Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong react to Chip Tsao’s apology

Some say there’s overreaction but what’s the take of domestic helpers in Hong Kong themselves regarding the Chip Tsao incident?

Here’s a sampler — a press release of the largest Filipino organization in Hong Kong regarding the apology from the controversial columnist:

While we recognize the public apology of Mr. Chip Tsao, he must stop defending his article as a satire and that he was just misunderstood. We will press on with our protest.

This was the statement of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK) as it announced that the protest against racism slated this Sunday, April 5, will push through. The protest, being organized by various Filipino migrant groups in Hong Kong, is linked to the article “The War At Home” written by Chip Tsao and was published in both the printed edition and online site of HK magazine.

“Mr. Tsao’s apology is recognized but we are appalled of his continued defense of the piece as a satire. It was targeted towards a whole nation and a particular sector that made it nothing but a racial slur,” said Dolores Balladares, chairperson of UNIFIL.

Tsao, in his apology, maintained that he was just ‘misunderstood’. Balladares said that such an excuse is even more insulting.

“Does he mean it is our fault because we did not understand and just misinterpreted what he wrote? Such a pathetic defense just makes him sink even deeper in the quagmire of racism and discrimination and greatly lessens the sincerity of his apology,” she added.

In relation to the protest, UNIFIL, together with the Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW Limited) and the Filipino Migrant Workers Union Hong Kong (FMWU-HK), will submit today a join complaint letter to both the Equal Opportunities Commission of Hong Kong and the HK Press Council.

“Our complaint letters are a proof that we will not take racial slurs such as Tsao’s sitting down,” added Balladares. “Tsao’s admission only drives the point that his political satire has disheveled into a racial mudslinging against Filipinos, especially domestic workers, in an attempt to ridicule the Philippine government.”

The complaint letters demand that both institutions reprimand Tsao and the publishers of HK magazine for the irresponsible publishing of the said article. A public apology to be published in the next issue of HK magazine is also demanded.

“In the final analysis, Tsao’s article is but a glimpse to the reality of discrimination, ridicule and denigration that Filipino domestic workers are subjected to here in Hong Kong. And with that, we challenge the Hong Kong government, of all institutions, to take this matter at hand,” concluded Balladares.

We must be wary of taking a cavalier and arrogant attitude towards those who felt slighted for this is not about IQ or EQ. For many, as in the case of domestic helpers themselves, it is a daily “life and death” issue.

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