Sigh Sigh

By in

Before you read whatever irrelevant rant I’m going to post here, I suggest you read Smoke’s transcript of the Tracy Borres post, Smoke’s reply, and her take on Tracy’s reply.  More required reading comes from ReynaElena.  Which means you don’t have to read this.  Also, read Reezen TOT’s side of the story.  – Marocharim

*     *     *

Before we “lynch” Tracy Borres, let’s take a step back and see what her entry is about.  I read it to be a personal opinion of a personal experience.  Ethnocentric?  Yes.  Offensive?  Definitely.

Should she have blogged about it?  Absolutely not.

I’m not the most merciful guy on the face of the earth, but Tracy has already been critiqued on the basis of her unpopular opinion.  If you asked me, big deal: we all hold unpopular opinions.  When you’re reading this blog, you’re reading many unpopular opinions from an anarchist who believes euthanasia and abortion should be legalized.  The only difference is that I’m not telling you to pull the plug on a sick relative, and I’m not talking to you about the uses of certain herbs and coat hangers, so to speak.

The problem here is how Tracy Borres wrote about something she knew was offensive, wrote it in a way she knew was tactless, and expected too little of a consequence for it.  And the least she could manage was… “Sigh sigh.”

The question this time is whether or not Tracy deserves the flak coming to her.  Well no, and it’s not because I have a soft spot for colegiala types with ditzy humor who have some measure of “hitsura…” well, yeah, I do.  Anyway…

In blogging spheres, there’s such a thing as “the unbloggable.”  There are things you simply can’t blog about.  For example, I can’t blog about sensitive concerns and information about my job.  I can’t blog about issues that take place within my family.  Granted that I’ll offend people from time to time, but responsible blogging – heck, responsible writing, at that – is based on the precept that you’re not going to intentionally offend, harm, or malign anybody just because you’re making a personal opinion public.

I hate repeating myself, but again:

Honeste vivere, alterum no laedare, suum cique triburere (Live honestly, do no harm, give one’s due).

You can write about all the offensive things you like, but you think twice, thrice, four times, and even a full day before you give yourself the license to write about it.  While you’re “more free” with blogging than by writing on some locked journal, what you write on the Internet can – and will – be used against you, whether it’s a real court, or the court of public opinion.  People’s lives and reputations get built – and yes, ruined – by the Internet.  The moment you commit something to the relative permanence of a blog, you’re pretty much accountable for it.

For me, it’s not about the ka-artehan or ka-conyohan of Tracy Borres, but the kakapalan ng mukha niya to post her offensive, objectionable views without a semblance of a rational, humane, passabe defense of her argument.  Somewhere in her objectionable opinion, there were many, many good defenses made in her behalf.  Yet had Tracy kept her opinions to herself, had Tracy’s friends had the prudence to not circulate the e-mail or Facebook message or what, then we wouldn’t have these inane, asinine, feces-on-the-hair-of-a-stray-cat “blog controversies” that don’t do anything to uplift the credibility of blogging.

Furthermore, it’s not just about Tracy Borres, but every single blogger out there who thinks that he or she can get away with a review that looks down upon the generosity of a host, or maligns the good name and reputation of another person.  We all feel that our blogs are our own personal places, when in fact a lot about a blog is public.  Rather than exercise prudence and respect, many of us overstep the bounds of what is honorable, what is respectable, and what is just.  The continued neglect for these important issues – these simple precepts – is what makes irrelevant blog controversies that run down the credibility of blogging.

Nobody, not the least of which a guy who believes that chocolate cake is an abomination that should be flushed down the toilet, is begrudging anyone to express something objectionable.  Yet even the most objectionable opinions like Nazism, the Holocaust, and Maafa last because they were well-thought-out, before being released into the realm of public discourse.  In blogs, it’s simply not the case; we wait for things to “boil over,” and wait until all of this is forgotten.

Sigh sigh.  XOXO.

20 comments on “Sigh Sigh”

  1. Reply

    really nice writing! thank you for the link!

  2. Reply

    “Sigh sigh” could become a meme.

  3. Reply

    loving this!! thanks sooo much =)

  4. Reply

    You really don’t think she’s not racist and this kind of attitude is limited to her and a few others?

  5. Reply

    I never thought I’d see the day that Reyna Elena and Mike Abundo would comment on my blog on the same page spaced a couple of hours apart, but that’s just me:


    She’s not being racist, she’s ethnocentric.

    Yet don’t we all have similar attitudes towards other people who do not share our “race” or ethnicity? People ridicule Igorots and Badjaos and Sikhs and such and they don’t get “lynched” for it like Tracy. And it’s more common than you think. The thing was, Tracy blogged about it. What Tracy and her friends *think* of Aetas is not the question here: they could be bigots for all I care. It is when you act on this bigotry – which Tracy herself saw as objectionable – when people start to have problems with you.

    Having to call her a “racist” is entirely different from calling her “irresponsible.”

  6. Reply


    i don’t think she’s a racist. let’s face it, life of the conio’s and the wannafeel ritzie in manila shelters their kid that they create their own wicked world detached with the reality. now granted that’s what happened with the parenting totally gone bad. it’s also true that she was just blatantly irresponsible. what can we expect from a lazy kid who asks her yaya to disinfect her cellphone? i wonder who changes her bloody reglada panty? her yaya? hahaha

    howevah, that does not justify the kids total ignorance, that’s her to work on, after all, me bolbol na ang puta and now given the fk that she went to Ateneo, the more the whole thing become obnoxiously disgusting

    like in the malu fernandez case, she too now cowers under the cover of humor. ugh!

  7. Reply

    “I never thought I’d see the day that Reyna Elena and Mike Abundo would comment on my blog on the same page spaced a couple of hours apart, but that’s just me:”

    EEEEKKK! what does this mean? hahaha! bawal ba to visit here?

  8. Reply

    @reyna: di naman, it was just amusing. hahaha

  9. Reply

    hehehe! cool! this is actually the first time i also ran into mike abundo’s blog because of reezen! i added you all on my bloglines so i could keep up! many thanks! ciao!

  10. Reply

    Let’s no compare her with hitler or American slavers, but it is racism to feel icky about “kadiri aeta children.”

    Agree with reynaelena. It’s an entire social stratum doing this, specifically the upper middle class. SEGREGATING themselves from the masa is an important element of their sub-culture.

  11. Reply

    BrianB: hmmm, “race” is a dated anthropological concept. There’s no such thing as a “race.” To say “race” means that one group of people, given their genetics, is superior to another group.

    Questions, though: you think that Tracy made the same honest, disagreeable, ethnocentric, bigoted statements on the reflection paper she submitted to her professor? Or what was the intention of the “immersion trip,” do we need this to give kids a sight of “poverty in action” just because the Aetas are “different?”

  12. Reply

    How can race be outdated. Who won the US presidential election? A black dude and everyone in the world took the hint.

  13. Reply

    Maybe we could ponder upon how much a “racial” issue this is instead of an issue of responsibility and accountable blogging, then, which is where I’m targeting Tracy. Her rant is inexcusable because it went public. Her outrageous comments would have found a good place in a locked Hello Kitty diary, not the Internet.

    So we’re saying that Obama won because he’s black? So to this very moment that Dr. King said that people won’t be judged by the color of their skin but by the strength of their character, we’re still looking at things in terms of “race?” Wow.

    I’m sorry… doesn’t that make us all, well, racist? So do we have the moral high ground to attack Tracy’s “racism” on the basis of many of us NOT being “racist?”

    Entry begs a rejoinder.

    • Integra
    • December 11, 2008

    When I first read her Facebook entries, I was dismayed but when I read her response to what has now come to be known as short of a scandal, I was all the more mortified.

    Sana, someone writes a letter of protest or letter of protest to the Ateneo on/in behalf of the Aeta community where TIB was based. Parang now, there is an injustice done on them. Actually, I have just read TIB’s side and she is just confining this as a private joke among friends. Ateneo naman can’t just simply ignore this and continue sending students there without actual preparations. If the school brushes this aside, I will be very disappointed.

    Going to an immersion is not like going to a carnival where you pay as you enter, etc. It is also the school’s responsibility to also protect the communities where the students will be placed in the same manner that they are taking measures in assisting the students in their immersions. The question is, what is the school doing about this sad state of affairs? We have heard TIB’s really disappointing response to all this hoopla. Among other things, we also need to get a resolve from her that she is going to issue an apology to the community where she was supposed to be immersed in for the ridicule and whatever hurt this may have caused them, etc. Heck, if I can remember right she was not supposed to learn or just be immersed. After an immersion or at least after graduation, some students took active roles in molding a more humane society from what is current, i.e., from what they have experienced. What will she be doing after this? Right, it’s none of my business whatever she does with her life but she still needs to be accountable for her actions that caused this injustice done on the Aetas.

    Sure, the immersion is not for everybody. I guess, she just blew it or did she? Maybe for all that is worth, the extension of this immersion, the facebook episode and whatever is happening now may be the reason for real changes in the immersion program to materialize. Maybe the dialogues and the diverse sides now in the blogosphere may exact some real acts of charity to the Aeta communities not just from TIB but from us as well. A call to action?

  14. Pingback: Links You Can Use

    • Im not perfect either
    • December 12, 2008

    John 8:7
    “… (Jesus) said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'”

    Ang mga pinoy ba talagang mapaglinis? Mga perpektong tao? Batuhan ng batuhan ng mga masasakit na mga salita laban sa isang taong nagkamali. Oo, accountable siya sa mga pinagsasabi niya tungkol sa mga kababayan nating mga Aeta, subalit hindi ito lisensya para batuhin natin siya hanggang sa mamatay siya. Hindi man literal na pagkamatay, ito ay pagkamatay sa pagkatao.

    Puro tayo nagtuturo. Nakita ba natin ang ating mga sarili sa salamin? Ginagawa din natin yan ngunit sa mga ibang level o kabigatan. Porket ba mas mabigat ang nagawang kamalian ng babaeng ito ay may karapatan na tayong husgahan ang kapwa natin tao?

    Kahit pumatay pa siya ng tao at ikaw ay nagnakaw lamang ng isang sentimo, pareho laman ito sa harapan ng Lumikha. Hindi tinitimbang ang kasalanan. Ang kasalanan niya at kasalanan natin at pareho lamang sa mata ng Diyos. Wala kahit sino man sa atin ang may karapatan na duruduruin na lang at kaladkarin ang pagkatao nitong babae na ito.

    Hindi ko sinasabi na tama ang kanyang mga ginawa. Matapos kong mabasa ang kanyang mensaheng pribado, lumalabas na ito ay isa lamang matapat na pagrerecord ng kanyang eksperyensya, kilala natin ito sa tawag na diary bago pa lumaganap ang internet sa ating bansa.

    Kung babasahin maigi, makikita natin na siya ay nag-da-diary. Mayroon siyang mga reflection at mga realization. Kinainggitan pa nga ng babaeng ito ang simpleng buhay ng mga Aeta. Hindi rin natin mai-de-deny na siya ay tapat lamang sa kanyang sarili. Iyan siya. Iyan ang kinalakihan niya. Maarte siya, sensitibo siya, pinandidirihan niya ang maraming bagay. Isinulat niya ang lahat ng ito dahil ito ang totoo.

    Isa na bang kasalanan ngayon ang tinatawag nating honest to self? O sa Pilipino ay, nagpapakatotoo sa sarili? Sabihin nga ninyo na kasalanan ito, at pagnasabi niyo na tsaka ninyo husgahan itong babaeng ito.

    Wala itong pinagkaiba sa nagkita kayo ng mga kaibigan mo at ikinuwento mo sa kanila ang karanasan mo with matching eklaboo. Wala rin itong pinagkaiba sa ipinabasa mo sa mga kaibigan mo ang iyong diary. Ngayon, may isa kang kaibigan na naghangad sa kanyang sarili o nagamit ng demonyo. Hiniram niya ang diary at pina-xerox at ipinamigay sa mga ka-klase at kung sino pa.

    Ang pangyayaring ito ay ang internet na bersyon lamang. Ang kaibigan niya na nagkalanat nito ay nag screenshot at pinadala sa maraming mga tao. Sa makatuwid, lumalabas na isa lamang ito pagsha-share sa mga kaibigan niya na kanyang pinagkakatiwalaan. ‘Yun lamang, may isa na medyo naiba ng landas o may ibang hangarin.

    Nagkamali siya. Oo hindi rin maganda ang kanyang mga sagot, kitang-kita na umiiral ang pride sa kanyang mga isinagot sa isyu. Ito ay isa lamang uri ng tinatawag nating defense mechanism. Kinakaladkad ang kanyang pagkatao matapos siyang idobol-kros ng kaibigan niya. Maaari din na wala talaga siyang remorse, pero ito ay hindi na natin problema.

    Sabihin ninyo na hindi kayo nagkakasala at matapo, ngayon ninyo sabihin ang mga sinabi ninyo laban sa kanya. Magingat sana tayo sa ating mga panghuhusga na para bang hindi rin natin ginagawa ang mga iyon.

    John 8:7
    “… (Jesus) said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'”

  15. Reply

    @I’m Not Perfect Either:

    Pagpasensyahan mo na ang baluktot kong Tagalog.

    Kung babasahing maigi ang post, hindi ito simpleng isyu ng pagtuturo ng kung *sino* ang may kasalanan, kundi kung *ano* ang kasalanan. Hindi ako eksperto sa usaping naaayon sa salita ng Diyos, ngunit naniniwala akong may mga antas ang mga kasalanan. May mga pinagkaiba ang mga kasalanan. Wala ako sa posisyon upang sabihin kung anuman ang kasalanan sa kaharian ng Diyos, ngunit nasa posisyon ako upang sabihin kung anuman ang kasalanan sa lipunang ginagalawan natin.

    Sa unang punto: hindi ito isyu ng pagtingin natin sa sarili natin sa salamin. Sabihin na nating hinahangad ng isang makasalanang tao ang isiwalat ang isang kasalanan; tatanggalan ba natin siya ng karapatang humusga at gumawa ng isang intelihenteng opinyon dahil lamang sa kanyang pagiging makasalanan?

    Lahat tayo ay nagkakasala, ngunit pinupuna sa Tracy dahil sa antas ng kanyang pagkakasala. Unang-una, hindi ito usapin ng mapanlait, mapanliit at nakakainsultong opinyon sa isang pribado at personal na talaarawan, kundi isang usapin ng mga mapanlait, mapanliit, at nakakainsultong opinyon sa isang publikong espasyo tulad ng Internet.

    Walang pumipigil kay Tracy, at lalung-lalo nang hindi ng inyong lingkod, na manlait o humusga. Ngunit kung ang panlalait at panghuhusgang ito ay nangyari – at nangyayari – sa isang publikong espasyo na kung saan di na katanggap-tanggap ang mga panlalait at panghuhusga na ito, doon nagkakaroon ng problema. Wala akong pakialam sa kanyang personal na kaanyuan o ang kanyang ka-artehan; ang isyu dito ay ang sadyang kay babang tingin sa mga taong nabibilang sa ibang kultura. Lahat tayo siguro ay nanlait na ng tao, ngunit ginagawa ito sa isang pribadong espasyo.

    Ang isyu kay Tracy ay isyu ng responsibilidad. Totoo nga ba sa kanyang sarili ang kanyang mga sinabi? Totoo na kung sa totoo, ngunit isa itong isyu ng respeto at hiya. Isa itong isyu ng pag-iintindi, pag-unawa, at responsableng panunulat. Hindi katotohanan ang sinulat ni Tracy, kundi isang nakakainsultong post na di lamang sumasagasa sa sensibilidad ng mga Aeta at ng mga dukha, ngunit sumasagasa sa sensibilidad ng mga tao at mga Pilipinong katulad ko.

    May konteksto ang sinabi ni Hesus sa mga Pariseo nang iharap sa kanya ang isang babaeng diumano’y di malinis ang kalooban. Marapat lamang kitang mapaalalahanan, kapatid, na bagamat hindi ako isang relihiyoso o masunuring Kristyano, naniniwala pa rin ako na hindi ginagamit ang salita ng Diyos ng basta-basta lamang.

  16. Reply

    apay marck, naglaingka met gayam nga ag-tagalog, ania? 😀

    seriously, marocharim, having grown up with our peers called “iguy” by not-a-few lowlanders (and sometimes even by our own peers themselves), doesn’t it make you wonder how, sadly, ethnocentrism just might be a norm accepted by folks and elders, and passed down to kids? note that in borres’ entry, it seemed like her dad was making fun of the aetas via making fun of her.

    on the issue of the posting itself — i think perhaps that borres has learned what not to say in public. unfortunately, it would seem that borres may not have learned what to do when she’s stuck a foot in her mouth (which wordsmith rom deals with rather insightfully, if you’ve read it).

    • Dfish
    • December 17, 2008

    Talk of boundaries in blogging – i agree. But this is actually the dilemma we often encounter in the blogosphere – the ethical boundaries. But in a postmodern world growing more and more relativistic, ethics is also becoming obsolete. But i still believe there’s quite an accidental honesty for such a blatant post that’s hopefully health-promoting for her personally and for the rest socially.

  17. Reply

    Kamusta Marocharim,

    Found your blog via Teo M. For me, the thing that leaps out about this is the prevailing attitudes abt the indigenous populations. Am curious about your statement about racism, because whether or not race is an outdated concept, the marginalization Aetas and of other indigenous populations is very related to their marginalization and invisibility in Filipino society.

    It’s a functional racism at work in Pinoy society, one along the lines of the ICERD:

    “Any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise, on equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, or any other field of public life.”

    That’s from this Daniel Hindes essay

    Salamat, and happy new year.

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