Thursday, April 02, 2009

Why Chip Tsao Failed in Satirizing

Chip Tsao in his half-hearted apology claimed that he wrote was a satire (see below) and that he was misinterpreted. I don't buy his reaction especially that he took up Literature in London and should have known better. Most of the satirists are doing so because they are the underdog or they hold a very unpopular view. Where Chip stood when he wrote his stuff belies this. He, in writing for a Chinese magazine, was a bit reflecting on the Chinese view (even if the magazine would have a disclaimer sayign that it was personal view etc etc). So what is China compared to the Philippines? The Philippines is just a mote in their eye. Why did Chip Tsao condone the other countries claiming Spratly? Because he deemed them too powerful or he anticipated that the citizens of these countries would just smash him and his dorky glasses. He thought it convenient to use the Yellow Kingdom stance on the Philippines. He did not even look at the map to see that the Philippines has a legitimate claim on the island and not a Johnny-come-lately bully like his country. Of course, China was the Center of the Universe centuries ago. This is now. Of course, Philippines is the sick man of Asia. So it's so convenient to "satirize" them. Invent a certificate for his "servant" and then threaten her like he owned her. What if the Philippines is a country of servants? Does that mean that they have no right to claim a property? Now that you are persecuted by the Filipinos you know how it feels to be bullied. You know why you can not be a good literary writer, Chip? Because you lack empathy. You think power resides in your pen but that is not what true writing should be. You want Chinese to feel good in their invincibility? Be a court praiser. But then you ahve to be a eunuch to do that. That is if you still have the balls.


Anonymous Matthew Pollock said...

This is a completely silly comment. Tsao was not satirizing the Philippines.

Tsao was satirising Great China expansionism, and the growing current of nationalistic feeling in China. One of the victims of Great China expansionism is the Philippines, in the Spratlys.

Tsao is on your side. Yet you insult him. Who is more to be condemned - Tsao, who writes in your defence, or you, who insults Tsao completely randomly, out of a failure to understand the meaning of his words?

You think Tsao wanted to make the point that the Philippines was unimportant, and therefore shouldn't be listened to?

You think he wanted to bully and victimise his maid?

Good heavens! It's you who should be going back to school, not Tsao.

This was so obviously NOT what he meant.

Just read the text: "Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout “China, Madam/Sir” loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly.”

In your interpretation, Tsao would be reporting fact - he would actually have friends doing these absurd things.

But of course, that is not the case.

You really think that Hong Kong people are teaching their maids to shout 'China, Sir!' whenever they hear the word Spratly?

If you can believe that, you can believe anything, and I am afraid you have little sense of reality.

7:15 AM  
Blogger frank cimatu said...

There's a difference between irony and satire and between sarcasm and satire. Tsip Chao said he was satirical not ironic. So you think Chip Tsao would stand the test of time like the satirist Jonathan Swift? He can not even stand the trial he is in now.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous volume-addict said...

A stand-up comedian once said something about (to paraphrase) how the disenfranchised and minorities have a right to poke fun at the rich and powerful. It's the only thing they have and can perhaps give the rich and famous pause over what they do. When the rich and powerful poke fun at the disenfranchised and minorities, that's just being plain mean.

2:36 AM  
Anonymous Matthew Pollock said...

It’s worth reading the Wikipedia entry on satire (

Second paragraph:

“A very common, almost defining feature of satire is its strong vein of irony or sarcasm, but parody, burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. The essential point, however, is that "in satire, irony is militant". This "militant irony" (or sarcasm) often professes to approve the very things the satirist actually wishes to attack.”

An example (given by Wikipedia) is Swift, who in his 'A Modest Proposal' suggests that poor Irish parents be encouraged to sell their own children as food.

Of course, Swift did not mean this. He was satirizing the heartlessness of the governing English – and defending the Irish against English callousness.

Just like Tsao is satirizing the Chinese – and defending the Philippines.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Matthew Pollock said...

Some time back, I went to a press conference given by Jamby Madrigal, who remarked that the Philippines has no tradition of satire.

My Tagalog is not good enough to judge whether Madrigal is right. Please forgive me if so!

But if is true that there is no or little satirical tradition here, it might offer a clue as to why Tsao’s remarks have been so universally misunderstood in the Philippines.

10:04 PM  

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