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papa osmubal
oscar balajadia LENY STROBEL, a US-based Kapampangan educator-writer I got acquainted with through some literary individuals that I know, posted a log on her personal website about a certain Filipino dude who became famous overnight by making the whole world know on international TV that he is not intelligent and talented enough.

His name is , and Leny Strobel reckons that this bally nuisance probably comes from Pampanga—the land where the likes of Luis Taruc, Felixberto Olalia, and Pedro Abad Santos hail from!

I feel so sorry for the blighter. And I feel so sorry for those who hail him as a hero. If the scholar Joseph Campbell could only return from the dead, he would have strangulated them all, because to him "a hero is someone who has given himself to something bigger than, or other than, himself."

American Idol is aired here in Macau a fortnight delayed from the US. I don't pretty much watch American Idol. But, out of curiosity, I did not miss the episode where Renaldo Lapuz was on. I watched Renaldo Lapuz and his 15-minute worth of fame a number of times on the website posted by Leny Strobel on her blog (like I could not wait for the airing of the show on Macau TV). His look and outfit made me pity the bozo and feel somewhat angry and annoyed that I come from the country where he comes from. If you are mentally healthy you are not going to wear a clumsily decorated white sombrero with a pathetic TV program presenter's bloody name on it. Drunk or sober, I will never wear one like that, with or without a crashing palooka's name on it.

I watched the episode with my wife and two kids. I forewarned them, telling them that they would be seeing a man claiming to be from where I come from but who is rather totally different from me. Modesty aside, my wife and kids (and my extended Chinese family) know that a true Filipino is someone who behaves like me; otherwise one is nothing but a flaming fake (as if my image and personality reoriented their way of looking at Filipinos against the quotidian Filipino reality that is endemic here in Macau and other world cities). My family knows how I think, act, and speak, and that set their standard of what and who a Filipino should be. They all know I represent a fine culture, a genuine civilization. I told them that what they were about to watch is pure entertainment engendered by the folly and ignorance of one person and by one TV program that takes advantage of such folly and ignorance. The deal was made and the rules were all set before turning on the boob tube. The deal and rules, though, did not cover the fixtures on Macau and Chinese TV— the commercial ads of employment agencies using broom-brandishing brown Filipina maids in aprons as models. We are used to those.

My family could not believe what they saw and heard. They thought it was a trained white parrot doing the tricks it was trained to do. I said that was a fellow doing a white parrot impersonation on a wrong TV program. For all they know Filipinos are good singers. Of course you can't generalize. Not all people in one country can be singers, or else there will not be any audience, and the music industry will die. That is just the way I explain the fact that I am the worst singer in the world—notwithstanding the Catholic seminary's (where I studied) having hired the best music teachers they could find to fix my tone deafness and to help me tap my singing skills, yet to no avail. My family understands the fact that not all Filipinos can sing the way Lea Salonga and Allan Pineda can sing. But they know that Filipinos who cannot sing do not dare sing and they do not have to. And they know that Filipinos who sing, even though they cannot sing, are either half-wits or attention-grabbers, or both. And Renaldo Lapuz is clearly one of those.

After watching that American Idol episode I wrote back to Leny Strobel, earnestly divulging to her that if I see another Renaldo Lapuz/es on any TV or online program from anywhere I will be packing up to defect to North Korea.

I thought I was over with the Renaldo Lapuz thigh-slapper when news suddenly came about "Filipino Monkeys" fooling around on hostile Middle East waters that are now causing concerns to navies patrolling there. There was even a report that Iranian and US navies almost had a confrontation due to the message by one of these "Filipino Monkeys." Iranian and US navies braced for a possible full-scale war after receiving a threat from a "Filipino Monkey": “I am coming to you… You will explode after… minutes.” They knew it was a Filipino sending such message because of the grammar and especially the accent.

Tell all kinds of jokes you know; but don't say you are loaded with bombs and are going towards somebody over ship-to-ship radios in the Persian Gulf.

"Filipino Monkey" is a name given by mariners around the world to a bad hat or a prankster who sends out unnecessary or inappropriate radio messages, whose purpose is to please or amuse himself or to get under one's skin.

I don't blame anybody for coining "Filipino Monkey." And I don't want to know who coined it and why and when they coined it. I leave the questions to the Philippine authorities. Let us see how they are going to handle and fix this issue. What I really want to know is what the Philippine government's position and opinion are about this "Filipino Monkey" issue. Does anyone remember what the Philippine government did when the Greeks published a dictionary defining "Filipina" as "maidservant" and "prostitute"? Raul Manglapus, if my failing memory serves me well, was then our foreign affairs secretary, and the department he was heading just let the matter slowly die out and slip right into oblivion, showing to the Greeks and the international community that anybody can treat us like monkeys. What will the current ofreign affairs secretary do this time about "Filipino Monkey"?

I just don't understand what is becoming of us. It just makes me feel really bad that Filipinos are turning into a bunch of laughing stocks. In a world that is increasingly becoming highly intellectual and globalized, I don't see any reason why there is a need for a country of goofballs and stooges. With the way things go, I will surely soon be hitting the road to North Korea where people have an idea of who they are, who their enemies are, what they are doing and for what they are doing them, and where they are heading for. It is alright to feel pain if you know its source and you pretty much know how to cure it.

[About the author. Papa Osmubal is Oscar Balajadia of Magalang, now Macau resident and married to a Chinese local. He has been a Catholic seminarian, Catholic missionary, bookstore staff, teaching assistant, and teacher. Currently at daytime he is the Assistant Librarian at The International School of Canada in Macau, while at nighttime he moonlights as part-time teacher and tutor. His poems have appeared in various anthologies and publications, online and hardcopy. He has work archived in the University of Columbia Granger's World of Poetry  and other places. A work of his will also appear in the forthcoming W.W. Norton Poetry Anthology of Contemporary Voices from the East.  He is a contributing writer to Chick Flicks, Our Own Voice (OOV): Writing from the Filipino Diaspora, and other publications.]

-Posted: 8:22 AM 2/19/08 | More of this author on eK!

Gregg/gmldoctor...@ (of Pampanga, Philippines) writes...

Saw the video clip in You Tube. I share the writer's sentiments. We can do better.

-Posted/Via Email: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 07:26:14 -0800

Jayme/jaymie@ (of Los Angeles, California, USA) writes...

I saw the video clip you're talking about a while back, and I too was upset by it. There is no need to defect to North Korea, though, trust me. If you do you will just be fueling this image you believe the world has of us, and the Philippines will be missing one more intelligent and insightful person.

I know that you were probably exaggerating when you talked about wanting to go to North Korea because they "have an idea of who they are, who their enemies are, what they are doing and for what they are doing them, and where they are heading for." But really: they don't. They only know what the government wants them to know, or allows them to know. They are basically ignorant to the world that surrounds them, and I feel sorry for them. Their uniformity is not something we should strive for. If we do, we'd lose out on our diversity. And diversity has always been something we could take pride in, no matter what diversity may produce.. whether it's someone like Pedro Abad Santos, or this Renaldo Lapuz character.

Again, I know you were trying to make a point by saying that this is such a travesty that it'd actually be much better to live in N. Korea than in PI. Ignorance is bliss, right? In all honesty, moving there would only worsen the problem.

I don't think we should silence these buffoons that make us look ridiculous to the media and the world. By doing so, we would create instant celebrities, similar to Paris Hilton or what's left of Britney Spears. These people and countless others are a shame to the US nation, and yet they are ridiculously popular. And why? Because we focus too much on the negative in us and our community.

We must focus on the positive. What we should do is praise those that do us justice and do right by our heritage. Those are the things that should stand out to the world. If the world sees us criticizing our own, they'll see us as unstable, so we must stay strong and not let certain people get us down. We are a proud people, and we should always be regardless of those that act like fools.

To look on the brighter side, there may be Renaldos out there, but there are also . Let's focus on her potential, and not that guy who'll soon be known as this season of American Idol's William Hung (if you keep up with the show, you'll know who I'm talking about).

-Posted/Via Email: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 12:42:21 -0800

Arnold Mendoza (of Balibago, Angeles City, Philippines) writes...

I feel your sentiments and I agree that Filipinos, specifically Kapampangans, must work harder in promoting a positive image around the world. However, I have been traveling the world for almost 20 years and the sad thing is-most Filipinas work as maidservants and prostitutes. I was stationed in Greece and this is exactly what I saw. Granted there may be around 15% Filipino professionals working in Athens, but majority of them worked as maids and servants. And there is nothing to be ashamed of. They are very good at what they do and they help the Philippine economy by sending hard-earned money to their families at home.

As far as the Filipino monkey, you are sadly mistaken. I stood those watch onboard US Navy ships and listen to the same messages. Filipino monkey is actually a name given by locals to our "OUTSTANDING" Filipino seamen who move tons of cargo around the world for foreign shipping companies. The locals make fun of them because of their accent. Get your story straight. And you know what they say after Filipino monkey? "You want banana?" Not only do they make fun of Filipinos but they also disrespect and abuse any female watch stander making an announcement on the radio. They are a bunch of cowards and punks! They are the Monkeys!

A Proud Kapampangan.

-Posted/Via Email: Sun, 2 Mar 2008 05:02:16 -0800

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