There is an expression that is often used in my culture that I find so fascinating (and maybe even disturbing) – “Walang karapatan” or “Walang K” ( translation – No Right). Here are some examples of its usage. A person sees a woman wearing shorts showing her not so perfect legs. They may have scars or varicose veins or they may be chubby. That person whispers to herself, “She absolutely has no right to wear those shorts.” Or a homely looking person complains of bad service in a restaurant but the onlookers are saying to themselves, “Eeew, she is so ugly, she has no right to be so demanding.”
I have often wondered how this expression started and permeated my culture. It seems that appearances or socio-economic status determine what rights people have or what kind of actions they exhibit or decisions they can make or what feelings they may feel. If you are rich or good looking, you have the right to wear, to say, and to do whatever you may. If you are the opposite, you supposedly have no right to express yourself or live your life in anyway you please.
This behavior was exemplified in the way the celebrity couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barreto behaved at the NAIA airport last Sunday. Claudine rudely berated a Cebu Pacific employee because she was upset that her luggage was placed in a different plane. The employee tried to do her best to explain the situation yet the actress continued to say mean words and even threatened her job security until the employee was in tears. Mon Tulfo, a journalist, saw the incident and recorded the bullying on his cellphone. Raymart, the husband of Claudine, requested Mon to surrender his cellphone but he refused. What ensued was a scandalous brawl posted for the world to see on YouTube. Raymart, Claudine, and their entourage assaulted Mon until he was down on the floor.
The couple acted like they had every right to assault Mon because they felt their celebrity status gave them the right to be such. On the other hand, they felt the journalist violated their rights for taking a video of her shameless behavior towards the Cebu Pacific employee. They were in a public place and she was a public figure, thus, the journalist asserted, he had the right to document the event. Claudine did not have the decency to behave well in public yet cried foul when her indecent behavior was recorded. Hey Claudine, if you were shameless enough to be scandalous in front of people, then you should not be embarrassed having it videotaped and be seen my millions. Everybody has the right to see what you did not have the right to do.