I promised in the previous post to do some assessment on how our collective work resulted in the removal of that peeing statue at the Barrio Fiesta Restaurant. Well, here it is. Feel free to add your points in the comments section. I’m sure I missed out some important things 🙂
1. This is a victory. It is a small victory in the grand scheme of things but it is a victory nonetheless. It is also an easy victory because we are up against a business entity. Businesses, I think, are the most responsive to community feedback because bad publicity can drive away customers. Keeping that peeing statue for whatever purpose is just not worth the trouble for them.
Now, although we will classify this as a small and an easy victory, the more important thing is that it is a victory that we can build upon. It is a step forward as we go about challenging, and hopefully changing, the negative stereotypes that other people have of us. We get to win big challenges by winning smaller ones. So if we are going to face a more daunting challenge [Hello Asian Treasures here we come, Splasher is leading the way], we have this positive experience from which we can draw upon. Kumbaga, meron na tayong track record.
2. This victory is a collective work. Although this blog takes credit for igniting the fire on this one, the fire could have easily died if others did not help. When I wondered about the identity of the restaurant, Wil and Nats immediately identified it and Kayni volunteered to go take it out. Then Bugan sent a copy of the letter we sent to NCIP officials to Bibaknets where the fire apparently got stronger. Then the Baguio folks (AYIP, Philian, Cheryl/Chyz, sorry I don’t know everyone) did the more important work of bringing up the matter with the restaurant management as well as alerting a member of the media of what’s happening. So all our efforts gelled to bring about the result we wanted.
3. We won because we are on the right side. We can go on ranting in the internet, we can send as many letters to officials, we can protest and agitate and do everything to catch public attention but if we are wrong then we will only be making laughing stocks of ourselves. But in this case, I believe that we are on the right side. As I’ve stated earlier, that statue reinforces the negative stereotypes that our fellow Filipinos have of us. This is especially true in this day and age when, as happened in this case, images of that statue are being published in the web. Barrio Fiesta may not have intentionally meant that to happen but the mere fact that it is happening is a good enough reason to take it down.
I just do not buy the argument that it is wrong to agitate for the removal of that statue because it is intended to be fun and humorous. Too often, humor is used as an excuse to slur or demean minorities. Recently, there’s this comedian who ranted against African-Americans while he was doing his comic act on stage. Maybe he intended it to be funny but people were offended and they didn’t just say, “Oh he is a comic and this is fun.” People didn’t give him a pass but, instead, demanded that he apologize. I’m glad that we also didn’t let this pass. Besides, as Ferri stated, it could have been fun if they regularly changed the clothes of that peeing statue — nakabarong siya ngayon, then next week nakamalong, then nakapatadyong, then nakabahag, etc. etc.
4. Duh, the NCIP needs to step up. Apart from the fact that I know that our friends up there in Baguio are already working on this, one of the reasons why I didn’t contact the Barrio Fiesta office here in Manila is that I wanted to see how fast the NCIP would act on this issue. Eh, we still haven’t received a response to the love letters we sent them. What’s up with that sirs? If you are going to publish your emails in your website, then the courteous thing to do is to respond to emails sent your way. We are, after all, your allies. But since things kind of happened fast, lets give our NCIP friends a pass on this one.
The good news though is that, according to Cheryl, Acting Mayor Reinaldo Bautista of Baguio City contacted the Barrio Fiesta management expressing his concern about that statue. Hats off to you sir!
5. Thank you Inquirer but I still have to quibble (I’m bad, no?). My once favorite newspaper did a good job of increasing public awareness on this issue and we should thank them for that. Nonetheless, what’s up with focusing the story on those who are living in the U.S. Ang dating eh, it is as if nothing ever happens here in the Philippines if it does not happen first in the U.S. Yaaaiks narere-inforce tuloy ang colonial mentality ng Pilipino. Don’t get me wrong, our brothers and sisters in the U.S. have been very effective in establishing an Igorot/iCordillera presence in the internet. But Bibaknets, this blog, and other blogs are more of an online presence rather than U.S. based.
I guess these are our last words on this matter 🙂