Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Filipino Monkey" is an Ethnic Slur

First, what is the "Filipino Monkey"?

The phrase "Filipino Monkey" is an ethnic slur. This slur is often directed against Filipino mariners by other mariners over the bridge to bridge VHF radio.

At night, in many parts of the world where shipping is heavy the VHF Channel 16 is alive with ethic taunts, music, animal noises and so forth - think trolls, spam and crank phone calls. One of the more common taunts is "Filipino Monkey" intended to get a rise out of Filipino mariners. Slurs against Chinese, Indian, Greek and other mariners are also common.

This radio traffic occurs from about 2200 (10 pm) until 0600, when watch officers don't expect the captain on the bridge

Next, "Filipino Monkey is not a person or persons.

Some publication claim that there is a person or persons know as the "Filipino Monkey" Writing about an incident in the Straits of Hormuz The Navy Times said this:

"a locally famous heckler known among ship drivers as the “Filipino Monkey.”
From November 1987, in The Los Angeles Times article “Filipino Monkey: On Backs Of Many In Tense Gulf.”
“Sailors in this part of the world are by now well-acquainted with the rogue radio operator who calls himself ‘The Filipino Monkey.’
That is not correct,there is no heckler known as the "Filipino Monkey"

From gcaptain the Filipino Monkey Strikes Again:

First of all any seaman, military or commercial, can tell you their is no heckler know as the “Filipino Monkey“. Rather it’s a phrase that’s been uttered by thousands of mariners for decades. This harassing radio call with racial origins is made over the radio when a sailor hears the distinct accent of a Filipino mariner on the VHF radio. Why is it said? Mostly out of boredom but also for the simple reason that it is sure to get a heated response.
In more detail, from The New York Times News Blog :
It’s not one person, as Navy Times suggested, but a “radio call” passed around by many people … sing-song … in terms of musical notes, think of it as sung to “c-c-c-G-e,” e.g, “Fi-li-pi-no MON-key.” You start hearing it off the coast of North Africa, usually by Egypt, and then a lot more as you head through the Red Sea and (mostly) into the Gulf. It’s usually a fairly obscene, crudely humorous call and response … one person will start it, then everyone else will chime in: “Filipino Monkey!”

It’s actually pretty funny in a sophomoric way, although the Filipino slur part of it is obviously pretty loathsome.

One night in the Gulf, in the middle of the night, the radio was strangely quiet, so I (against protocols) just clicked the bridge-to-bridge mike button out of boredom in the tell-tale “monkey” pattern: click-click-click-click-click, click. Which of course set off a round of “Filipino Monkey!” calls from local radio operators all around us, probably from guys as equally as bored as we were.

That's a good explanation except it is not funny, even in a sophomoric way, its aggravating and can be dangerous.

From the Register
US-Iranian naval clash: Radio trolls probably to blame 'Filipino Monkey' strikes again

Anyone who has spent time bridge watchkeeping at sea east of the Suez Canal will be aware of what's known as the "Filipino Monkey" phenomenon. All ships at sea are required to maintain a listening watch on VHF marine channel 16, so as to hear distress messages, collision warnings or other calls. It's the equivalent of the Star Trek "hailing frequencies", as it were. However, you aren't supposed to just blot out channel 16 with chitchat - if you want to hold a conversation or something the correct form is to change channels after establishing comms on 16. In that way, the primary channel stays open for urgent stuff.

In northern waters, this is what happens. Once you get down into points south and east, the knowledge that large numbers of people absolutely have to listen to you - like it or not, as a requirement of maritime law and professional seamanship - seemingly becomes an irresistible temptation for a lot of people in possession of VHF sets.

The most popular phrase used by these people is "Filipino Monkey", said by salty old seafarers to have started out as an insult against Filipinos but now just meaning "I'm bored and want to piss a lot of watchstanders off".

The term "Radio Trolls" is a better term for this then "The Filipino Monkey phenomena"

From Pinoy Maritime: "The Case known as Filipino Monkey"

From Manuel L. Quezon III - a real howler



Kristofer Regalado said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marc Meinzer said...

Yes indeed we all remember the Filipino Monkey Eat Your Banana Guy from anywhere in the Indian Ocean or the Med or really anywhere which is so persistent we thought there must be a satellite in orbit broadcasting that nonsense on channel sixteen all night for all the bored mates and ABs forced to listen to those assholes for hours on end. I shipped out mostly on MSC charters run by civilian shipping companies. Marc Meinzer, AB