Opinion

Why Solita Monsod is "a Racist Enabler"

Caroline S. Hau continues the hot debate about Chinese-Filipinos and their place in Philippine society.
IMAGE GMA Inc.
ILLUSTRATOR Esquire
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Solita Monsod has seen fit to respond to my critique of her Inquirer article “Why Filipinos Distrust China” with yet another article, which essentially regurgitates her assertions without really addressing the points I raise about her basing her generalizations on her personal experience. Like I said, her circle of “Chinese-Filipino” friends must be quite limited–a fact that makes her personal observation blinkered and limited, as I pointed out–if all she can come up with is a sentence like “Actually, I have often observed, Reader, that a Chinese-Filipino will never ever state unequivocally that he/she is a Filipino first, and a Chinese second (meaning, his loyalty is to the Philippines).” When I say that she has blinkered and limited powers of observation, I am not resorting to ad hominems, I am merely pointing out a fact.

| READ "WHY I DISTRUST SOLITA MONSOD'S 'WHY FILIPINOS DISTRUST CHINA" BY CAROLINE S. HAU HERE |

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Monsod claims in her article that she is merely reporting the results of surveys showing that Filipinos “trust the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Israel, but on the whole, they don’t trust China.” She goes on to say, in her own defense, “Don’t kill the messenger.”

As far as I’m concerned, Monsod, by uncritically retailing the stereotypes and assumptions of the alien Chinese as people “taking away what is ours” and failing to call out the racism of such a statement, is not just a messenger, but a racist enabler who condones racism and even seeks to justify and rationalize it.

Monsod, by uncritically retailing the stereotypes and assumptions of the alien Chinese..is not just a messenger, but a racist enabler who condones racism and even seeks to justify and rationalize it

She  then goes on to say: “Chinese-Filipinos comprise less than 2 percent of our population, but they comprise at least 50 percent of our richest listed in Forbes magazine. You don’t think that causes resentment, and even distrust? Perhaps because of their conspicuous consumption? It is Ms Hau that generalizes; she jumps from distrust of the richest Chinese-Filipinos to ALL of them. Excuse me.”

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There are historical reasons why Chinese-Filipinos are disproportionately represented in the Philippine economy but Monsod is not interested in discussing them. Reader, I suggest you read Edgar Wickberg, Richard Chu, Teresita Ang-See, Ellen Palanca, Antonio Tan, John Omohundro, and Wong Kwok-Chu, since you’re not likely to learn anything about the Chinese in the Philippines from Monsod. All Monsod has done is to confirm that anti-Chinese racism is alive and well in the Philippines.

Monsod accuses me of generalizing and “jump[ing] from distrust of the richest Filipinos to ALL of them.”  Excuse me, Mareng Winnie, didn’t you just resort to yet another generalization in that last paragraph you wrote, when you try to rationalize the resentment against “Chinese-Filipinos [who] comprise  less than 2 percent of our population, but they comprise at least 50 percent of our richest listed in Forbes magazine” by attributing the resentment to “their conspicuous consumption”? You think that using the word “perhaps” dilutes the racism of your argument that Chinese-Filipinos engage in conspicuous consumption?

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There are historical reasons why Chinese-Filipinos are disproportionately represented in the Philippine economy but Monsod is not interested in discussing them.

By the way, it’s not clear from your sentence whether you are saying that the Chinese-Filipinos who constitute “less than two percent” of the population are the ones who engage in conspicuous consumption, or you are saying that billionaire Chinese-Filipinos engage in conspicuous consumption. Either way, you are still generalizing. Even if you are referring only to the Tsinoy billionaires, are you saying that all these Chinese-Filipino billionaires engage in conspicuous consumption? Are you then implying that the billionaire Filipinos and non-Chinese Filipinos are thoroughly immune to conspicuous consumption? The fact that you don’t see fit to point out the class resentment stoked by the conspicuous consumption of some of our oligarchs and politicians clearly indicates that the Chinese ethnicity of these Chinese-Filipino billionaires (or do you mean the “less than two percent” Chinese-Filipinos?) is an issue for you because their ethnicity makes them aliens who “take away what is ours.”

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Reader, who is generalizing now? Tsk, tsk, tsk, mahina ang kalaban.

Your essay says “To be continued.” Bring it on.

This essay was originally published on Dr. Caroline S. Hau's blog ikanga.wordpress.com

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About The Author
Caroline S. Hau
Caroline S. Hau is Professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, and the author of Elites and Ilustrados in Philippine Culture and The Chinese Question: Ethnicity, Nation, and Region in and Beyond the Philippines, both published by Ateneo de Manila University Press. She carries a Philippine passport, and no other.
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