16 Jun An Open Letter to Ms. Lea Salonga

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JUAN SAYS: So the independence day stir created by one of the most revered theater actress Lea Salonga is far from over, at least in JUAN that is. While some of the people from JUAN purposely ignored this and silently watched the whole “musicale” unfold on twitter, our executive editor Olan Dy found her statement quite disturbing. While Sisa, our editor in chief procrastinated on putting out a response to her tweet (since, Sisa was laughing at how she corrected the grammar of a troll who said:

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Olan Dy was painstakingly writing her open letter to Ms. Salonga, by hand, and handed it to Sisa who was quite shocked at how Olan Dy took the time and effort to craft such a letter, again by hand. So we decided to take a picture of the letter and publish everything in its entirety, just to show you that though JUAN editors may differ from opinions, we respect each others thoughts, ideas, opinions, well, even if Olan Dy was just trying out her new neon green fountain pen cartridge. Hehe.

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Dear Miss Lea Salonga,

I used to admire you from many angles. As a theater geek, I applaud your many accomplishments and pay good money to watch you perform. As a woman, I admire the posive role odel you present, writing books, upholding morals. You are a person to look up to. As a Filipino, you used to represent to me one of those shinning example of Filipino talent, brains, beauty and hard work ethic — Broadway is a brutal, criticism filled profession and to survive and achieve in this profession or any profession for that matter takes passion, guts and pride and confidence in one’s own ability and capabilities. If I had a daughter, I would have used you as an example to emulate and recreate even — go for your dreams, don’t stop trying even if you are rejected time and again. Trust in yourself and above all, trust in God’s plan for you. Look at Lea Salonga, look at what she has been able to achieve. Believe and fight, fight for what is right.

But believe in you, I no longer do Ms. Salonga. Since you’re a lady, I shall refrain from saying what I really want to say which is along the lines of “you are an entitled b*** who thinks she knows it all but actually knows nothing.” Instead I’ll just say, oh do shut up Ms. Lea Salonga. Please shut the hell up before you cause more damage to yourself and to other impressionable people who idolize you and would blindly believe in whatever you say just because you are a celebrity.

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See what I did there? That’s called “freely expressing a personal opinion.” It’s something that you also just did with your now infamous what-are-we-celebrating-Independence-Day-for? tweet. It is ironic, that the freedom you so wonderfully use to publicly express your opinion to the world is what you don’t feel you need to celebrate.

What are we free from? Oh so many things, be grateful for what you have now, else it may be taken away from you. Then you’ll really have something to tweet about. You have never lived and worked in one of the many other countries in the world that experience much less freedom than us. You and your family currently enjoy the freedom to choose, to travel, to speak freely, to fight for your rights, to have rights, to believe in those rights, to express those same rights. Would you rather live in a communist country like China or Vietnam where secret police and government agencies listen in and monitor your every move online and on your mobile? Where what you read and where you read it from is coming from only one official source — the government? Where both foreigners and locals are tracked and monitored for any possible subversive or anti-government action and just carted off into the night and executed without defense? How about North Korea where even your haircut

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is dictated by the government with an official haircut guideline to choose from? Even Singapore which you’ve lauded recently as an example that “gets pretty darn close. They’re certainly doing something right over there.” Ask Singaporeans about their “freedom” and what is the price they pay for their pretty darn close utopia. I think you’ll be surprised at the level of nannying and government meddling that goes on in Singapore. Every single thing needs to be cleared and approved and go through government scrutiny. Not very long ago we had a similar level of government enforced discipline — we called it the Marcos dictatorship. If Singapore is such a haven then why is the Singaporean government having such a hard time getting their citizens to procreate and make more Singaporeans? Why are Singaporeans known to be complainers and are the biggest critics of themselves and their government? Why then are they so unhappy that they rank low in Global Happiness Surveys and I know of many Singaporeans who can’t wait to get of of Singapore and live or retire elsewhere, far away from their prying government eyes, ears, fingers, thumb and belt. Is that really the kind of society you want to live in? Well, good for you. We have the freedom to renounce our Filipino citizenship and apply for another one. There are many people and nations in the world who can’t share the same freedom. Some are even stateless like the Rohingya refugees from Burma.

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As many netizens have already remarked — there is no country that is debt-free, poverty-free, crime-free, or corruption-free. And to ask for a country to be so is not only incredibly naive and unrealistic, it is incredibly misinformed about how the world works and screams entitlement. The only place that would be debt-free, poverty-free, crime-free, and corruption free is heaven and hell. The top 3 largest economies — United States, China, Japan — have so much debt that their children’s children will still be paying it off for generations. It’s public knowledge that the national debt of some first world nations is far beyond their GDP, the average citizen in the top 3 economies have debt in some form and manner to maintain their lifestyle. Let’s compare this against the Philippines who actually has enough cash reserves to pay off our national debt to other countries. The criticism by economists is actually the Philippines needs to sped and borrow more to spur the economy further as we’re sitting on so much reserves thanks to remittances and investments. Believe it or not, the Philippines is actually in a pretty solid position with regards to how we manage our debt, we are in fact, should be quite happy with how we’ve been doing so far, everything is positive and on the upswing and things will only get better unless we mess it up.

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You’re not an economist or a politician so you don’t know what that being debt-free isn’t the mark of good governance of a country. As for poverty, crime and corruption, are these not all man made issues stemming from morals and ethics than any allusions to independence? If Filipinos were hard working, diligent, vigilant, mindful and guided by strong morals and ethics, then we wouldn’t have these social ills. The government and the good people who try to make a difference in the Philippines can only do so much. Your complaint/call to action should be addressed to the Filipino people for are we not those which fill and empower our government?

It’s scary that you do not know the degree which we are blessed in the Philippines. Come down from the lofty perches where theater gods and goddesses reign and come see how the common people live. Independence Day is not just about freedom from colonizers. It is about appreciating the freedom we have and take for granted now, which so many Filipino generations before us have fought for. We enjoy our freedom without having to think about any danger of losing it — is that not enough cause to celebrate? Or must we be reminded of its value by losing it again?

 

–Olan Dy

 

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