Is the statue of the peeing Igorot man offensive? You decide in this online poll.
Some updates: Our newest sibling in the blogosphere, Bugan (Mountain Breeze) has a more detailed description of the statues at the Barrio Fiesta Restaurant. In her comment here, she also stated that the Association of Young Igorot Professionals (AYIP) has filed a complaint about the statue. Someone also told me that Cheryl Daytec-Yangot, the lawyer we earlier blogged about [here] for her and her companions’ courageous stand on the nursing scandal, will also look into this. But maybe Cheryl is a part of AYIP.
Sandati has two posts on this matter (here and here). If you have been reading the comments section, he has a different take on this one, i.e., that the statues are not offensive but are fun. And that they are caricatures and not slapstick and he so graciously explained the difference between the two words here.
I’d like to be clear that I have never said in this blog that only Igorots who are upstanding, cute, beautiful, handsome, intelligent, law-abiding, etc. are the only ones who are to be called Igorots. Heck, Igorots are human beings and we have as many faults, defects, sins, etc. etc. as other human beings or other ethnolinguistic groups.
No one in this blog is also saying that peeing in public is okay. What we are saying is that one can send the message that public urination is not okay by using a different, non-ethnic statue. But they used an Igorot to illustrate the point. This may be acceptable in a world where there are no negative stereotypes about Igorots. But, unfortunately, there are deeply held negative stereotypes about us and this statue reinforces them.
It is misleading to equate this peeing Igorot man with the pictures of old Igorot men (Lakay Kabayo and Lakay Pecdasen) who are smoking their pipes. Why? Smoking may be unhealthy but in general, people have pretty much accepted a smoker’s right to smoke. Also, because of the effect of advertising, a picture of a smoking man is not associated with negativity but with hipness and coolness. I still have to see an ad which presents public urination in a positive light.
More updates: I was about to contact the Barrio Fiesta people last week but decided not to primarily because I still haven’t heard from the officers of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to whom we sent our love letters. I believe that this is their responsibility. If the officials ignore our love letter then we will have to contact Barrio Fiesta. Again, don’t forget to cast your vote in the poll above.