The news about Lee Dae-Hae making fun of the English accent of Filipinos has spread like wild fire on cyberspace and has even landed in a major broadsheet. This was after an old clip of her guesting on the defunct KBS show “Sweet Night” surfaced and showed the actress apparently mimicking the accent of Filipinos in ridicule.
This angered a lot of Filipinos who saw the clip on youtube with many expressing not just disappointment but total withdrawal of support for the actress. KBS quickly acted on the matter by requesting youtube to pull down all videos of the said clip. Lee Dae-Hae on her part also “clarified” the matter in a lengthy tweet which I quoted below.
On Wednesday 3rd November 2010, @cherry4eva84 said:
First I’d like to give you my sincere apologies for what seems to be a misunderstanding.
It has come to my attention that many of you from the Philippines have posted comments protesting that i was being derisive by mimicking Filipinos when they speak English.
Therefore, in light of this matter I’d like to take this opportunity to clear the air.
In spite of what many people believe, I myself did NOT mention anything
about the Philippines or Filipino accent whilst on the TV show.
On the other hand I recall bringing up Southeast Asia and not the Philippines and the subtitles were inserted when the show was being edited of which I was not aware of until it was aired.
The TV show where this footage was taken from was designed to amuse its audience and my sole purpose was to entertain the viewers by coming up with lighthearted stories.
Since the producer knows that i speak English he asked me if I could
share any episodes that touch upon the English language.
As we all know every country has a typical accent when its people speak English (including myself) so after giving it some thought, I came up with a few lines where I simply tried to compare different English accents: the somewhat rigid British accent and beginners in Southeast Asia whose English tends to be a little hard-edged. No pun or ridicule was intended.
As an individual who use to take English classes over the phone with a Filipino instructor, I give you my word that even the mere thought of mocking Filipinos would never cross my mind.
I cannot tell you how much Filipino fans mean to me and as much as I love them, I would in no way
hurt or upset them.
I hope I have clarified any misunderstandings and once again I am truly sorry if I inadvertently
hurt anyone’s feelings.
-i really love you, my Filipino fans..
Lee Dae-Hae has always been one of my favorite actresses especially after her role as Jasmine in My Girl opposite Lee Dong-Wook. So like most Filipino fans, I was totally disappointed when I saw the video. I think the producers of Sweet Night may have expressed poor judgment in doing that segment. In the video, one of the hosts asks Lee Dae-Hae to do the accent of a Philippine English teacher – (Piripin songsaenim) and she obliges by doing a ridiculous exaggerated accent. Yes, I just reviewed the video and she definitely made fun of the English accent of Filipino teachers. I totally do not buy into her “misunderstanding” story. So it’s quite ironic how hundreds of Koreans go to the Philippines every year to learn English.
It’s also interesting to note that East of Eden (which also stars Lee Dae-Hae) is currently airing on GMA7 so I wonder if the show’s ratings will take a hit from this incident.
In any case, this is similar to what happened with the Philippine president’s speechwriter who posted about Vietnam having bad wine and no good-looking men on an official visit to the country.
My verdict: forgive but don’t forget. Instead, let’s all learn from “misunderstandings” like this.
Thanks to Lee Dae-Hae at @cherry4eva84 for the photo.