The War at Home

Chip Tsao (陶傑 pen name or 曹捷 real name) a witty columnist published something very controversial at HK magazine in March 2009 regarding Fillipinos and China. The full text is quoted below:

The War at Home
by Chip Tsao 陶傑

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen onboard. We can live with that-—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people.

The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That's no big problem-—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on-—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary.

This is beyond reproach.

The reason: There are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as HK$3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong.

As a nation of servants, you don't flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture.

I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell everyone of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day.

With that money, she would pay taxes to her Government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The Government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East.

They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher.

Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout 'China, Madam/Sir' loudly whenever they hear the word "Spratly".

They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, "Long live Chairman Mao!" at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution.

I’m not sure if that's going a bit too far, at least for the time being.


End of quoted article as published in HK magazine in March 2009 (had since been removed from website).

So what do you think? Was it over the board? Thousands of Filippinos demonstrated on the streets of Central on 1 April 2009. Given the large number of domestic helpers who came from the Phillipines and working in many Hong Kong households, should they go on strike for a day or two, many moms will find themselves juggling schedules to attend their kids before or after work. So will many families who depend on these domestic helpers to take care of their elderly parents. I think being satirical to your own people is one thing, that is Chip Tsao can ridicule the Chinese as much as he likes, since he is part of us. He has the "ownership" to the identity. However, when that extends to other people of different cultures, which occurred in this case, he got himself into hot water. He is as patronising as the "West" or the industrialised countries lecturing on developing countries, countries with emerging markets, etc. etc. Filippinos DO contribute to the prosperity of the local Hong Kong economy, we don't need to add salt to their wounds given many of them left behind families (husbands and children) to work here. Satirist or not, one just can't have the cake and eat it. May this be a lesson learnt for him and many of us HongKongers, or else Asia's World City would become Asia's racist city.

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