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Jan 31st
Home Columns Op-Ed Page Desperate Fishwives (A Column by Romy Marquez)
Desperate Fishwives (A Column by Romy Marquez) PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Op-Ed Page
Thursday, 18 October 2007 09:46
Desperate Fishwives


While many of us felt offended by a remark in ABC's fictional sitcom "Desperate Housewives" and took it as a slur against Filipinos, another group in San Diego led by the ABC team of dubious moralists was also whipping up hatred in the local Filipino community.

What a strange coincidence that they (the members of the ABC team) re-launched their assault on the very day the sitcom aired, on Sept. 30! Previously, they had vainly tried it on another organization, only to be rebuffed.

ABC, not the broadcast giant, is the acronym for a metaphorical three monkeys (the deaf, dumb and mute) taken from the first letter of the last names of over-hyped community officials, namely, Rita Andrews, Faith Bautista and Aurora Cudal.


Editor’s Note to Ms. Rita Andrews, Ms. Faith Bautista and Mrs. Aurora Cudal, the ABC Mesdames of the Filipino-American Community: Please feel free to send us your replies and/or rebuttal to the articles written by Romeo P. Vazquez. We will print your statements in their entirety, without any censorship. You can also post, as some of your supporters have done in the “Users Comments” after every article written by Mr. Marquez published in this web site. But if you want your rebuttals to appear on the Front Page, please send them to the Editor.


Andrews and Cudal are the current and past president of the scandal-ridden Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO) where $27,000 had disappeared without a trace. Bautista is the fat-salaried employee of the marketing agency Mabuhay Alliance.

Filipinos everywhere are taking umbrage for a remark by an ignorant bit player who, without meaning to defend her, was exercising her right to speak out her opinion. In San Diego, meanwhile, some Filipinos are also up in arms against my being a journalist; they feel slighted by my writing style.

The two unrelated situations encroach upon what is generally known as the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. And, unbelievably, both are being suppressed by Filipinos themselves!

My belief as a journalist -- and this should no way be interpreted to mean adding fuel to the current situation and inflame more animosity -- is that whoever said the offending comment was well within her right to form and express an opinion.

I subscribe to the view that no opinion is wrong, however ridiculous it is. And to be able to state it without fear of retribution or legal sanction is one of the guarantees embodied in the Bill of Rights.

It is not that the speaker was correct in mocking products of Philippine medical schools; her saying so betrayed an ignorance or the lack of knowledge about the Philippines. It is she who is miserably uninformed.

Why take personal resentment at someone's mediocre knowledge of what we are, who we are, where we are and how we are in the world, knowing that the Philippines is one of the foremost exporters of brains and talents?

Over-sensitivity may be misplaced here, that's my opinion. If we were really so fickle as to mind every comment that touches a raw nerve, why don't we go back to our own TV sitcoms and see how our Filipino talents denigrate and make fun of our neighbors, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Koreans and African Americans?

In the old movie "All the President's Men", a matter-of-fact comment was made by one of the editors of the Washington Post that I think should cause more concern than the one in "Desperate Housewives". He said, and this was 1972: "Thirty-one days of rain in the Philippines is being blamed on the theft of a statue of Jesus". And everybody laughed.

Indeed, were we to apply the same standard of pique that triggered the present protests, the one in the Robert Redford-Dustin Hoffman starrer was truly devastating. Not only does it trivialize the Catholic faith, it also ridicules the religious believers. And parodies the entire nation. But nobody raised a hoot when the movie came out and played to capacity crowds. Why?

That brings me back to the other issue of freedom of the press.

Here in San Diego, a notorious group has taken the real foolish step of asking government authorities to violate the US constitution just because they do not like my reporting style. Incredible but it's true.

Behind the effort are men and women who while their time away rumor-mongering and passing gossip. I call them "desperate fishwives" -- women and in-betweens who have enriched the Filipino community's treasure trove of canards, harebrained falsehoods, tall tales and outright fantasies.

Aside from engaging in petty thieveries to line up their pockets or improve their stock, these fishwives are irretrievably lost in their vain effort to impose their spurious morality on the community.

I can't think of a way to reconcile their thoughts with their actions; their sanctimonious preachings with their practices; their public appearance and their private behavior.

Desperate they are; housewives, some are; fishwives, they all are!

Exposed for their wrongdoings, they try to fight back with a vengeance of a fishwife. They would rather curtail one's right to speak and in my case, to be a journalist, than see some illumination in what others who may have a contrary opinion say. That's a travesty that's also a tragedy.

They can't find satisfaction until they see blood. And "they" are the people who should embrace our diversity rather than fight it.

They call themselves leaders, a description so wanting in meaning if applied to many of those who head our community organizations. They act as if they control our lives. They set standards of morality they themselves mock by their own immoral behavior.

They ask you to be what they can't be. They oblige you to do what they would not do. They want your allegiance that they themselves would not give. They want to lead only if you yield completely and without question. In other words, they expect canine devotion from everyone.

These are the kinds of officials that latch on many Filipino community organizations in San Diego, glory-seekers but not cause-finders, always lusting for approbation and reward.

Try to call their attention to what they do and they will reproach you. Try to point out their wrongdoings, and they would condemn.

They're a bunch of fakes who see the color of money but not the color of their skin. They lend their ears to hear others but not the voices of their own people. They go the extra mile to help those who please them but not those who tell the truth on their faces.

They're hospitable alright but only to the extent that they're guaranteed a payback. Their hospitality begins and ends with the mighty dollar, as if one is less of a person than the one with money coming out of their ears and flat noses.

They're dressed to the nines to flaunt their self-importance. But behind the coiffed hair by Super Cuts, the smell of Chanel and the glamorous look of Max Factor, nothing resides in their intellect but the devious ways to bleed the community.

And then there's the menfolk, too whose only claim to being men is in their blind obedience to what their wives dictate and tell them to do. Henpeck they may be, yes, and they seem to not have the courage to say the opposite. Take a look at the "Kupitbahay" gay, err, guy, who confessed that he had to have his wife's permission to write and say things!

Among these are the non-native Filipinos, meaning those who try to earn their keep by putting up with their wives and girlfriends and for as long as they can say the customary greetings and the abundant "salamat po".

One had stopped disrespecting us by calling himself a "Katipunero" after I pointed out that he could never be because he was a different son of a gun. The other still tries to patronize us with his usual b.s. that he probably learned from his wife.

No way to empower the community, not with these people, no. They seek glory for themselves, not for the cause that would empower the community. Desperate for a cause, desperate for attention, yes, these desperate fishwives!

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Last Updated on Sunday, 21 October 2007 09:25

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