Hmm – there’s an interesting debate going on here about how Lee Da Hae‘s appearance on a Korean talk show has sparked controversy and scandal in the Philippines. Lee was asked by the hosts to speak English using various accents, and she did an American one (quite passable), a British one (weird), and a Filipino one. The Filipino one sounds the worst, and it’s because it’s just not a Filipino accent – however, it’s not too far off either. I think I can tell how she wanted it delivered, and yet she opened her mouth too wide and stressed on certain syllables the wrong way that made it bad.
She issued out an apology as well, saying she did not mean to offend her Filipino fans (since East of Eden is currently playing in the Philippines), and that she had meant to do a Southeast Asian accent.
Judge for yourself here. I think that what made the scandal REALLY bad were the reactions written on the screen when it was edited by the station.
So – here’s the kicker: do you think it’s offensive?
I personally don’t know how to feel about it. I will say right off that some Filipinos have bad English accents, especially based on where they’re coming from. Even Filipinos make fun of other Filipinos’ bad accents (and that just shows you the social hierarchy right there, and how much emphasis is placed on having the Manila English accent compared to, say, a Visayan English accent). Lee Da Hae’s Filipino accent is off, but she’s not completely at fault. After all, she’s still Korean, and her Korean accent tinges every other accent she’s mimicking; you could say that her Korean accent just made her Filipino accent worse.
There’s also that whole issue of many Koreans going to the Philippines to learn English. It becomes hypocritical of Koreans to make fun of the Filipino accent when they’re asking to be educated by those same Filipinos. So Korea – you’re pretty much setting up your own standard of English; you’re laughing at Lee Da Hae’s impersonation, and yet I’m sure many of you are learning the same accent from your Filipino English teacher. By choosing Filipinos as your English teachers, that means you also hold their English speaking skills in high regard – so why the mocking comments on the TV screen?
In the end – it’s two Asian countries mocking each other for their English accents, as if there’s a silly competition on who can speak English better. But who’s the judge? French accented English isn’t any better or worse than American accented English. British English isn’t even the dominant English-language used, and the language originated there! So I think that instead of feeling insulted, Filipinos should just point and laugh at Korean accented English too, and mimic them right back.
Here’s a new video challenge: a Filipino speaks English the way a Korean foreign student speaks it.
source: asianfanatics, youtube