watch Danny Bhoy during the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Here is a sample of his act: