by: Donne Prynne (@English_don)
…after she made a name on a foreign land, brazenly forgot her origins, changed not only her looks (hair and all) but also her accent (phony!)? A girl who embraces her “Filipino-ness” even if she was raised American or a girl who has virtually renounced her “Filipino-ness” and obviously assumed a glaringly fake American identity? –Ricky Lo
The aforementioned line from a known Filipino journalist clearly resonates how haters embrace bigotry at Charice’s expense.
Let me delve into this, and may I challenge anyone to counter so.
Mr. Lo, how do you know if someone “brazenly has forgotten her origins”? By what clear evidences? Seriously, you owe us a good elaboration.
If the change of image made you think so. Sit back. May I ask. How many times have you attempted to improve your physical attributes? Isn’t it what basic Psychology teaches that man is insatiable in nature? That doesn’t exclude Charice or you. Haven’t our teachers told us that human beings mature and develop? Haven’t our mothers reminded us to be more understanding of our younger siblings because they still need to learn? Going back to “origin” . I once dyed my hair, but I don’t think I lost my origin (of whatever you may perceive it to be). When you made some changes about yourself, did you lose your origin? How lame. Shoud we hate our neighbors with blond hair? Should we condemn those who have undergone any form of surgery? How demanding does that sound.
Yes Charice is a celebrity, and she has to bear criticisms along the way. But to tell you, this culture of crab mentality, cyber bullying, shallow grasp of beauty, etc. is going epidemic. And I could only wish for some people with the power to influence minds to be more sensible. When people read you, you owe them careful choice of words and ideas. You have your opinions, we have ours. But hay, I won’t charge you of anything. It’s not playing safe. It’s sensibility and respect!
About the “phony” accent. Wow! I have watched a few of your clips. We both know you have the very thick accent. But this doesn’t mean that everybody should sound like you, to say the least. Call center agents try to sound American because it’s one way of gaining equal treatment on the floor. Many customers despise the Filipino accent. Agents may lose job for not sounding American. Some social climbers try to fake their accent because it’s one way of gaining recognition. It makes them happy, and it doesn’t harm others. Well, it may harm someone’s prejudicial auditory. But it definitely won’t hurt feelings. Irresponsible opinions do!. Note: everybody tends to act like a social climber. It’s a common observation. There’s nothing we can really do about that. So, let’s leave them at peace with their own preference.
For the record, Charice is 20. She is still on the stage of accommodating English linguistically. She has been in America for several years now. Jessica Sanchez has been in America ever since. But it doesn’t give her the exclusive privilege to sound American. Many ESL teachers and students try to neutralize or better yet “Americanize” their accent simply because the world is full of biases and inequalities. You can’t tell them to get away with it because it’s how they earn for a living – and yes, a way of life! Noble profession, isn’t it? Does it make them less of a Filipino? No! It’s obviously because they are not violating any sort of rule. The ones who hate to hear this kind of spoken English are those who can’t do the same or those who have tried but aren’t capable or don’t have the guts. But the understanding souls don’t hate. They understand because they know the entire thing. So, leave the language novices alone.
How many of our local stars try to sound American and constantly speak English? English is our second official language, I can remember. You know that, as your columns are in English. So it’s okay to write in English but to speak? Absurd. How do you know if someone is pretending? Are you with her 24/7? It If we discuss, the influence of the West, pop culture, emperialism, and the like, it may take a long while. The point this time is that it’s common sense! There’s always a single reason to every action. Whatever reason it is, you don’t have to know. As long as it doesn’t offend, let it flow. Even Martin Nievera is capable of committing grammatical slips on national TV. Even the character of Gretchen Baretto in “Magkaribal” uttered ‘mediocrisy’ instead of ‘mediocrity’. Well, I didn’t blame her. It wasn’t entirely her fault when the script writer or editor overlooked such slip. If there’s any Filipino celebrity who has the need to sound American, it could very well be Charice. Her market is in America. She is an international star. How simple is that. If she sounds different now, it’s because she has worked hard to improve. The process is not easy, and there’s always a way to sound off. It’s the only way to improve. You may ask Koreans or Japanese about that.
Your last charge about renouncing her Filipino-ness and assuming a glaringly fake American identity is serious, but I still would give you the benefit of the doubt and cynicism. Lay down all your bases. A good journalist supports his big opinions with evidences and valid analyses. Cite some instances when Charice did so. You know what, even if I lose my comprehension and believe in this line, accusing someone is way more sinful. Who knows what Filipino-ness is? Should it be a sole burden of any Filipino celebrity? Why not teach anyone the concept of nationalism or patriotism? Why don’t we start at doing our job well and aim at inspiring others. Phony? Yes, some truths are phony.
I am not judging you, but I’m eagerly asking you questions.
TO THE HATERS
Lately, in social media like Twitter, there have been hate tweets against this fragile little girl. How on Earth could anybody curse a poor little girl who only knows how to move souls and inspire zestless spirits? It seems like everyone’s dirty backyard has made an extension in the virtual world.
First, no one has the right to pick on her physical appearance. She may be short or doesn’t have the face most physically insecure persons disturbingly have been dreaming of. But come on, she’s not ugly, is she? Even if we go down to the lowest point of assumption, she still doesn’t deserve to be bullied. Do you know why? It’s because no one is really beautiful until they believe so (corny but true). Seriously, let’s put it this way, think of yourself, your family, your relatives, former lovers or even future children. Do you think it’s 100% sure that you don’t see any ugliness (that you foolishly condemn) sooner or later? Another option is look at yourself (in any way you want). What have you done lately? What are you supposed to do? I know some are too defensive. But hay, I also know that you heart is vulnerable. Hence, Charice is an artist, and she should either be embraced or ignored based on her craft. Her artistry calls for an endless thread of discussions anyway. So, let’s skip that for now.
Second, many (if not all) haters bash her obviously because she was once a ‘probinsyana’ on TV. In retrospect, she didn’t have good clothes with poor fashion style. But you know what, I didn’t mind, because the last time I checked, she’s a darn singer! Okay, even if she’s a celebrity this time, it’s still baseless to shove down her throat some standard – be it in dressing up, projecting an image, or even speaking English. The way she speaks English is absolutely fine! She’s on the process of mastering the language. She’s living in America, and there’s a natural urge to accommodate linguistically. She has international fans, and she needs to think of them in return. The way she carries herself is definitely not a problem. Hasn’t she mentioned already? It’s how she really is. You’ve gotta move on from that. There’s really no need to dictate her on how to live her life. She is like you – HUMAN!
Question: how many do you know who have married a foreigner? How many of your favorite “glamorous” stars have a Pinay mother and a foreigner father? Anne Curtis? Iya Villania? The list goes on. The bottomline is that, like Charice, their moms had to deal with so many adjustments. They are even far from sounding native until now. But of course, they are not less admirable as a mother, wife and Pinay. Bieng an immigrant, it’s always a challenge to meet at a compromise level. We cannot just simply compare Charice to anyone born in America or London for that mattter. She started a career in the US at 15. What sort of language can you expect from her? Do you want to claim that Jessica Sanchez has a tongue of diamond and Charice a tongue of iron just because she doesn’t sound American? Come on, your intellect can go beyond that myopic assessment. Here’s the deal: try to do 1 % of what Charice has done, and you will see.
Another thing to realize is that countless rich and famous (especially the relatively honorably rich and famous) scrubbed their way through success! Ask Bill Gates. Or ask your immediate neighbor who had to work abroad in order to send some dough back for their loved ones. Who are really rich and supposed to enjoy all our praises and admiration? The scions of corrupt individuals and families? The successors of shady businesses? The ones who have traded dignity just to accumulate wealth and power? It sounds cheesy, yes? But it’s truthful, too. So tell me. Shouldn’t Charice be an inspiration that you, yourself can still get out of any undesirable situation you and your family have been dealing with? Couldn’t she be an inspiration that despite unequal footing, with hard work, determination and dedication, we can still improve ourselves? You have to trust me on this. I know how it feels down there. I know how it is to be in the minority. And I know you know the same. If you don’t lift your own self, then who would? Now if, you think it’s awkward that a native Filipina is rubbing elbows with the ones you call ‘elites’ and enjoying the fruit of her hard labor, then might as well tell everyone who has dreams to stop chasing them. What is wrong with trying hard? Isn’t it human nature to push harder to get more? Now if you don’t have the courage, it doesn’t mean that you have to bring others down.
Finally, how were you when you were a teenager or in the early 20’s? Why are we so quick at judging young people? Didn’t we wish for some understanding and some time to grow up and prove our worth? Why don’t we try to be more understanding? Let’s give Charice a break! She owes us nothing, and she deserves RESPECT.
I don’t personally know Charice, neither do you. So, please hold back a bit.