Let’s start with the “good”:
Wow. If this guy isn’t an international superstar, I don’t know what is. Very few athletes gain entry into mainstream Hollywood entertainment, no matter how great they are, much less Filipino athletes who aren’t exactly known to flourish internationally. So each time Manny wins a fight, or comes out in some TV show like this one, we beam as a nation, with so much pride. It’s not often we are painted in such heroic light, often made fun of in fact, so we relish every moment of triumph with Manny, as if his honor is every bit as ours.
And then there is the “bad”:
This is the nth time we’ve experienced being slighted or made fun of in international shores, from the Desperate Housewives brouhaha where the Teri Hatcher character refused to be examined if the doctor is from “some med school in the Philippines”, to comedian Adam Carolla bashing Manny Pacquiao, calling him illiterate and implying that the Philippines is a nation of whores. This time, it’s a Korean actress who makes fun of the Pinoy accent, when strangely, we’ve been practically swarmed by throngs of Korean kids here to study English from the very teachers she made fun of.
The obvious reaction is to bristle in anger. But there are 2 reactions to it. One is indignation, for feeling insulted by someone from a country who sends an endless supply of their people here, to mixed reactions. Koreans are now the most populous foreigners in the Philippines, eclipsing Japan and the U.S. To be frank, I felt very much stung by it, for her to make fun of our accent when Koreans aren’t exactly known for their impeccable English either, when in fact they send so many of their kids here precisely to learn English. But upon closer inspection, don’t we do the same? Don’t we make fun of the Chinese accent? When we do accents like: “Akyen odeh fly lice!”, how do the Chinese feel about it? Let’s move closer to the Visayas: don’t we have the endless “Wag pu koya, dadating na si ati!”, not to mention our ribbing (fondly of course, but ribbing nonetheless) of our hero Manny Pacquiao himself? Jokes like, “Hidden Soldiers!” – Manny Pacquiao telling the world his choice of anti-dandruff shampoo. Or, “Noodle! Noodle!” – Manny Pacquiao on Deal Or No Deal. It’s the same, right? Don’t the Visayans feel offended when we mimic (some say mock) the way they speak? Revered local comics like Rex Navarette or YouTube sensation Happy Slip have made careers out of spoofing the way their parents speak. Does it mean we can make fun of our own local accents but not Koreans, or other nationalities for that matter? It’s a tough call. When Comedian Russell Peters mimics the Pinoy accent, we howl with laughter. When Lee Da Hae does it, we protest in disgust. I guess like anything in life, it’s the thin line between laughing WITH you and laughing AT you. If you feel as if you’re in on the joke, then it’s okay. But when you feel as if you’re made fun of, then it hurts.
So in my opinion, there is no “correct” reaction to these things. If you feel affronted, then you have every right to feel so. But if it rolls off your back and it isn’t a big deal to you, then it is just as valid a reaction as any.