When in an interview on US television “The Bourne Legacy” director Tony Gilroy said that after seeing Jakarta and Saigon he decided to shoot his movie in Manila because it felt so “Bourne”-ish, he was just being factual.
What got the goat of supersensitive fellows was when he explained the city: “It’s just so colorful and ugly and gritty and raw and stinky and crowded.”
That’s unacceptable to our custom of hospitality. You don’t go to someone’s home, receive its amenities, then tittle-tattle about the tackiness of its furniture or the crappiness of its food. It sounds so ungrateful. We even have a colorful idiom for it: asal hayop, or “beastly,” that is, biting the hand that feeds it.
Yet, if Gilroy’s statement is taken in context, we shouldn’t have been so onion-skinned. Because we’ve brought it upon ourselves. It is we ourselves who’ve made our place ugly and stinky and, well, “Bourne”-ish. We deface our landscape, defile our home, and when some visitor comments about it, we get touchy, we are hurt.