Monday, April 29, 2013

Earlier Scathing Criticism about Cebu City by an American

Last year, an American who publicly criticized Cebu was declared Persona Non Grata. Jimmy Sieczka created a 25-minute video, 20 Reasons to Dislike the Philippines, focusing on Cebu where he has lived.  Sieczka has taken down his video and apologized, but I'm posting articles about him, because some of Mr. Sieczka's comments are valid, including: beggars in the streets, heavy traffic, piles of garbage everywhere, public restrooms used for drugs, people urinating in public, prostitution, lack of safety, etc. etc. It's painful even to enumerate his complaints, and embarrassing, but it's high time, Cebuanos address these problems.

I love Cebu, and negative comments about Cebu City are painful to read. But I know that there is truth in what these foreigners are saying. I'm reprinting this so that Cebuanos, especially those in power, will be realize that Cebu City needs to be improved.  ~ Cecilia Brainard


Dislike’ video of American draws mixed reactions

Friday, March 16, 2012
“IF YOU plan to stay in the Philippines for a long time, be prepared to be pissed off.”
This is what Jimmy Sieczka, an American who has been living in Cebu City for the last three years, said in his 25-minute video, which has been circulating in social networking sites.
The areas featured in the video are all in Cebu City.

The video, which shows 20 things that Sieczka dislikes in the Philippines, has drawn mixed reactions.           
Among the things that he dislikes are the beggars, heavy traffic, the garbage on the streets and the “uncomfortable” comfort rooms.
While he finds their presence sad, Siezcka described the spread of beggars on the streets as “annoying.” He also said the garbage on the streets “pisses him off.”
He described the traffic as “disgusting” and the public comfort rooms as “heroin dens.”

More peeves
He also doesn’t like the Filipino’s obsession with whitening products, unsafe construction sites, taxi drivers who keep on beeping, security guards who are untrained, sidewalks that reek of urine and improper frisking in malls.
Asked to comment on the video, Mayor Michael Rama said the City Government is trying to address the problems of mendicancy, uncollected garbage and heavy traffic, among others.
Rama downplayed the negative effects Sieczka’s video might have on the city’s image.
“More people will be interested to come here and see if all the things he is saying are true,” he said in Cebuano.
Councilor Margarita Osmeña, chairperson of the council’s committee on tourism, had a stronger take on the matter.
“Why does he stay here if he does not like the city? He should go back to America instead,” she said.
Osmeña said she doesn’t think Siezcka’s video will discourage tourists, both foreign and locals, from visiting the city.
“Because it (the things he disliked) has not even stopped him (Siezcka) from coming here. But you know, over and above this, you have to remember the good things here,” she said.

Seeking public help
City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) Executive Director Raphael Yap acknowledged that some of the issues Siezcka raised are valid, particularly the traffic.
“Without mention of the myriad social and institutional issues involved in the management of traffic and transportation issues in the city, we can only do so much with our limited resources,” he said.
He appealed to motorists to help Citom solve traffic woes by following traffic laws.
“Unless our motorists obey traffic rules, without the necessity of an enforcer’s presence, or observe proper maintenance of their vehicles or park their vehicles properly, the city’s traffic will continue to worsen and plague foreign and citizens tourist alike,” he said.
On Facebook and on the website where the video was posted, Siezcka’s video has drawn mixed reactions.
Others told Siezcka to send a copy of his video to government officials, saying it was an “eye-opener.” They even thanked him for helping Filipinos see their shortcomings.
But others criticized Siezcka, and told him to go back to his country.

Siezcka’s purpose
Siezcka posted his reaction to the negative comments online.
“For those of you that think that this video was made to show my hate for the Philippines, I must say that you are sadly mistaken,” he said.
“I’m just stating the obvious in an unconventional way in order to spark change. Never once did I use the word hate in the piece. I simply pointed out issues that have been overlooked for quite some time,” he added.
Sieczka’s video is already gaining popularity, having at least 50,000 hits, as Cebu City is being nominated for the 7 Wonder Cities in an online voting.


The American filmmaker living in the Philippines that caused a stir with his viral video, “20 Reasons to Dislike the Philippines”, issued a video apology on Wednesday to the Philippine people.
The video’s host, Jimmy Sieczka said, “the video was never made to attack, or put down, or to hurt, or to let down some of the people in this wonderful and beautiful nation that have been so great to me when I moved here 3 ½ years ago”.
He goes on to say he is “deeply sorry that I offended some of the people of the Philippines”.
The apology follows Cebu City Councilor Sisinio Andales statement earlier that he would file a resolution to declare Sieczka “persona non grata”. Persona non grata is a term indicating that a person is no longer welcome in a particular area.
Sieczka says in the apology video that there was no hate involved in the video; he felt he was merely pointing out the obvious flaws that anyone else could see.
In the video, “20 Reasons to Dislike the Philippines”, Sieczka points out a wide range of things he dislikes while he walked through Cebu City. Traffic, garbage, comfort rooms, ubiquitous urinating and ladyboys all took the brunt of Siecka’s wrath in the video.
The apology, as well as the original video, garnered mixed reactions with Filipinos. However, the following reactions to Councilor Andales “threat” were the most interesting:
"This Cebu councilor doesnt deserve to be reelected for being insensitive, immature and naive. He should take this as a constructive criticism. The video may be hurtful to us but it's the truth and I don't see it as anti-Filipino. We see these things everyday yet we never make an effort to do anything about it. The councilor, I believe, should address these issues if he wants to promote tourism in Cebu. James, no need to apologize. You were just practicing your freedom of speech. Keep it coming! We need people of your kind.GO, go, go!"
"Whatever happened to free speech in the Philippines. This should take the Philippines down 1-level on the United Nations freedom list. I saw the video and basically he said that anything for the public access was terrible....including sidewalks, CR rooms and proper hygiene of sidewalk food vendors."

tags: Cebu, Cebu City, Philippines

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