Pinoys in UK cry foul over racist tabloid column
LIAN BUAN, GMA News
08/25/2011 | 04:59 PM
Filipinos in the United Kingdom (UK) cried foul as a British tabloid columnist talked of "buying Filipino dwarves" in criticizing Hollywood celebrity couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt when they chartered an entire train express there for their kids and entourage.
On August 16, the couple commissioned 14 carriages of Virgin train for them, their kids and entourage for a 5-hour ride from London to Glasgow.
On Aug. 18, "The Sun" guest columnist Rod Liddle wrote: "They should have bought a team of 25 Filipino dwarves to carry them on a giant golden litter all the way up the M6, which they'd had shut for the day."
Filipinos, who felt insulted for what was perceived to be an insinuation that Filipinos are short in height and are slaves, expressed their displeasure over Liddle's column on social networking sites.
On the social networking site Facebook, Gilda Wacan Garcia, a caregiver in London, wrote: "Rod Liddle of The Sun, you are such a dreadful man. Who the hell are you?"
She went on to defend the Filipinos, saying despite being averagely short, they are "pretty."
Joemari Rosales, an employee at the University College London Hospitals, on the other hand, said he was not amused by the "racist" column, even more by Liddle's choice of words.
"To hire a Filipino, I can accept that. But to buy? No way," Rosales said.
According to the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the United Kingdom remains a top market for Filipino caregivers.
One of Rosales' Facebook friends, reacting to Liddle's column, said: "Filipinos are the world's modern slaves. Truth always hurts."
"The Sun" was the same newspaper that made a meme out of Junrey Balawing, the 18-year-old, 22-inch tall Filipino, whom Guiness declared the world's smallest man.
"The Sun" printed a cut-out of Balawing in its March 10 release this year.
The next day, it featured photos of their readers posing with their Junrey paper doll, such as photos of Junrey beside a dog, in front of a football goal, and in bed with a girl.
Lee Price of "The Sun" wrote: "Junrey Balawing is about to be crowned the world's smallest man? But at the rate he's going, he'll soon be the world's most popular man, too."
A comment by "scattyanny" on the article said, "I love him (Balawing).
However, another commenter, "Drangle," said "This is actually really offensive."
In 2010, UK's Press Complaint Commission (PCC) upheld a complaint against a magazine that published Liddle's blog which was accused as being baseless and racist.
Liddle had written that young African-Carribean men were to blame for the "overwhelming majority" of violent crimes in London.
African groups decried Liddle's claim and the PCC responded by censuring Liddle and the magazine for failing to substantiate the piece. - VVP, GMA News