One thing we shouldn’t see in social media are words making fun of Xian Gaza’s face, pronunciation, or tone. That is discriminating. It implies that those with voices and pronunciation perceived by society as less desirable should be laughed at. The bullying regarding voices smacks of heteronormativity, that males should have manly voices, and a higher pitch is diminutively funny. The bullying regarding pronunciation reeks of discrimination based on education. It also strikes as a discrimination which favors Western accents and ridicules native Filipino’s.
Our proclivity for bullying and attacking people for traits perceivable by the senses are not new in the local social media scene. Just recently, Jeff Horn and his wife were unwilling victims, and so is a long list of opponents of our beloved Filipino athletes. Up until now, beauty queens like Janina San Miguel and Maxine Medina are deconstructively criticized for their manner of speaking a foreign language. Perhaps this is a consequence of being in the public eye, but this is a consequence that is not necessary, that may be stopped, if we ourselves change. Our superficial, demeaning criticisms over other people is contrary to the principles of fairness, and aside from satisfying our retaliatory and perhaps comic ego, it only debases the dignity of our fellowman.
Indeed, what he did may be creepy to many of us, manipulative as others may call it. We can go on to discuss the impropriety of flaunting lengthy receipts or the truthfulness of the testimonies regarding his alleged scamming activities. We can call him out for sounding too boastful; we can criticize his ways of inviting someone for a coffee. We may likewise speculate his ulterior motives without necessarily imposing our views and ridiculing his character. One thing that I look at with disdain are comments making fun of faces and voices. It may be argued that Xian got it for himself, that he wanted fame, and now he is known with infamy for a publicity stunt gone terribly wrong. Fame is never peace of mind, but let us not contribute to the hostility in the already hostile field of social media.