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PHILIPPINES: 'A Nation of Servants' - HK Journalist

Do we deserve this?


The war at home

by Chip Tsao

HK Magazine

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. 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 $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 every one 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.


Statement of Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros:

“This disgusting, derogatory, and vile remark can only come from dim-witted and mediocre writing. His article should not have been published in a lifestyle magazine, it should been thrown immediately into a trash bin.”

“The magazine should apologize straight-away. The article reflects the kind of attitude that promote abuses against Filipina domestic workers.When you make fun of a particular group, you expose them to abuses. Wittingly or unwittingly, you end up supporting acts of intolerance and abuses.”

“As for Chip Tsao, he should find another profession. He should leave the Spratlys issue to the diplomats and writing to real writers because clearly he has neither competence nor talent in foreign affairs and in writing.”

“Filipina domestic workers should hold a one-day strike to tell the likes of Chip Tsao who’s the real master of the HK economy. If all Filipino workers in HK would strike, the HK economy would grind to a halt without us having to invade the territory.”

. “Domestic work is a decent job. It’s not just done by hired Filipina domestic workers, it has also been the function of mothers of all nationality, in HK and China and elsewhere. It should be treated with respect.”
Ming Meows said…
It's just so sad that these mediocre people ended up in magazines.
line of flight said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
line of flight said…
I remember a historical period in China's past when people who had maids were summoned before "people's courts" with the maids presiding as judges to determine whether the rich would just be executed or would be tortured and then executed. Lucky for Chip Tsao that he lived in Hong Kong while these tribunals were enacting "revolutionary justice" on the Mainland.

On the other hand, the rich in our country do these horrible things every day and its usually over issues that are even less petty than the Spratly Islands. I think a little perspective on the fact that privileged and ignorant rich people use their privilege to oppress the workers all over the world would be helpful to remember.
PopMax said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
CHEAP Tsao, that name suits him better. I can't imagine someone who could say something like this. It's really low especially for someone like him.
Anonymous said…
I agree, CHEAP TSAO!!! If only "not so privileged Filipinos" could find a better job. Do you think they'd still want to be the help?
Melissa Is LOVE said…
I cannot believe this. Whoever wrote this thing, this.. CHEAP TSAO? God, he does not deserve to be respected. Scums like him deserve to be exiled somewhere. His article is a direct insult to us Filipinos. He doesn't even have the talent to write.

I pity his own mediocrity. He has no idea about the real thing either. Better yet, I suggest he apply for a tabloid instead.

As for the Filipinas abroad, I salute you.
Geisha said…
am sorry but this is below the hemlines of my undies already... and this comment is subjective and am entitled to it!

this idiotic write up should be trashed at least by the editor of the mag. but turned out, both were idiots!
Herbs D. said…
lol. over-reacting servants.

i dunno. i don't really care what other people say even if its on a big big bigggg magazine like RD.


let them be, they could say all they want to US. but really, are you THAT much affected with mere words..
PopMax said…
mali ata na dito tayo nagcocomment. dun tayo sa makikita niya kung gano sya ka eps.
Diwata said…
bilang isang chinese, ikinahihiya ko ang author ng article na ito.
Anonymous said…
whatever! most drug lords and drug dealers here in our country are Chinese ! I'm not being a racist but hey ! if you want respect then you'd better give some ...
Anonymous said…
Is this Cheap Tsao's blog? Please confirm! We'll teach this gay bastard a lesson!
Anonymous said…
If Pinoys are outraged over Tsao's satirical article (satire, people, satire!) then they should also be OUTRAGED over a Saudi newspaper article that praised Pinoy saudi OFWs or that San Francisco newspaper article praising Fil-Ams for not being independent and not welfare-dependent. All these pieces base their opinions on GENERALIZATIONS based on SOME empirical data. Isn't it TRUE that the disproportionate mass of Filipinos in HK are "servants" (domestic helpers)? Isn't it TRUE that the Philippine government's budget is spread so thin that it can barely fund it's national defenses? Chip Tsao's impressions are based on fact. Facts and fairness are two different things. Generalizations can be unfair but they are based on GENERALIZED facts. If they weren't they wouldn't be used. Their potency lies in their ability to draw from facts that the audience can agree with.

But why do only "bad" generalizations get condemned? If there is outrage, it should be outrage against ALL generalizations, positive and negative.

Much of the outrage over this article is misplaced. Instead of being angry that a journalist based his satirical observation on the fact that there are over 130,000 filipino domestic helpers in HK, maybe the outrage should focus on WHY there's 130,000 filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong to begin with?

We, Pinoys, can keep playing the VICTIM and "I'm Offended" card all we want but the reality remains--a large portion of our population wants to leave the Philippines because of the sad economy. Why not focus the RAGE on the economic arrangement that keeps us a "nation of servants." It is true, a large portion of the Philippines is composed of maids, drivers, tricycle drivers, bus drivers, and guards. Why is this case? It's all about the ECONOMIC PATH we chose. There's many articles written on this, here's one that ENCAPSULATES it:

Why is the Philippines POOR?

Bottomline, before you become outraged--THINK FIRST and focus your rage on the REAL tragedy of the Philippines. Assailing some Hong Kong journalist online is worthless. The problem is deeper than that and its easier to fix than you think.
wel, here we go again...

"everyone's a little bi racist today...ethnic jokes mayebe uncouth but you laugh because they're based on truth..."
-from Avenue Q, a musical

in the first place, there is nothing ignoble about being a servant or being in the profession of servitude; that is a truth we all have to live with in terms of our overseas filipino workers in this particular profession. thus we all take offense at the rather racist generalization thereof... sure, i can get angry about it -and some of you may accuse me of being an elitist with this- but i can't seem to be affected any further than the initial irritation because i have no stake in the racial views people have of the Filipinos. the Filipino I see myself to be has the ability to endure and rise above anything to begin with.

Patriotism is the conviction that your country is superior than all other countries because you were born in it.
Anonymous said…
Mr.Tsao, what do you call a nation that feeds its people with formalin, melamine, lead paint in toys and tainted meat,to name just a few, then export the same to other countries? Are you not ashame of that? Id rather be a humble servant making an honest living than be a citizen of that shameful "nation". You need a hint 'pang yao'?
Anonymous said…
I am a chinese friend of Mr. Tsao here in hongkong, I warned him not to write this column otherwise millions of OFW's will bombarding this website of emails or they might kill his family or put posion to his tea or meal wherever he went in HK or outside of HK

*from HK magazine comments
Yffar (^^,) said…
^ hndi naman siguro gagawin ng mga pinoy na lasunin sya.

di kami nga terorista!

Anonymous said…
HK Magazine already block access sa article ni CHEAP Tsao... Knowing na madami talaga mag cocomment... Yung Editor mukhang di marunong tumingin ng good and bad article...

I'm a proud FILIPINO...

This article is as bad sa CHEAP Tsao breath smell... He shouldn't write an article like this... He say his a patriotic person but is he a MAN? I think I can't even call him a chimp (sorry for the chimps around the world).

You're just a blabbering baboon ( my apology for the BABOON) with a nut as a BRAIN!

By: Getawar
mel beckham said…
Hindi ako affected. British kasi ako.


I pity Mr. Tsao. Being satirical doesn't give him the right to be mean.

Humanda siya pag nakita ko siya, tutusukin ko siya ng chopsticks. LOL

Btw, bakit baduy ang mga writers na tulad niya? Wala bang Vogue sa office nila? Bwahahaha!
Yffar (^^,) said…
baka naman creative outburst din yan gaya ni boyet fajardo


Dear Mr. Tsao,

I am a Filipino. You know, from the Philippines. Yes, that’s right, the nation of servants. Don’t claim you have not heard of us.

Yes, sir, I am a servant. It is a badge I wear with honor and pride. I am a servant. That means I am not a moocher. I earn my keep through my own sweat and toil, not by charity or by pity. The few coins in my pocket are the rewards for my own efforts, not for snipe or spite.

Yes, I am a servant. It also means I am not a looter. I am paid by those I engage with for the services I render, not for bullying them into submission, not for destroying their trust, not for subjecting them to humiliation, not for threatening them any harm.

Yes, I am a servant. And I proudly declare so. Because, all things considered, there is no such thing as a lousy job – only lousy men who do not care or honor to do it.

Have a good day.
Jun said…
Here's a different take on the article from Indolent Indio.
Anonymous said…
kalorkey,.. i had something to say on this in our blog at truevali... kalorka si chip tsao, ang chaka gumawa ng satire.. ayan tuloy...
Anonymous said…
i'm a hk chinses. if u had read the article. it is not difficult for u all to read the ironic meaning between lines of the article. What he actually critized is the chinese govenment, china's politics and the arrogance of some hk employers. I agreed that its ironic way is sensitive and too imprudent and easily easily leads to misunderstanding, and it is wrong to a certain extent and in a certain meaning. Try to think of it if there is article themed 'the US is a nation of deceptive bankers'. Will it stir the same storm.
im wondering if its really a sarcastic article. it didn't sound that way
Aga MPB said…
To you Cheap Chip Tsao @HK Magazine

• Ordinary people, like the people of the Philippines or the entire Asian nations might be small and average modest in the eyes of first world countries....but ordinary people can likewise do extra- ordinary things moreover besides....Aga MPB

My Comments: Your write-up is rife with errors insofar as the main subject is concern. First, the Filipinos are great workers in the world, yes servants and decent noble profession unlike your race tagged as parasites of the world.

Filipinos are overseas contract workers, upbringing wonderful family and return back to Philippines after contract finished. As per many articles in world newspapaers,Your race are parasites, you come illegal to one country and stay there till you die. Face skins are made of rubber and nerves are thicker than planks;
You and your race kneeled to Philippine president asking permission to sell porridge and sticky noodles in Spratly islands years ago as per history and now you want to claim that Spratly island belong to your land. Naming Filipino’s in general... as one of the weak and underestimated citizen in this world betrays a lack of basic knowledge about the country and its wonderful people.

What do you call a nation that make sio-pao filled with grilled cartoon and sell it in front of elementary schools and public market. What do you call a nation that feeds its people with formalin, melamine for infants, lead paint in toys for young children and tainted meat then export the same to other countrie’s? It’s your country right? Are you not ashamed of that?? A humble servant from Philippines making an honest living thru noble profession never was dreaming to be a citizen of that shameful "nation" of yours.

Our popularity and weight of our words deprive from our moral authority and professional power. Because our moral authority rests in part of our professional neutrality and had never backed any horse right or wrong.

Second, the vision you attribute to us as “ Country of servants” that keep the Filipino OFW’s (Overseas Filipino Workers) of lower grade poor and down to their position as domestic helpers in decade is incorrect, not to mention condescending. Our philosophy which stresses moderation and rationality is applicable to poor and rich people, locally or expatriates dwellers alike. Big revenue bringing home by these servants–in however for your info is almost from professional works and decent jobs many countries like HongKong can not avail locally because of poor education as most perhaps of your race were born pagans which means-- no God, no beliefs, not celebrating even their birthdays because and simply emerged in this world in the crack of old bamboo over a violent tsunami sky thousand of years ago.

Cheap Chip Tsao, the carelessness you wrote in HK Magazine tells everything who you are. Some of the statements seemed to be pulled out of a hat or look at the ceiling, or must have been based on a very broad definition of intervention. This sort of factual error would not be so disconcerting were it not for the fact that it gives the impression that we Filipinos uses our moral authority much more frequently than you actually does for the entire people and country.

Thousands of Filipino Citizen in the world respect and rely on the integrity of write-ups as a significant documents at all cases to provide factual information and analysis that reach at split-second away to all corners of the world. Asia, Middle East, Europe and the United States.
Playing fast and loose with the facts does not become your otherwise fine publication.

University Scholar
Bagac, Bataan Philippines
Anonymous said…
There is nothing wrong with being called, “a nation of servants.” Mr. Tsao can even add, “a nation of CORRUPT DEBTORS” considering the loans we got from CHINA only to end up in the pockets of our so-called PUBLIC SERVANTS!

So goes the cliche, THE TRUTH HURTS! But that’s it! Our country’s major export is MANPOWER! Filipino teachers end up as nannies in HK. Our nurses work as caregivers (PT--as in Pahid T--) in Canada and topping it all, Filipino doctors end up as nurses in the US—all for the sake of a better life for their loved ones in the Philippines.

But oh well, I still wish somebody would someday call us “A NATION OF ENTERPRENEURS AND INNOVATORS! Hmmm, just wishful thinking!
Anonymous said…
Chip Tsao.
“Cheap chow” (in Filipino “Murang Kain”)…este “chip tsao”.
A catfish from Mekong made its way to Hongkong and now he’s… “talking mud, spitting mud” everything is “mud” about him.

Spratlys have 13-16 trillion US$ worth of natural gas and (if) in 10 yrs technology can develop and explore its gas reserves…chances are “mr. cheap chow’s” grand- grand children might be our servants in the Philippines…hahaha!
Hmmm…that’s why mr. “chow” is so keen to have them…but no way, Spratlys belong to Filipinos!!!
Cheap Chow, you should stop injecting and brain washing us (Filipinos) with baseless idea that you have a legal dispute over our Spratly islands!!! thick can you get...and hard....brick face!!!
On the other hand, why don’t you use the island right in front of your nose for your nonsense rhetoric? “let’s go and plant our flag over there...”...that may sound better. What’s inside your great wall is yours...what’s outside- you should not covet!!
For whatever reason, you should have not done it at our expense Chow pao – Sio Pao – Lugaw – Chip Tsao!!
Your insensibility exposes the true color of some experiences our sisters’ have had in Hongkong...hard to believe?!
Ancient Chinese style...whew!!!
Imposing-proposing China as the master...shame on you!!! have no moral authority to brand people and their nation as a whole just for your cheap-reckless point of view that all other are less superior to China.
You should reserve the word “master” to your Shaolin propaganda...this has nothing to do with us nature we all flex our muscle every time there is danger and threat...ready to die. This still runs in our veins.
Between you “Cheap Chow” and me “Juan dela Cruz”...nobody would like to work and partner with you...unless otherwise he is your twin chopstick. I have one thing to share with you...Whitehouse intervened during the sale of Unocal (Union Oil California) a very big and comparable oil company. I was wondering. Chevron won even it’s not the highest bidder, and all employees were in jubilation and in sincere gratefulness...think about it.
By the way, (granting what you claimed is true about that maidservant and) if I were her… I will #$%^ you and you will be just a victim …and I will be a hero of my beloved people…YOUR APOLOGY NOT ACCEPTED!!!
If she’s just a personification and if you are accurately grasping your elements, then why didn’t you add something like,...she also or possibly can hold hard enough to struck your head right there at the very moment of lecturing so that you can be cured from all of these immature murmuring.
You better change your name and get a new identity number now...I dare you to show up yourself on any BBC, HK magazine and other media enterprise... let’s see how your wits can convince and pollute their thoughts and ethics.
To all Filipinos abroad & kababayans, we are proud that we can be where we want to be. It’s all because of our skills and talent, hardwork and love to our family.
We are not servants of anybody nor China.

We are all “Servants of our chosen Master”.
It is our dreams, aspirations and belief that inspire us to do good wherever we are and be proud of being a FILIPINO!!
Mabuhay ang PILIPINO!!!!
Anonymous said…
It's sad that english being the filipino's second language, most cannot understand satire. The article was meant to make fun of hk chinese employers not the domestic helpers. Filipinos angry over the article have taken each word literally and of course find them derogatory and insulting. Chip Tsao has always been for the underdog, a supporter of the minorities, including the domestic helpers of different foreign nationalities in Hong Kong. Politicians as well have ridden on this article. Instead of focusing on the numerous problems our country is facing, hunger of the impoverished, unemployment, corruption of government officials to name a few, they decide to prioritize to hype this satirical article. Really sad. Sheer stupidity just made us the laughing stock of other nations once more.
Anonymous said…

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