Let us move on from the ‘Seoul Kiss’

Published June 15, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola


There are so many ideals that Filipinos hold dear in the face of a rising tide of modernity — respect for elders, solidarity of the family, a readiness to help even strangers, making allowances for others, putting women on a pedestal — the ideal of the “Dalagang Pilipina.”

Some other nations value other ideals like strong individualism, strong law and order. They are suspicious of strangers, let their children fend for themselves when they come of age, believe strongly in gender equality, and do not see women as delicate creatures who must be treated with great care.

But social values keep changing in the world and many Filipinos no longer share in the ideal of the “dalagang Pilipina” on her pedestal who must be shielded from all harm and treated with utmost respect. Thus there were so many who were quick to defend President Duterte’s “Seoul kiss” and also so many who deplored it in equal measure.

Many in the crowd saw the President’s kissing a Filipina on the stage while meeting with OFWs during his recent state visit to South Korea as part of his effort to be one with them. But some saw it as showing disrespect for women and unbecoming of the president of the country.

Complications quickly arose as some rose to the President’s defense, including Malacañang communications assistant Mocha Uson who posted photos of two women kissing Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. on his arrival in 1983 from the United States at the Manila International Airport, where he was shot to death minutes later. The senator’s daughter Kris Aquino understandably hit back as indeed the circumstances were so different.

Columnists of various media and officials of various parties have come up with opinions on either side. Last weekend, the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, said she will join the presidential entourage the next time the President takes a foreign trip, just to make sure that the incident will not happen again. There was neither criticism or defense, just the citing of a need to avoid so many unwanted complications.

It is indeed time to move on from the “Seoul kiss” and the controversy it has spawned because so many of our people remain true to the ideal of the “dalagang Pilipina” while so many others see a newer world of individualism and equality. We are counting on Daughter Sara to help keep this particular controversy from taking up much more of our time from more crucial subjects of national interest.