Why Derek Ramsay and Ellen Adarna’s “Patriotic Display” Vs Neighbor’s Chinese Couplets Is Messed Up

If you haven’t heard, celebrity couple Derek Ramsay and Ellen Adarna received backlash from netizens after Ellen posted an Instagram video of the couple standing on their Philippine flag-adorned balcony overlooking their neighbor’s facade where Chinese symbols were displayed. 

Ellen’s Instagram caption read: “I like the view #proudpinoy Patriotic @ramsayderek07” with peppered laughing emojis.

In her video, she zoomed in on their neighbor’s Chinese signages, chuckling. She took her Instagram post down after receiving criticism, but several netizens and media outlets were able to reupload copies. 

Basically, the internet’s interpretation of this was that the couple displayed the Philippine flag in retaliation for their neighbor’s Chinese signages without knowing what they really meant. Long story short, the signages were actually New Year couplets wishing good luck to enter their home– nothing propaganda here. 

To those who believe that there was nothing wrong with the post, we would like to offer you some perspectives in the hopes that it would broaden yours. 

One might say: “There’s nothing wrong with hanging a flag to show patriotism. We’re in the Philippines. If the neighbor can hang Chinese signs on their door, why can’t they?” 

Obviously, they’re free to hang the Philippine flag on their balcony, but why did they choose to hang it after seeing their neighbor’s New Years couplets? It could be that they felt offended by the Chinese signs which were really about wishes coming true. It’s a textbook case of petty racism to be angry at something foreign for the slightest possibility it’s propaganda (and again, the sign was about good luck and wishes). 

There is also this argument: “The fact that there’s been an influx of POGOs with superiority complex in the Philippines just shows that the Chinese are an oppressive bunch. Filipinos are second-class citizens next to the Chinese. It’s fine to strike back.”

While it’s hard for others to distinguish Chinoys from Mainlanders, many Chinoys are born and raised here. A lot of us, especially the younger generation, are more inclined to Filipino culture, language, mores, and beliefs because of our limited exposure to our Chinese counterpart. However, many Chinoy families still try to reconnect with the other half of their identity by taking part in Chinese traditions. Additionally, the beliefs and issues of the Filipino or Chinese government do not necessarily reflect its citizens’ (or in our case, our ancestors). 

It’s true that there are daily cases of Filipinos being treated as second-class citizens next to any foreigner or those with mixed heritage– and yet for celebrities with high status and foreign blood themselves to exhibit this false patriotism and be lauded for doing so just becomes ironic. 

It’s the Filipinos who own and protect the independence of the Philippines. Chinoys are a part of that community. Independence is not something we wish to give away. 

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