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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Askals, Kayumanggi and Arnold Clavio

"Do they look like your ordinary Pinoys?"
Let's put everything in its correct perspective. Arnold Clavio, radio broadcaster of DZBB, was discussing about the sexual harassment case filed against some members of the Philippine Askals. Cristy Ramos, who happens to be a good friend, filed the case which stemmed from the treatment she got from these footballers. Some of the Askals reportedly said some sexist remarks which offended Ramos. 

While reporting this, it was pretty much at this stage when Arnold dropped the "bomb". He was quoted as saying: " Hindi naman sila Pilipino e, nagkukunwari lang silang kayumanggi (They’re not really Filipinos, they are just pretending to be kayumanggi."

That terse phrase infuriated many, especially Fil-Ams or mestizos whose fathers or mothers are of foreign blood. They took offense when Clavio mentioned the word "kayumanggi" and used this to describe what the Askals or some of the Askals are not. 

What is this term kayumanggi? Is this about the color of one's skin only? No. It pertains to a class of people who were born not as white as Ilustrados or those who previously colonized this country. Before, it pertains to one's skin but now, it has morphed into something more precious than skin color---one's world perspective and one's culture. 

I am not defending Mr. Clavio here--but I am only situating his remark during the time he mentioned it. Clavio was not issuing a racist remark, far from it. He was stating a fact.

Ask these Askals if they already elected Philippine citizenship and most of them would tell you the truth---some of them are holders of dual passports. 

If they are really sincere nationalists, they will not hesitate to apply for Philippine citizenship. I think the Senate should look into this because Clavio's remark has a deeper meaning than previously thought. 

Sincerely, ask some of these Askals what their real motivation for coming here are and you'll be surprised with their answers. And let us, matter-o-factly address the prevailing views of many Filipinos why some of these Askals, especially those who sexually harrassed Cristy Ramos are here---in droves.

Lack of jobs. I'm not saying they are bums. All I'm saying is they find it extremely difficult to look and maintain jobs from where they are born, so that's why they come here in the Philippines.

Here, if you're mestizo or you look like a foreigner, a modelling job is easy to get. People, like some members of the Askals probably did not audition for their parts and were simply taken in because they are six footers and they have stronger builts than ordinary Pinoys. And seriously, that's about it.

Let me clarify---I am not generalizing. I am not referring to other Filipinos who have foreign ancestry--I am just referring to the Askals.

By the way, Clavio is no etholinguist or a Sociologist. He is a broadcaster. As a broadcaster, what he knows depends on the topic. When it comes to the broader interpretation of what this term means, Clavio is not the specialist. However, when it comes to what the people think things are, Clavio, in my book, is an expert.

For Clavio, being Pilipino and being kayumanggi are inseparable concepts, something like ice cream or puto't dinuguan. For an ordinary Pilipino, not all Filipinos are kayumanggi or not all kayumanggis are Pilipinos.

For example, Anne Curtis. Is Anne Curtis a kayumanggi? Nope, she is mestiza. Is Anne Curtis part of the kayumanggi as a race. Yes, she is because she embraces Pinoy culture. 

Is Angel Locsin, a kayumanggi or Diana Zubiri, a kayumanggi? Yes, they are because they are not only morenos but they belong to the Kayumanggi cultural realm.

Is Phil Younghusband, the alleged boyfriend of Angel Locsin, a Kayumanggi? Nope, he is a half-breed, therefore, if you ask around, a mestizo matter-of-factly. Is Phil a member of the Kayumanggi nation? Yes, he is because he elects to become one.

Are these people all Filipinos? Not exactly. Citizenship is a totally different case altogether. You can be natural born Filipino but if you elect to be, say Canadian, you can throw your Filipino citizenship away and become Canadian. 

I don't see why Fil-Ams or other Filipinos born of fathers not Filipinos or mothers not Kayumanggi would feel slighted by Clavio's remarks. For one, he is not even referring to all half-breeds playing in the national teams--he is just referring to the Askals.

And I do think that these Askals are just using Clavio to divert the attention of the people. The fact is, they offended a lady official of the gaming world. Two, their offense is extraordinary because they not only dished out sexist remarks--they also showed their real color--they look lowly of the Filipina.

If these Askals really love their motherland and they really respect Filipinas, they will not act and say these things. Hence, what Clavio told me was true--they are just faking it.