What I am really curious about is what possessed comedian Ramon Bautista to insinuate that Davao women are “hipon”, slang for (I am told) women who have a nice body but a not-so-nice face. “Hipon” is Tagalog for “shrimp”. So, yeah, shrimp is the word because the head of a shrimp is discarded after the body is eaten. Get it?
So I ask:
Did Bautista really mean to insult?
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Honestly, this is the first time I’ve heard such a slur. And I gotta admit, it’s a clever one. But then, well, I suppose not too many Davaoenas found it funny even coming from a comedian doing a comedy act.Would Bautista purposely single out Davao ladies as being shrimp-like? I don’t think so. The use of the term and the context with which it was used, did not seem meant to offend, only to entertain. It seems the humour was simply lost in people who evidently had a raw nerve with regard to the appearance of their women.
Vice Mayor Pulong Duterte said in his Facebook post where he issued the resolution declaring Bautista persona non grata that “it is not for me to decide”. But, really, the decision was his to finalise the ruling. It seems to me that he was doing a Pontius Pilate-style thing. I am not responsible.
Vice Mayor Duterte further elaborated in a subsequent comment…
Do not blame me or the councilors for taking a strong stand against the issue. We are bound by our oath to protect and preserve the welfare and honor of the very same people who placed us in this position.
I dunno. Sounds like bullshit to me. So one can issue such a ruling but, at the same time, nobody is responsible for it? Talk about wanker. This is coming from a family that takes pride in their popular vigilante-style approach to rough justice.
Well, the only bottomline I see here is that Davao folk lack a modern sense of humor. When one is so quick to take offense from what is so obviously a statement meant to be funny and so obviously lacking any clear basis, all the more it makes one curious. And as I said, earlier, that is my main takeaway from this circus:
Was the joke half-meant?
Personally I don’t think so. What I do think is that the reaction of Davao people was the one that was half-meant. Indeed, there is much to be read into in this hysterical reaction Davao had thrown. Is it a hint of some kind of underlying insecurity? Perhaps. There is that Tagalog saying, bato-bato sa langit tamaan wag magalit. Roughly translated in English, the saying goes “bird in the sky don’t get mad if you are hit.”
I know, bad translation. But the meaning there is that lots of words are being fielded everyday. Some, if not a lot, of them can be construed as insults. But, really, an insult is in the ear of the beholder. If you truly believe you are not ugly, no number of people telling you that you are will matter. And, yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps to be able to truly “move on” Davao needs to focus more on those who behold the beauty of their women rather than on how some individuals among them are so quick to find insult in innocent humor.
Frustrated artist doing geek for a living.