Celebrity couple Derek Ramsay and Ellen Adarna earned mixed reactions from people online after sharing an Instagram story that showed the couple hanging the Philippine flag on their balcony across the street from a neighbor that displayed Chinese symbols on their front door.
Adarna captioned her story with “I like the view #proudpinoy,” followed by multiple laugh emojis. She also wrote “Patriotic” with more laughing emojis, and tagged her husband Derek.
The story was reposted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on their Twitter account, which was met with a flurry of mixed reactions by netizens.
Many accused the couple of Sinophobia, especially after some users revealed that the Chinese symbols on their neighbor’s front door turned out to be Chinese New Year couplets that invited luck into one’s home.
“The sign roughly translates to ‘May good luck arrive at these doors each year. And may all things be gradually fulfilled to your heart’s desires.’ That poor neighbor just wanting to wish everyone a prosperous new year! Maybe Derek didn’t receive tikoy?” A user mocked the star, referring to tikoy or nian gao, a fried rice cake common in the Philippines during Chinese New Year.
“It’s Chinese New Year? This is not a proud pinoy post, this is a #Cringepinoy moment with a strong hint of racism,” another said.
“Do that at the [West Philippine Sea]. Not to the Filipino Chinese,” another wrote, referring to the Philippines’ maritime tensions with China over territory in the West Philippine Sea.
“Surface-level ‘patriotism’ is when you feel the need to put up a Philippine flag over a harmless Chinese sign but are mum on instances when there’s an actual need to stand in solidarity with our fisherfolks who are being bullied by the Chinese Coast Guard,” another said.
Even actor Richard Juan, who is of Chinese-Filipino heritage, spoke up about the issue.
“The sad truth is, despite HUNDREDS OF YEARS of history in the Philippines, it’s the unwelcoming actions like this that makes us Chinoys feel like we STILL don’t belong here,” he said.
That said, there were a handful of comments that were in favor of what the actors did.
“I love you now, Derek and Ellen #AngMamatayNangDahilSayo ,” one wrote — referencing the last line of the Philippine national anthem.
“Let him display the philippine flag. We’re in OUR OWN country, it’s not an issue if you feel that this action from Derek is making you feel unwelcome, perhaps you’re more Chinese than Pilipino? You carry a Philippine passport so idk why u feel that way,” one said in reply to the actor.
Long-standing issues with China may have led to this public sentiment. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) ruled in favor of the Philippines’ sovereignty in 2016, which China has continued to disregard since — with reports of Chinese military ships bullying Filipino fishermen in the disputed waters.
The Chinese embassy yesterday slammed Senator Risa Hontiveros for seeking reparations over the ecological damage that Beijing left at the West Philippine Sea. Hontiveros, a vocal critic of the Duterte… Read more.
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“This is the message that needs to be delivered, not an insensitive greeting from a government official in the midst of Chinese aggression in our waters,” the organization wrote. Read more.
Cultural tensions have only further magnified under the Rodrigo Duterte administration after an influx of Chinese Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) workers arrived in Metro Manila and other cities, driving up real estate rates amid issues of alleged failure to pay taxes.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said there might be some truth to allegations made by Senator Joel Villanueva that only two Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) have paid their taxes in… Read more.
Still, it begs emphasis that Chinese Filipinos are Filipinos, and that we can take issue with another country without being racist or ignorant towards their culture or heritage — especially one that has influenced ours for centuries.
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