An Open Letter for Sen. Tito Sotto and Mr. Joey De Leon

 

Mr. Joey De Leon (Left) and Sen. Tito Sotto (Right) wearing the national costumes of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the Halloween special of Eat Bulaga.
 

Dear Sen. Tito Sotto & Mr. Joey De Leon,

I am writing you this letter in behalf of the entire Moro / Muslim community who were upset on your chosen “halloween costumes” during Eat Bulaga’s October 31, 2015 episode. You chose to wear the national costumes of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; an attire worn not only by Saudi nationals but by millions of Muslims and well-respected Islamic scholars all over the world.

Based on my understanding and your projection of the show last Saturday, your halloween costumes are prepared in order for you to be funny, to be creative or to be scary (as what this celebration is all about). All of these reasons to wear such attire are, well, insulting.

If you analyze what you have done, you were simply trying to imply that such Arab attire is “funny” or “scary” enough that it fits on the celebration of Halloween. Seriously? Since when did Arabian attires fall in the same wardrobe of vampires, monsters and demons? Or are you simply implying something else? Because based on the concept of this celebration, you were aligning your Arabian characterizations to creatures that are non-existent in the first place without considering the fact that this country is filled with Muslims who wear the same costume as yours. Are “we” that “scary?”

Now, beloved friends, you may jump to the argument that their attire is “cultural” and was not meant to insult our “religion” in general. Read my earlier statements again. Because like I said, this particular attire is worn to prayer, not only by Arabs, but millions of Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds as well. So at the end of the day, this attire is not only representing the Saudi nationals but a significant number of Muslims and prominent Islamic Scholars in the world as well. Thus, creating a stereotypical joke out of us.

I am not angry but I am very disappointed much like most of our brethren because we are all aware that not only there is seemingly an invisible barrier between Filipinos but it feels like we are mocked in front of national television and we cannot do anything about it because we do not have strong media outlets that may address the lack of information on who we really are as a society.

Joey De Leon and Senator Tito Sotto, you are two well-respected figures in this country. Despite all the controversies you faced throughout the decades, nobody can deny that your influence is still unparalleled. This is why we ask you to become sensitive enough on what you perform on air. Senator Sotto, you are a senator of this republic, you should know your limits as a comedian and as a statesman.

Lastly, it is “common sense” that Saudis do not celebrate Halloween which is even more insulting to their part because what they wear is being projected as something funny in a celebration they do not even commemorate. A celebration meant to be dedicated on remembering the “dead.”

This is why I hope that Eat Bulaga along with GMA will provide a statement of apology from Senator Tito Sotto and Mr. Joey De Leon and that an incident like this will not happen again.

I pray that the spirit of unity and diversity reign in this country.

A Muslim Filipino,

Jorjani Sinsuat

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Author:

Currently lost in this world of uncertainties.

114 thoughts on “An Open Letter for Sen. Tito Sotto and Mr. Joey De Leon

  1. My 2 cents… some people find ways to be involved, be offended, be a victim or an advocate of something to contribute to the society. Why not draw energy and time to something more productive? Here in the US, people often wear costumes to be somebody they are not in their real lives. We wear costumes to experience to be that somebody for 1 day. You’ll see people wearing everything from a career they want to have such as cops, army, flight attendants, doctor, priests, nuns, etc or other characters like fairies, historical, cultural, fictional, superheroes, and all characters we could think of. That does not mean one want to be scary or funny. They could just be wanting to be that character for one day. Instead of taking it negatively, why not be honored that people want to be like you for one day. As they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

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  2. People go as sexy nuns or priests or even the pope on Halloween every year and guess what? Christians do not get make a big deal out of it. The pope did not require a public apology from that cute little baby for being dressed like him. Have you no sense of humor (or fun, at the very least)? It’s Halloween ffs. We, Filipinos, should calm the f down and re-evaluate our priorities. Geez. 😤

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      1. Because nobody and not even a single christian/catholic is complaining about those things (wearing sexy nuns and priests as costumes) during halloween and the fact that nuns and priests are some of the characters made in some horror movies making them scary faces and people(christians) loved seeing it coz no one even complained about those. That is why our muslim brothers/sisters doesn’t want to tolerate such stupid acts because they didn’t want it, they don’t want that arab attire or better known as muslim attire be used for funny costume affair or any stupid affair.

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      2. Let me challenge your righteousness… Do you think dressing up as a sexy nun is right? Yes, we should calm the fuck down, think carefully, and re-evaluate things before we do it.

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    1. Ano nama man ang maikokomento mo dito?

      Wael Ibrahim
      Yesterday at 6:48pm · Edited ·
      Many people from the ‪#‎Philippines‬ have asked me to comment on the latest ‘under fire’ news of the actors who have worn Arab attires during a ‪#‎Halloween‬ TV show.
      It seems that some ‪#‎Filipino‬ Muslims believe that wearing the Arab attire by Non Muslim actors was disrespectful to ‪#‎Islam‬ and ‪#‎Muslims‬. So here is my say:
      1. First of all, #Muslims should have not watched that show in the first place smile emoticon – #Halloween TV show? Seriously?
      2. This attire is not an ‪#‎Islamic‬ dress code that ‪#‎Muslim‬ men MUST wear [unlike the ‪#‎Hijab‬ and ‪#‎Niqab‬ for women which does not know cultures or regions], however the white Thowb, red scarf and black ring are attire known for ‪#‎Saudi‬ men and it is NOT an #Islamic requirement for #Muslim men to wear at all. In fact, sometimes I am wondering why Non ‪#‎Arab‬ #Muslims are wearing it!
      So if anyone should get offended, it should be the Saudis and not the #Filipino #Muslims. [Unless the conversation during the show was offensive and disrespectful to Islam]
      3. Don’t we have a “World #Hijab Day” where some Muslims themselves will be asking Non Muslim ladies to try on the Muslim dress code? Why this seems to be different? Why this seems to be Ok for the Muslims?
      4. Don’t we have more serious problems in the region that we should be talking about right now instead of wasting away our energy protesting about an Arab attire? For example – – ‪#‎Durgs‬, ‪#‎Pornography‬, ‪#‎Tribalism‬, ‪#‎Racism‬, ‪#‎Manners‬, ‪#‎WakingUpForFajr‬, ‪#‎Zina‬, and so on…
      5. My #Filipino brothers and sisters in #Islam. Calm down, ignore the whole issue and seize the opportunity of this #Halloween occasion to introduce #Islam to the public in the best possible manner.
      May Allah guide us all. Ameen

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  3. I like that you can be diplomatic in stating your sentiments about the issue, however, IMO, I think we live in an age where people are highly sensitive about issues that should not be so much of a big deal. I respect Muslims and Christians equally, but perhaps Muslims should look at this issue from a different spectrum. You stated that halloween costumes are more inclined to being classified as “funny” or “scary” but let’s not forget that some little girls want to be Disney princesses and some little boys want to be super heroes. There is nothing remotely funny or scary about the idea, in fact, they prefer such costumes because they want to emulate them positively. Why are we so quick to judge that Tito and Joey did not have the same intentions? Besides, this type of dress is more customary to a national and cultural wardrobe than it is religious. People in KSA, whether they are Muslim or Christian wear this. So why is it such a big issue in the Philippines?

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    1. Looks like you have replies for majority of the posts and decided to skip mine. Perhaps my post was insignificant? Either way, I know you stated you did not want to file “a case”, however, you are seeking a public apology. I hope you’ve changed your mind and were enlightened enough to see things from a different view point. Regards.

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      1. Hi Sven! I appreciate your comment and I apologize if I was not able to reply ASAP.
        My opinion did not change, however, I do hope that this will end up in a better understanding amongst all Filipinos.
        My best regards too.

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  4. are super hero costumes supposed to be funny or scary? is there a standard that the world can follow about what to wear at a Halloween party/program? i guess what im saying is you’re just concluding that its supposed to be “funny” or “scary” coz thats what you think it its. and youre thinking that what most people think would be considered a standard. its a COSTUME … if its not allowed to be worn as a costume then sue them if not then i guess id have to say shut up.

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    1. Hindi naman po isang Ustadh o Imam si Ka-Robin at yan po ay kanya lamang personal na opinyon tulad ng aking personal na opinyon sa sulat na ito.

      Isa pong basehan ang pananamit ng mga Muslim, halimbawa ay ang hijab na ginagamit ng aming mga kababaihan.

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      1. Hindi po isang “bihasa” o Ulama si Ka-Wael, bagkus ay isa lamang siyang “Motivational Speaker.” Meron pong isang pahayag ang Ustadh sa Pilipinas sa pamumuno si Ustadh Ahmad Javier. Ang kanyang pahayag ay mapapanood mo sa kanyang Facebook Page. Salamat.

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    2. Sa tanong ko if personal opinion lang ba niya yon na Arab attire yon and not Muslim attire. Saka isa pang tanong ko na sana ay masagot. Halimbawa ang isang Kristiyano ay sinuot ang attire na yon, na sabi ninyo ay Muslim attire, at pumasok sa simbahan, nag dasal, hindi ba maiinsulto ang mga Muslim noon?
      Kaya ko lang naitanong, kung pumasok siya sa simbahan at may mga idols doon, alam kong malaking kasalanan iyon. Pero marami akong nakikitang litrato ng Palestinian Christians na suot ang eksaktong kasuotan na iyon, na nasa loob ng simbahang kristiyano.. Curious lang kung anong stand nyo doon?

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  5. Question: If you did something and someone got offended, would you apologize?
    Answer: Yes.

    Why? Because this is how we should act to get along with each other (PEACE). We adjust our actions in consideration to how they may be perceived by everyone (COMPASSION). If thought was put into their action, they may have realized that it might be offensive to somebody and should have opted not to pursue it. Also, all that was being asked is an apology. Is it really that hard? Is it hard to say, “Sorry if you find what i did offensive, but everything was not meant that way.” Is that hard? Are we that prideful? You may say that some people are just too sensitive and they are overreacting on the topic; however, have we considred that their current position is no joke. Their identity, even their mere presence, is already being generalized as dangerous. Do we want to spread the same stereotyping/misconception?

    We put limits in what we do to show our consideration to other people. This is a way to be at peace with everyone. This is how we show compassion. This is how we RESPECT.

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  6. with due respect to the ex senator nad comedian joey, and to the ppl who say y christians and pope r not reacting when someone wears their clothings, well, islam is differnt by the way and we muslims respect our religion and we never mocked any of ur cultures and clothings even ur beliefs and religion, we never insulted it..we never do some reenactment of how ur faith, prayers and etc…we muslims r respectful regardless of ur beliefs, traditions, customs and cultures..and if pope priests nuns and christians r not reacting to it well it is not our concern anymore infact christains r the one disrescting ur beliefs..we r not the one…dnt go beyond the boundary coz u dnt knw anything about islam, how we respect our religion and our belief..u tell ur co christians not to be disrespectful of ur religion either. they r the one breaking ur beliefs…anyhow u ppl also dnt care if ur religion is being mocked…for us we dnt allow this things…dnt put the blame on us muslims what ur brothers r doing to ur beliefs..but if u cn do it to ur own pls never try doing it on others..and to the ex senator, if a saudi frend gave u that thobe, u shud not pay it back with disrectful manner, u shud wear it in an occasion that doesnt mock and insulting..still u didnt learn the value of attitude even u became a statesman person..u need more values ex senator…

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