-a sour soup. a distinct Filipino comfort food for the soul. as unique as its people. as diverse as its culture. a blend of ingredients prepared to its sour perfection, exciting the palate, soothing the nerves, rousing the senses, bringing back memories of scenic greens, warm sun, blue waters, and the solace of home.
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Desperate Housewives Picks On Philippine Medical Schools

Another Malu-like Controversy in the Offing? NOT AGAIN! Anybody who watched the premiere episode of Desperate Housewives last Sunday would know what I'm talking about. For those who missed it, Check out a clip on Youtube. Susan Meyer (played by Teri Hatcher) went for a check up and uttered the following:

“Okay, before we go any further, can I check those diplomas? Cause I would just like to make sure they are not from some med school in the Philippines.”

What's wrong with that line? Most people are overreacting and are calling it a racial slur. I wouldn't be surprised if Filipino bloggers around the world would start another campaign to boycott the show like the recent Malu controversy asking to blacklist Manila Standard Today! We are such sensitive, passionate and emotional people, what I can tell you? But to be honest, in this instance, I wasn't offended. It wasn't an insult to the Filipino people. It wasn't racist. I was a little bit hurt- just a little bit because it is the truth. While we are producing fine, talented and competent medical practitioners in the field of medicine, nursing and physical therapy among others, we are also producing a bunch of inept, unqualified and inefficient medical people at an alarming rate! Just look at the number of nursing schools without proper credentials sprouting all over the Philippines, some offering a nursing diploma in just months! Heck, we know for a fact that one can even buy a diploma of your choice in Recto!

Let me tell you why I am not offended. First of all, the doctor in question isn't even Filipino. He's Caucasian. Second of all, she said some med school- she didn't say, I would just like to make sure they are not from a med school in the Philippines. See the huge difference? There are some med school in the US too and everywhere else that are being frowned upon. The scriptwriters could have picked any other country to make a punchline but they probably alluded the Philippines in the light of the Philippine Nursing exam leakage and alleged cheating last year that was headlined for all the world to know. With that said, one (like Hatcher's character) is bound to question another's competency and qualification in the practice of medicine. It is part of a patient's bill of rights. In the Philippines, a Filipino patient may not even know that he/she has rights but here in the US and in most countries, the patients are on top of their medical condition. They make it a point to meddle on their affairs from what drug to take, the kind of care they want and most especially who will provide for that care. While offensive, majority of Filipino nurses who may or may not have been in the field for years and are highly competent are being bluntly dismissed by patients because they look young or they appear to be a student nurse or dear Lord help them, because they're colored! Such is life. Reality bites.

When the episode premiered, I talked about it with my Filipino and American friends and asked them what they thought of it. The Filipinos including me, were hurt but only for that moment and recognized that Susan Meyer, Teri Hatcher's character is not someone you'd take seriously. She's clumsy, always says things she doesn't mean, puts her foot in her mouth and gets in murky situations for her remarks. The character of Gabby played by Eva Longoria, makes fun of the Latinas most of the time and she's a Latina herself! After the show, I forgot about the remark until it exploded in the internet! My American friends just shrug off the idea because they know better. They don't believe that medical practioners who graduated from the Philippines are in any way less competent than US trained Doctors. One sloppy remark from a TV character doesn't make a statement true and correct! Poor Teri Hatcher. She takes all the bullet. If I had agreed on the majority, I'd say don't kill the messenger but the sender! (Translation: Blame the writer not the actor!). Still, others reason that she could have said "no" saying the line. It's always easy to say what could have been done in hindsight.

Before fellow Filipinos around the globe start another online revolution, I hope they watch the episode and judge for themselves. It was a one liner that shouldn't be taken out of context and out of proportion. It was a general statement referring to some med school in the Philippines. So hush now. Besides, if you come from the suburbs like Wisteria Lane, you probably can't help asking for your doctor's credentials before continuing treatment. No harm in that I guess...©

1 taster(s) say...:

Jeannie Hizon said...

While the Philippine Nursing exam leakage and alleged cheating last year is known to you, Filipinos over there, it hurts to find out that none of you care for us Fil Ams here, who house you when you come and visit, who take you shopping, who send you money. We decide to live in the U.S. for many reasons but even if we live here, we email you, call you, visit you back home. When we are insulted and when we need you, WHERE ARE YOU? What can you do for us? NOTHING? Unbelievable.