Thursday, August 23, 2007

Regarding Malu Fernandez

This previously unknown writer has become so popular because of two articles that she wrote. Previously unknown because I was told that the Manila Standard even initially denied her existence. It was only after some verification that they acknowledged knowing and having Malu Fernandez as a writer.

On the first article (here & here), she wrote about her spur of the moment vacation to Greece, where she flew Emirates- Economy Class to save on money. Here's what followed:
"However I forgot that the hub was in Dubai and the majority of the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) were stationed there. The duty-free shop was overrun with Filipino workers selling cell phones and perfume. Meanwhile, I wanted to slash my wrist at the thought of being trapped in a plane with all of them."
"While I was on the plane (where the seats were so small I had bruises on my legs), my only consolation was the entertainment on the small flat screen in front of me. But it was busted, so I heaved a sigh, popped my sleeping pills and dozed off to the sounds of gum chewing and endless yelling of “HOY! Kumusta ka na? At taga san ka? Domestic helper ka rin ba?” Translation: “Hey there? Where are you from? Are you a domestic helper as well?” I thought I had died and God had sent me to my very own private hell."

"On my way back, I had to bravely take the economy flight once more. This time I had already resigned myself to being trapped like a sardine in a sardine can with all these OFWs smelling of AXE and Charlie cologne while Jo Malone evaporated into thin air."
That articles offended a lot of bloggers and the Philippine side of the Internet was flooded with angry remarks that called her pretentious & a name dropper among other things. Some made cruel references to her weight, compared her to Australia's Pauline Hanson, etc., etc..

In response, Malu wrote an article at the Manila Standard where she said;
Just recently, I wrote a funny article in my magazine column and my friends thought it was hilarious. It was humorous and quite tongue-in-cheek, or at least I thought so, until the magazine got a few e-mails from people who didn’t get the meaning of my acerbic wit. The bottom line was just that I had offended the reader’s socioeconomic background. If any of these people actually read anything thicker then a magazine they would find it very funny. Most people don’t get the fact that they need bitches like me to shake up their world, otherwise their lives would be boring and mediocre. I obviously write for the a certain target audience and if what I write offends you, just stop reading.
Although it may sound elitist to you the fact is this country is built on the foundation of haves, have-nots and wannabes. One group will never get the culture of the other. Although I could mention that it is easier to understand someone who has a lower socioeconomic background that would entail a whole other page and frankly I don’t want to be someone to bridge the gap between socioeconomic classes. I leave that to the politicians in my family who believe they can actually help. Now I seriously ask you, am I being a diva or are people around me just lacking in common sense? Perhaps it’s a little of both!

In regard to this article, this is what I have to say:

Whether or not, she meant to insult the OFW's, a lot of people (the non OFW's) felt offended. By the way, my observation of the blogosphere showed that a lot of Filipino bloggers are well educated if not intelligent. If she has the right to say whatever she felt, the others are also entitled to air their opinions of her. If she has the right to look down on the AXE and CHARLIE colognes of the OFW's, other people probably have the right to have an opinion on her weight. You see, both are personal insults.

The pen is indeed more powerful than the sword and those who wield it posses enormous powers. Therefore, the powerful opinion makers should be very careful in wielding such instrument. It can scathe, skin and even destroy. For those at the receiving end of the tyranny of the press are left with no recourse but to try to use the same medium in airing their sides and/or fighting back.

The blog, at this point, serves as a great equalizer to the mainstream media. It serves as an alternative to the reigning opinion makers. It is another sword that counters the hurtful and oftentimes lethal hacks of the broadsheets.

To occasionally commit slips is, at the very least, understandable. But to fail to realize or acknowledge the mistakes despite the loud cries of the offended parties (readers) is beyond comprehension. This is made worse by the fact that the offending party is supposed to belong to the privileged, highly educated and well travelled few who are exposed to various cultures and have a broader/ better understanding of the different cultural sensitivities.

Funny? Elitist? I don't think so. For the obnoxious, it probably is.

If she is belongs to the "Haves" as she insinuated, may Malu be reminded that the OFW remittance is the single biggest contributor to the country's dollar reserves and not them. All her rich- jet setting friends combined can never match the $10 billion annual remittances of the OFW's. It is because of them that the exchange rate has not skyrocketed as much as it can. They are the main reasons why she can still afford to travel economy. Without their remittances, even her and her well heeled friends (who found nothing wrong with her article) would have found the airfare too expensive even for their class.

Let me offer this unsolicited opinion. If she doesn't want to suffer the indignity of travelling with her loud-homesick compatriots from the lower economic strata, she should save a bit more so she'll be travelling first class, all the time. And next time, she exclusively write for the Tatler. Only the rich and the royal watchers like moi' have access to it. At least, the Indio's will not be able to find out how lowly she thinks of them.

7 comments:

LeVamp Yigae said...

thank you so much for the comment... a part of what she says may be true but i absolutely positively abhore her very rude remarks... i hate her...

LeVamp Yigae said...

"If any of these people actually read anything thicker then a magazine they would find it very funny."-----> oh please!

Anonymous said...

Wow! And she thinks so highly of herself.

marie said...

Aba! at nagpalusot pa! I hate her too, di niya dapat giawa or sinabi mga yun kahit sa biro.

Anonymous said...

oink oink!!!

ideru said...

i would love to call her a PIG but it would be insulting to the Pigs to be compared to her...tsk.. tsk..

"If any of these people actually read anything thicker then a magazine they would find it very funny."
goodness.. she really is stupid for making this comment..

raffy said...

Can't believe that she comes from a reputable family. Her writings show otherwise.

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