May 292013



But there could have been. Considering we’re now everywhere, why not near the stage in Denmark where an out-of-control fan slapped Beyonce’s behind?

And considering further that our news media often run reports like “No Pinoys Hurt in Massive Haiti Quake,” or “No Filipinos Hurt in Devastating Tsunami,” or “No Pinoys Injured in Boston Marathon Bombing,” why not report that none our compatriots was elbowed in the face or whatnot when guards threw out Beyonce’s offending Dane?

If Filipinos could be found in Burundi, it’s within the realm of possibility that they’d be found in Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s kitchen staff, where they theoretically ran the risk of being beaned by a flying dish had a down-and- dirty fight occurred during the couple’s recent breakup. Just like Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni’s Filipina nanny stands to be an innocent bystander in any serious domestic quarrel. (Disclosure: I follow TMZ, People, and the Kardashians very closely for purposes of anthropological research.)

The curious point is, we do like knowing if Filipinos figured in some tragic event elsewhere, blithely ignoring the fact that thousands of non-compatriots may have sadly perished in one of God’s mysterious ways. We like reading and reporting that no Pinoy died in the Oklahoma twister that flattened an entire town and killed dozens of other residents.

Let’s give this behavior a serious thought, shall we? Okay, that’s enough.

Some will say the predilection shows our love of gossip, especially ones that occasion a twinge of schadenfreude, German for feeling joy at the misfortune of others. Did I say German? I dare say then that this wouldn’t be a flaw unique to our national character. On the other hand, I bet Der Spiegel didn’t have a headline that said “No Germans Died in Oklahoma Twister,” even though German ancestry is a common ethnic root in the U.S.

In my darkest moment perhaps I’d concede that our interest in the Filipino’s involvement in any tragedy or disaster abroad may be a form of unspoken relief—that we ourselves, thank God, were not on the plane that plunged into the Persian Gulf, or good thing I’m not an OFW in Syria where I’d be dodging RPGs.

However, I prefer to conclude that while a bit of the above explanations may be at work, on the whole, our abiding interest in the fortunes of Filipinos abroad is a form of concern, an expression of solidarity–our collective compassion for any an all of our compatriots wherever they may be dispersed. That’s not to say we don’t fight, or succumb to envy or malice. And we all know that some public officials at home act as though immune to our best sentiments.

But we do enjoy serendipitously bumping into each other in climes not our own. We even like doing our fellow Filipinos small favors when we meet them in business establishments in, say, New York or Florence, where we may be working as sales clerks or servers. It’s a solicitousness that’s often the envy of my friends from other nationalities.

I believe it’s the way of an underdog that’s still fighting for respect from the rest of the world. Just as we beam with pride at news of Filipinos’ successes abroad, we also feel sympathetic to the challenges anyone of us encounters on the way to self-reinvention.

So, if we see a headline that says “No Filipinos Killed” in say, a Bangladesh building collapse where hundreds died, forget for a moment that our news media are being parochial. It’s the deeper sentiment that counts.

In that case, should Hugh Hefner’s recent marriage to a woman a hundred years his junior collapse in nasty divorce, I’ll keep everyone abreast of any Filipino casualties in the Playboy Mansion. I should be able to know. I’ve been a longtime observer of Mr. Hefner’s magazine because I really like the interviews.

Follow Us

More from this Blog:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Beyonce , Filipinos , tragic events

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer’s Reader’s Advocate. Or write The Readers’ Advocate:

 Leave a Reply