You can’t badmouth an entire nation based on one person’s slip-up (i.e. Americans don’t get called stupid in lieu of their leader’s glaring mistakes, or do they?). But as it happens, people tend to generalize.
At least 200,000 Filipinos have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #CancelKorea after Filipino-American influencer Bella Poarch drew hateful comments from some South Koreans who called Pinoys “short and uneducated” because she was sporting an offensive Japanese rising sun flag tattoo.
Poarch recently posted a video of her dancing on TikTok where the tattoo was spotted by some South Koreans whose politicians have even compared the red sun to the Nazi swastika. While it’s still widely used in Japan as a symbol of luck and good fortune, the flag is also associated with Japanese imperialism. Critics have said that the flag erases the human rights abuses committed by Japanese soldiers in World War II in countries they had occupied, including South Korea.
As an upshot, South Korean TikTokers have slammed the 19-year-old who served in the U.S. Navy, accusing her of being ignorant of their history. They also resorted to name-calling, with some saying Filipinos are a “[p]oor country [with] non-educated people, short people.”
While Poarch was born in the Philippines, her family immigrated to the United States when she was 13 years old. Her TikTok profile proudly displays the Philippine flag.
Naturally, Pinoys on Twitter didn’t take this lying down, making #CancelKorea the top trending topic this morning.
A hurt but diplomatic @RheaJoyValle said, “We feel betrayed by you guys. Let me remind you that 112 Filipino soldiers died in action during [the] Korean War. The Philippines was the FIRST Asian country to SEND combat troops to your country.”The 112 killed soldiers were among the 7,400 Filipinos who were deployed to the Korean peninsula seven decades ago to defend Seoul from North Korea’s invasion.
We feel betrayed by you guys. Let me remind you that 112 filipino soldiers died in action during korean war. The philippines was the FIRST asian country to SEND combat troops to your country. #cancelkorea pic.twitter.com/vsIrIh8xwi
— Rhea Joy Valle Navarro (@RheaJoyValle) September 9, 2020
One @JuliusOliverP72 posted this meme which read, “When Koreans call you a ‘poor country’ and ‘uneducated’ Filipinos but they come here to learn English.”
“Well do you need a translation? You’re educated right,” he tweeted, referring to South Koreans flocking to the Philippines to learn English as a second language. An estimated 93,000 South Koreans have been living in the country for business, study, or leisure as of last year.
— ulss🍁 (@JuliusOliverP72) September 9, 2020
User @MumCallMeSab tweeted, “Koreans insulted us being uneducated and having a dark skin. FYI we’re in a tropical country, who’s uneducated now?”
— Jay is calling my name (@MumCallMeSab) September 9, 2020
“First of all, we teach you English. Second, we are your largest fanbase in Asia which is a big help to your economy,” @HazelAnngellic tweeted.
It’s no secret that the Korean wave has hit the country hard and many Pinoys go to great lengths and spend good money on K-Pop concerts, merch, and even airfare to visit their idols in South Korea.
First of all, we teach you english.
Second, we are your largest fanbase in asia which — is a big help to your economy
— Mia (@HazelAnngellic) September 9, 2020
Meanwhile, Poarch, who has over 15 million followers on TikTok, has apologized for the severe backlash earlier this week.
“I’m very sorry if my tattoo offends you. I love Korea Please forgive me,” she said.
@bellapoarch##greenscreen Here is a photo of my arm tattoo. I love Korea🥺😭 I would never do anything to hurt anyone.♬ The Banjo Beat, Pt. 1 – Ricky Desktop
In a series of tweets, Poarch said she got the tattoo earlier this year.
“[A]t that time, I didn’t know the history. But when I found out, I immediately had it covered and scheduled for removal. I am ashamed of myself for not doing my research. I sincerely apologize,” she said.
The Fil-Am influencer said she lives in Hawaii and sees “a lot of people using the red rising sun symbol in clothing, cars, and jewelry. Please educate yourselves and learn more about it because it came from a terrible history…Please learn from my mistake.”
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