WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Adobo Chronicles, Washington Bureau) – For centuries, the Philippines has been called “Pearl of the Orient Seas,” thanks to its national hero Dr. Jose Rizal who first coined the phrase in the first paragraph of his classic “My Last Farewell.”
“Farewell, my adored Land, region of the sun caressed,
Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost,
With gladness I give you my Life, sad and repressed;
And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best,
I would still give it to you for your welfare at most.”
Alas, we can no longer call the exotic country the Pearl of the Orient Seas, thanks to Washington, D.C.’s political correctness.
On Monday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill that would remove the word “Oriental” from the last known laws in the United States Code where it applies to a person. Earlier, the House unanimously passed the original measure. The legislation is now on its way to President Obama’s desk and he is expected to sign it.
“The term ‘Oriental’ is an insulting and outdated word and the Senate’s passage of my bill will soon force the U.S. government to finally stop using it,” Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) said in a statement. Meng authored the original bill, H.R. 4238, which was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI).
Most Asians, especially those living in America, find offense in being called “Oriental.”
Following news of the proposed law, the Philippines’ Department of Tourism prepared to revise all its literature and promotional materials that refer to the country as the “Orient” or the Filipinos as “Orientals.”
However, it must be noted that any person can still use the word “Oriental” when referring to carpets, rugs and food, since these were not covered in the proposed legislation.
People are also advised to use the word “exotic” as much as they can now, before another legislation would outlaw its use.