Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Harolds and Kumars of the Philippine media

"The world would be a better place if we had more Harolds and Kumars in the movies. And it would be a better place if our news and feature stories had more average, everyday Asian guys who like to kiss girls and go to White Castle."

Thus wrote Tom Huang, Texas Living Editor of The Dallas Morning News and a 2002 Poynter Ethics Fellow, on the need for the American media to do a better job of portraying Asians and members of minority groups "in a multi-dimensional way."

This wonderful piece, "Visions of Harold and Kumar: A Plea for Better Coverage of the Asian Man," is available in Poynter Online. And oh, don't forget to read his other column pieces also available in Poynter Online such as "Making Minorities Multi-Dimensional".

For those who do not know who Harold and Kumar are, they are Asian-American actors John Cho and Kal Penn who play the two characters respectively in the film Harold and Kumar go to White Castle that was well-received by critics. (photo of the two at left taken from this site). A sequel to this 2004 film, Harold & Kumar Go to Amsterdam, is scheduled for release next year.

Although Huang discusses the need for US media to portray minority groups "in a multi-dimensional way," I think his insights also apply well in the media situation here in the Philippines on how we portray certain groups.

For instance, how does the Philippine media portray an Indian? Is it still one who is heavily bearded, turbaned, smelly, and rides in a motorcycle everyday to get his pautang from Filipinos (you know, five-six?) How about our portrayal of Chinese? Or how about our portrayal of fellow Filipinos like the Visayans or Aetas? Or how about the gays? Or rape victims, like "Nicole"?

These are questions media has to ponder about.

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