So Taylor Kitsch could not tell one Third World southeast Asian nation from another. That’s enough for Filipinos to get up to their usual hollowheaded call to arms over yet another perceived slight against their much-vaunted “pride”. Pride in what exactly? Well know, there’s an unanswered million dollar question if there ever was one. But that’s another story.
Kitsch had the misfortune of relating on the Late Show with David Letterman what in hindsight was a hilarious misadventure after being stopped by a customs officer in what he thought was the Philippines…
“You know it’s gonna be good when that guy’s calling you over,” Kitsch said.
Kitsch claimed that in customs “everyone was smoking” and, despite having a work visa, he was told he was being sent back to Japan because his passport had no more pages to stamp.
Though the tale would have, in any case, been entirely plausible had it actually happened in the Philippines, it had in fact happened in Indonesia. Indonesian deputy minister for justice Denny Indrayana confirmed the incident happened in Indonesia, and that the offending customs officer had been identified. Now Philippine authorities are demanding an apology…
“We believe that Taylor Kitsch made an erroneous statement which demeaned our country and an apology would be a proper decent response,” Philippine presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters.
That was the movie Kitsch was reportedly on his way to film, by the way. I just thought I’d mention it.
Along with Indonesia, the Philippines is renowned for its corrupt customs officials. In late February, customs clerk Paulino Elevado’s being an owner of a Porsche raised eyebrows after he shot at another motorist over a traffic altercation prompting Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile to “urge” the Philippine government to conduct “lifestyle checks” on all employees of the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs.
Just the same, ask any ordinary Filipino if they will be able to tell the difference between a Norwegian and a Swede and chances are all you will get in response is a bit of head-scratching. Not that many Filipinos even know where Norway and Sweden are located to begin with. I’d let Kitsch’s minor oversight slide. But that’s just me and my healthy ego talking.