The day I learned about Malu Fernandez’ article From Boracay to Greece was the day I heard about former basketball player Paul ‘Bong’ Alvarez beat ABS-CBN television reporter Gretchen Malalad. Oh, such attacks by and to some of the members of the Philippine media!
Good thing that Malalad holds a black belt in karate and had even won gold medals in Southeast Asian Games. Good thing too that some Filipinos would take time to stand for their kababayans who were carelessly written about in a lifestyle article.
Fernandez’s acerbic wit does not come to me. I would rather read Sir Rome Jorge’s writings. Hers was an insensitive ridicule of the OFWs who deserves none of that. So what if they use a perfume brand cheaper than hers? So what if they excitedly greet a fellow domestic helper who had about the same experiences as them in a land far away from their families, far away from their own? So what if they sell mobile phones and cigarettes in an airport lobby? So what if they sleep side by side at night? Is that what she has to say?
If there is one thing I would admire about OFWs is that they are doing something. They are keen on improving their lives that they may have little chance of doing if they did not go for a fresh start. Fernandez’ article could have been worth reading if she can say that the OFWs are contented on staying mediocre, thus needing her bitching.
“A column is not a public diary. Starting with personal anecdotes most vividly illustrates one’s point. But you have to relate it to your audience. And you have to have a point… Candor is no excuse; we all have to take responsibility for what we say, even if it is written in the first person and is stated as an opinion,” wrote Sir Rome in his blog.
In the case of Malalad, her colleagues may say that she is just getting the facts straight. I would not excuse Alvarez’ misdemeanor and I would not fault Malalad for insisting her right. But if I were in her shoes then, I would not have fought back.
Jorge, R. "The postmodern column." http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-OvqIBFQ5eqjRLpknBTwnExL_Zt4-?cq=1&p=640. 13 Dec 2004.