Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Malu Fernandez tragedy: Hurray to Pinoy Bloggers!

Ever since Malu Fernandez wrote the infamous article in People Asia Magazine deriding OFWs, Boracay, and the Philippines itself as Third World, Filipino bloggers and internet users have banded as one in demanding that Manila Standard / People Asia Magazine either compel Malu to apologize to the public or to fire her for her irresponsible, unprofessional, and even unskilled writing abilities that produced nothing except junk, anger, and prejudice against fellow Filipinos.

To date, neither Manila Standard hasn't done any of these nor Malu Fernandez apologized. Instead, she defended herself in her article entitled “Am I a diva? Or do you lack common sense?”

They only enhanced traditional media's "one-way" downward approach of bringing its news and issues. But they only continue to lend deaf ears to thousands of readers who are very irate by now because of their insensitivity to OFWs, including families and friends. They may have a list of email addresses or a "feedback section" by which readers could air their grievances, but we still see the trapo mentality of "those who have the money have the only authority to give the message to the readers".

This inadequacy of traditional media just solidified the ground for an alternative, more promising and relevant mass-based form of public expression - blogging. Search anything about "Malu Fernandez" on google or yahoogroups and you'd see thousands of bloggers condemning her prejudicial outlook against hard-working Filipinos who by far are the ones saving our country from financial disaster. This may also signal the end of traditional media and the blossoming of real media which represents more concretely the sentiments of the masses who have very limited access in a highly-valued page of a newspaper.

The blog can be an arena for the sharing of ideas of many instead of just a small number of people who think that they are the only ones who have the authority to write. The concept of chosen editorial writers are now a thing of the past simply because the convention of representing a common sentiment simply doesn't hold water.

Pinoy blogging also brings out the developing identity of the Pinoy which Ms. Fernandez totally overlooked because of her narrow-minded view of the Filipino psyche. The real Filipino is not just a passive receptor or a victim of those who have power or riches. Now, the majority of the Filipinos start to speak out their displeasure of things and people. They openly condemn any form of discrimination against fellow Filipinos, and don't give a damn whether they are rich or poor, have or have-not. For them, it's time to break the barriers set up by people like Malu Fernandez. Now, we are certain that there is a Filipino identity that treats everyone else EQUAL with no conditions whatsoever.

Though Ms. Fernandez explained that her article is intended only for an "elite" few, don't believe every word she says. The moment an article goes into the press, it begins to be a public property and is subject to feedback, whether criticism or praise. That's why it's called mass media. She is not writing her personal diary and locked up in her dark room. Otherwise, such writer might not have any "common sense", or a sense of the "common."

Finally, media institutions should humble themselves and open their eyes to the reality that they don't have the monopoly of information, but only a speck or a fragment of it. They should stop using mass media for profit by putting on some cheap stunt. Otherwise, let them warn the readers by putting up a warning sign, "The articles presented here do not represent the sentiment of the company; rather, they are figments of writer's own imagination." The ordinary person's article on a blog is as relevant as what is written in major dailies or magazines.

The readers should also be aware of this new reality before they buy a newspaper. If the newspaper doesn't resonate with their sentiments, let them boycott them altogether. Unless Malu Fernandez and / or Manila Standard make just retribution to the Filipinos, in particular to the OFWs and their families, they will only fall on the verge of oblivion and irrelevance.

1 comment:

  1. She finally resigned...I watched it on TV Patrol