2009年,陶傑在《HK Magazine》發表了一篇名為《The War at Home》的短篇文章,文章之以"僕人國家"(the nation of servants)形容菲律賓,立即惹來菲律賓人和相關團體猛然抨擊,事件愈鬧愈大,引發外交風波,作者陶傑本人被菲律賓入境部門列入入境的黑名單,而將來他若要聘請菲傭,也會受到相關機構嚴格監控。

  事後陶傑發表聲明,並在各媒體公開道歉,並收回文章的立場。他解釋,由始至終並無對菲律賓及其國民有不敬之意,"僕人國家"意指菲律賓奉天主教為國教,菲律賓人就是上帝的僕人,這個字詞,是在於宗教層面,而非貶低異國民族;並且說,英國也曾經被拿破崙形容為"nation of shopkeeper",他只不過抱著敬畏之心,把菲律賓當成像英國這樣的泱泱大國云云。

原文如下

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen onboard. We can live with that—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That's no big problem—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: There are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as HK$3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don't flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell everyone of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her Government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The Government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout 'China, Madam/Sir' loudly whenever they hear the word "Spratly". They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, "Long live Chairman Mao!" at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I'm not sure if that's going a bit too far, at least for the time being.

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