October 3rd, 2007

Conan O’Brien Hates the Philippines Too!

by Andrew dela Serna

Conan O’Brien had a segment on his show called “Conan Hates My Homeland” where he goes through names of countries alphabetically and insults them one by one. I admit, Conan O’Brien, no matter how crass and senseless he is, is my favorite late night talk show host. Anyway, you might be curious what he had to say about the Philippines.

He said: “Philippines – Mi casa es su landfill.”

I wonder why no one made an issue out of it. What makes it different from the Desperate Housewives episode? Perhaps I was the only one watching?

Let’s stop bitching about what Teri Hatcher said and look at ourselves. In one way or another, we’re all racists. We all have our own prejudices. We just don’t say them out loud. So stop all that talk about boycotting the show just because the writer was desperately trying to be witty. We got more important things to do than go up in arms over something as silly as this. Sure it was kind of annoying. But come on, we all know that Filipino doctors are among the best in the world! And honestly, I’ve just about had enough with the controversies. We’re already acting like our dear Senators who love to investigate scandals “in aid of legislation”. In the same way that we’d like them to tackle the more important issues plaguing our country, how about we stop whining and get back to blogging?

Posted in Opinion


  1. 29 Comments

  2. Ria Jose said...

    I like it comparison between bloggers and senators. It’s accurate. I don’t think it’s healthy that we raise alarm over the smallest, inconsequential comment that offends us. Let’s pick our battles. Picking too many fights will only make us tired. People who read us or listen to us might also get tired.

    Oct 3, 2007

  3. fruityoaty said...

    DH is such a fluff show… I don’t watch it now. I did see Season 1, though.

    Eh, I’d probably get flak over this, but eh… it’s a silly issue not worth getting riled up.

    Oct 3, 2007

  4. MiGs said...

    Tery issue – I find it half insulting, and half funny.

    now i find it weird. who tels pinoys who to “mob” and who not to..

    back to blogging…

    =>

    Oct 3, 2007

  5. DJ said...

    The statement against the medical schools in the Philippines on an internationally watched tv show is a huge deal. I don’t know why you can’t see that.

    It was not some random racial slur, like calling some one the N word or referring to a homosexual with the f word. The statement implied that Filipino medical professionals are inferior. There’s no way that Teri Hatcher remark could be construed otherwise.

    The insensitive and unfounded insinuation that Filipino health care professionals are sub-par or not up to standard is an insult to all the medical professionals who are working all over the world. Television is a powerful tool in influencing the minds of the viewers. Producers, writers, directors and actors should be more sensitive to the kind of impact a comment may have on someone’s profession. You can’t just go on national TV and mock the entire community of health care workers from the Philippines and suggest that they are incompetent at what they do.

    They claim it was a joke. Well, why did they have to pick a foreign country (and they had to pick the one country which provides the most number of Nurses) to prove Susan’s point? Why didn’t they pick some obscure town college in one of their states. Why not say third rate college in Oregon or New Mexico or whatever.

    With all the firings going on in Hollywood for discriminatory remarks, one would think that ABC would be sensible enough not to get into nation bashing. I guess they really just under estimate us or they’re simply ignorant. Either way, it is still a slur and they should be ashamed of themselves. A show, no matter how popular, does not get a free pass on trying to be funny at the expense of an entire community.

    Oct 4, 2007

  6. micketymoc said...

    re: “Conan O’Brien Hates my Homeland”: Well, it’s not that nobody tried. I tried, but nobody paid much attention. :)

    Oct 4, 2007

  7. benj said...

    I agree with Migs, 100%. The people who claim to be above and beyond the issue to the extent of insulting people who were offended ARE MORE IRRITATING.

    When I heard about the Conan quip, it felt like I’ve heard it before. Was this from a long time ago or is it just de ja vu? hehe.

    Oct 4, 2007

  8. Andrew said...

    @riajose: Tell me about it. It’s getting old.

    @fruityoaty: Exactly. It’s a fluff show. All this brouhaha ain’t worth it.

    @Migs: No one. Like what riajose said, pick your battles. I can’t do anything if some of us want to give Teri Hatcher a hard time.

    @DJ: Fine, let’s dig up every single insult thrown at Filipinos on primetime television and start a signature campaign against those who are responsible! IMO, I find it much more insulting that our healthcare system is falling apart because all our best doctors and nurses choose to be on Wysteria Lane than here!

    @Micketymoc: Lol. :D

    @Benj: Haha. De ja vu. It’s almost over man. :)

    Oct 4, 2007

  9. Allen O said...

    Andrew,

    Thank you, finally a Davao blogger with good sense. Being a Pinoy living in the US, a remark on a stupid TV show is the least of my problems. Parents are doctors who trained in the US in the 1950s and 60s. Today’s crap don’t even compare to that time.

    Then again being a social worker, I’ve also come across great pinoy MDs and really crooked ones who commit insurance and Medi-Caid fraud. Quite a few pinoys take advantage of their fellow pinoys. Now lets complain about that.

    Oct 5, 2007

  10. magnumbash said...

    What does “Mi casa es su landfill.” mean?

    Oct 5, 2007

  11. nailbiter said...

    It was a reference to the news that the Philippine government inked a deal with Japan to ship its toxic waste to the Philippines. Here’s a related discussion on the subject: http://www.pinoymoneytalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=4729.0

    Know how the “Conan Hates My Homeland” segment started? It was a reaction to angry letters the show received for a joke about fake Euros from the Ukraine. They didn’t know they were being broadcast in the Ukraine. Conan thought he’d insult every nation in the world, to see where he’d get letters from. That way, he’d know where they aired. Ingenious. :D

    Oct 5, 2007

  12. micketymoc said...

    “Mi casa es su casa.” Spanish for “My house is your house.” It’s something you say to visitors, parang, “feel at home.”

    “Mi casa es su landfill.” My house is your landfill. Get it?

    Mail your angry letters to:

    Conan O’Brien Hates My Homeland
    NBC
    30 Rockefeller Plaza
    New York, NY 10112

    :)

    Oct 6, 2007

  13. Rick said...

    I wouldn’t be bother by it. He is desperately trying to raise controversy for his show.

    Oct 6, 2007

  14. ian said...

    i agree with what you said about conan’s words. But the reason why we didn’t take that into account was because he went down a list of countries making fun of all of them. It wasn’t just the philippines. what teri hatcher said on DH was hurtful because many people go to philippine med schools to get a chance to come to america to practice their profession. and most are good at it.

    Oct 6, 2007

  15. Ben Brillantes said...

    I found an interesting perspective on the subject from another Filipino blog here:

    http://asbb-foreignexchange.blogspot.com/2007/10/i-was-going-to-conclude-ten-letters.html

    Some food for thought to digest, certainly.

    Oct 6, 2007

  16. Mike said...

    We get jokes like these all the time. Hell, we make jokes like these MOST of the time hehe. Who says we don’t make fun of the African-Americans and Asians? I just hope this issue doesn’t get blown out of proportion.

    Oct 9, 2007

  17. macky said...

    cool. i’ve been wondering when it was going to be pinas’ turn in that segment. it’s conan, people. you’re supposed to laugh about it. can’t wait for the next sensitive, stiff pinoy…for me to poop on!

    i’m with you, drew. couldn’t care less about the DH comment. yawn. what’s next? the Hills? Ohmigawd!

    Oct 10, 2007

  18. My Name is Daaviiid... said...

    The statement against the medical schools in the Philippines on an internationally watched tv show is a huge deal. I don’t know why you can’t see that.

    It’s a huge deal because it appears many Filipinos are making a big deal out of something that’s essentially not true anyway. I don’t know you can’t see that either.

    It’s a fact of life that people make jokes of other people, things and what not. I hope you don’t laugh at jokes about other people, things and what not.

    If we don’t, though, we might grow old faster.

    Oct 11, 2007

  19. Ben Brillantes said...

    Yes, I think I have to agree with what this guy says on his blog:

    http://asbb-foreignexchange.blogspot.com/2007/10/final-word-in-desperation.html
    ———————————————

    I will end my commentary on the whole issue by simply asking why we
    think it is perfectly alright for us to do this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QusLouQhEfo

    and this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDQJGIFzV1Q&mode=related&search=

    and even for one of our most respected politicans to say this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBEuhLlNYTY

    but when anyone dares to poke fun at a segment of our population like
    this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYB4H0Po0A0

    everyone immediately cries racism and discrimination?

    Oct 12, 2007

  20. janus said...

    yay! I love the last words “stop whining and get back to blogging”. I agree with you that we all are racists, but I think what hurts a lot about the desperate housewives controversy was the “false false” thinking of some Americans. Our doctors are the best doctors in the world that is why it hurts a lot when Teri said those words, especially for the people in the medical field like I do. Desperate Housewives are being loved and adored not only by the Filipinos but also the rest of the world. They should have never said that, even if they’re trying to making it as a joke for we will be the laughingstock not only in America but also to the rest of the world.

    Oct 30, 2007

  21. zylla3 said...

    DH…count me out with the ‘loved and adored’ thingy and I wouldn’t have known it if not for the flashing headlines on my computer screen. Not really important to me…but I can understand, it would irritate me too if I’m in the medical profession. Sort of being too close to home!

    Nov 3, 2007

  22. charlie said...

    why do we care so much of what others think of us filipinos?

    Nov 7, 2007

  23. ReN said...

    I miss the late night shows. I hate the cable at home because it doesn’t have them. I was wondering what Conan commented on our country & his idea about having to receive hate letters (counted as one of the ratings) from countries he insulted worked. LOL!!

    I don’t take it seriously ofcourse. The universe is consist of the Yin & Yang. It depends on us if we concentrate on the negative or the positive.

    Feb 20, 2008

  24. Reuben said...

    we pinoys think that we’re the only one being made fun of. if you watch EVERY american show out there they make fun of ALL races. the only difference is WE are the only ones who are pikon.

    Jan 24, 2010

  25. Robert said...

    Conan makes fun of everyone, including himself. Including his country. His insults insinuate some truth to it. But I believe he did not do that to intentionally hurt us. His show is made for this thing. Basically, he just stated some sort of fact in a rhetorical way. I enjoyed it. I love his show from his monologues to his interviews. He’s quick-witted and animated. His jokes/insults are the ones that you rarely think about but when he lets it pop out of your head, you burst. I adore this guy.

    About the insult, sure it’s out in the open. We just have to improve and not sulk about this. People should improve when they’re being criticized. People who sulk on such things make the world a somber place.

    Mar 1, 2010

  26. JR Galia said...

    Watch the UNIT, Philippines was featured there/

    Apr 1, 2010

  27. peter K. said...

    I have lived in the philippines for almost 2 years & they are the most ignorant ( in knowledge & manners ) race of people ive ever come across. They are totally 100% philippines as that is all they are taught at school. My education level in the uk was very basic but im gob smacked by the total lack of knowledge of this race of people & they think they are so clever. They only know one boxer & most dont know hes been knocked out twice & god forbid what will happen to this country when he retires. Ask any filipina about the olympics & they wont have a clue. Most couldnt show you on a world globe where the philippines is & then ask them capitals of different countries. Ask them what the I.S.S. ( international space station ) is, & they have no idea. They are 100 years behind europe & america & each year they fall further behind. I could go on & on about this but it just depresses me & im hoping later in the year to check out thailand cambodia & vietnam to see if they are cheaper ( visas wise ) to live in that the philippines & to hopefully move to one of them.

    Apr 5, 2010

  28. conan said...

    because mate it was just a joke. You take things too seriously.

    Apr 25, 2011

  29. chris said...

    I love Conan.
    I’m Filipino.
    What happened to your humor? C’mon, he insulted everybody! This is one of those things that if you react bad, you proclaim yourself ignorant. And yeah, stupid. :D

    Feb 11, 2012

  30. Ryan said...

    I think it’s over sensitive to not be able to laugh at your self. And Alleba considering what we are and have done to the Philippine eco system and our infrastructures can we really blame him? There is a modern literary technique called “caricatures” Mr. Obrien is only playing some harmless fun he probably makes joke about how Fat Americans or how New Zealand is boring, i am sure bought the American public and the Kiwis will have enough of a sense of humour to find that funny.

    “Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves” – Emily Bronte
    Let’s no get caught up in pride and forget about peace.

    Jan 25, 2013

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