Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Philippines' 1st Cyber Counterculture Movement: Malu Fernandez, Hala Lagot Ka!

Has it been two weeks? Since Jae's post, and my first response to this issue, the Malu Fernandez blogging spectacle has taken on a life of its own. Every day, there are more pages on Google and Technorati when you search her. Congratulations Malu, you're now viral. I imagine your articles and the unfavourable (to put it kindly) reactions to your articles are now circling the globe over and over and over.

Anton De Leon, himself and OFW in Dubai, has called on us to "put on" the badges he made in support of the OFW Blogger's network. He is irked at Manila Standard Today's silence to this date. They have issued no statement other than publishing Malu's column on July 30, suggesting we're all ignorant twats. I've sent them heaps of e-mails as well, and as you can see, now their site crashes from time to time from heavy traffic. The Pinoy has reposted it here. De Leon suggests MST's silence may be because they don't want to ruffle VIP feathers. But he is optimistic the fight is far from over, it has only begun.

If you want to participate in (dare I suggest) the Philippines' first cyber counterculture movement, I say, put on the badges and let yourself be heard.

Tingog has posted the the official statement of the Filipino Press Club-Dubai. Here are some highlights:
A print medium that aspires for relevance in today’s competitive media world cannot hide under the skirt of press freedom for its licentiousness to insult a group of people. One’s freedom to poke her fingers begins where someone else’s nose begins.

Ms Fernandez’s unrepentant response to the barrage of angry reactions from OFWs and their loved ones (“I obviously write for a certain target audience and if what I write offends you, just stop reading”), simply adds fuel to the fire.

A nation like the Philippines that aspires for renewal and regeneration needs a responsible press with a high level of sensitivity to all sectors that comprise it.

We strongly demand that the publishers of People Asia and Manila Standard Today to take full responsibility and do the right thing: give Ms Fernandez and her editors a disciplinary action and apologise to the people insulted by these articles.

Elsewhere in the Pinoy blogsphere, people's latest reactions.

Sassy lawyer, herself an MST columninst says:
I tell you, there is nothing more useless and unreasonable as an angry, unthinking mob. And there is nothing more dangerous than a mob with an agendum—lest we forget, the Philippine blogging community is a medium too and hardly exempt from the mentality that anything goes if it translates to readership/audience.
Professional heckler lists some things one might say when one sees MF. The good bits:
9: “You’ve got more issues than PEOPLE Asia and the Manila Standard Today combined!”
8: “A sharp tongue does not mean you have a keen mind.”
7: “Do you still love nature, despite what it did to you?”
6: “If your conscience could be surgically removed, it would be a minor operation.”
4: “You are the reason God created the middle finger.”
A good point from a very angry luthien:
ang mga "hot money" inflows sa atin lumilikas kapag may mga market "shakes" like nitong nangyayaring US subrpime/credit crunch na nangyayari pero ang OFW remittances anjan pa rin, to keep our economy afloat.
Ivan Henares catalogues the growing list of bloggers on MF. He writes:
As a travel writer, I am unimpressed with her article. It does not give readers a sense of place of where she's been. Who cares if you used gold, open-toed sandals to climb the Acropolis? It's pathetic that the Hellenic attractions were only mentioned in passing. As a Filipino, I am appalled. How dare you call this country God-forsaken!
A truly tongue-in-cheek post from bananachoked:
Really, my heart goes to her and this she owes to me. For crying our loud, send me a bottle of the rare perfumes that you reviewed at the expense of the stinky overseas Filipino workers whose smell suffocated you. Let me try the ones you sprayed on your underarms to prevent the glands from sweating too much or the ones you put on your groin to avoid rashes.
Yveethetraveler posts the letter she sent to MST:
If your writer does not think she can bridge the gap between socioeconomic classes in our country, what may I ask, is her role in your paper? Of course I do not expect her to bridge gaps between our country’s social classes, but I do expect her to possess ethics appropriate for a journalist. Isn’t objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability included in a journalist’s principles?
Fleeting thoughts comments on the comments:
It’s so fun reading the outbursts of enraged people. No offense, I don’t mean to express amusement at any display of emotion, especially for something that is so sensitive but this kind of thing does not happen regularly in the open (for me, that is). In a world where people must observe some level of civility, outbursts like these can be really interesting.
Ingrid Holm writes:
Take this from a person with the same 'socio-economic background' as you, bitch. What a pitiful excuse. I also happen to read things 'thicker than magazines', I go to University in London where I will finish with an Honors Bachelors Degree in May. I have a 1 year Marketing Economics degree from a business school in Oslo, and I graduated with an International Baccalaureate Diploma at age 17, if you were wondering. So no fucking excuses. You could do so much more than you think, yet you choose to act like a proper twat. The kind of twat that people with some brains laugh at, the world over.
An interesting take from Gigo:
People from the "elite realm" (for lack of a better term) amuse me. They are sources of entertainment as much as circus freaks provide me with a dose of something so surreal, its an escape from the reality that I am in. There's just something about their lifestyle which is so monotonously spread out in sheets of lifestyle magazines, that I find really peculiar, it merits a few chuckle from time to time. Imagine flaunting the crevasses of your pockets, clad in chameleon clothes with engorged egos, striking it fierce in a photograph to be pasted on a magazine sold alongside substance- twenty sheets adorned with pictures of hunger, strife, discord, and dissatisfaction. That is irony "fabulousified" (excuse my French).

Related posts:
Putting on the Other's Shoes
The Democracy of the Pinoy Blogosphere a.k.a Malu Fernandez, Take Your Cue
Let Them Eat Cake
OFWs are No Heroes

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