Ellen Adarna, Derek Ramsay under fire over display of Philippine flag vs neighbor’s Chinese sign

January 31, 2023 - 12:43 PM
Left photo shows Derek Ramsay hanging a Philippine flag while a Chinese sign is displayed outside their neighbor’s house. Center photo shows Ellen Adarna and Derek. (Screengrabbed from Ellen Adarna/Instagram story; Derek Ramsay/Instagram)

Celebrity couple Ellen Adarna and Derek Ramsay received backlash online after hanging a Philippine flag while a Chinese sign is displayed outside their neighbor’s house.

“I like the view [three laughing emoji] #proudpinoy Patriotic [laughing emoji] @ramsayderek07,” Ellen wrote in an Instagram story on Monday, January 30. 

In the Instagram video, the actress chuckled as she zoomed in on the sign with Chinese symbols. This was installed in the entryway of their neighbor’s house.

In a separate Instagram story, Ellen posted a video of the flag hung by his husband while the Philippine national anthem was playing in the background.

Chinese couplets

Some Filipino-Chinese online users have identified that the red papers with Chinese text spotted in the video posted by Ellen are Chinese New Year couplets. 

According to an online user, the Chinese symbols featured in the video roughly translate to: “May good luck arrive at these doors each year. And may all things be gradually fulfilled to your heart’s desires.”

Couplets feature a “pair of poetry lines vertically pasted on both sides of the front door and a four-character horizontal scroll affixed above the doorframe.”

Even before the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC), it has been a Chinese custom to hang peach wood charms on the gates of homes to drive away evil spirits during the spring festival.

During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), couplets were written on red paper instead of peach wood.


Some social media users found the actions of the celebrity couple malicious and “racist.”

“Putting up a Filipino flag and saying # proud Pinoy to alienate the Filipino-Chinese is not the serve you dimwits think it is,” an online user tweeted

“There’s a fine line between being proud of your heritage and being racist,” a social media user said

An online user also stressed that there is nothing wrong with hanging a flag in the house but she questioned the couple’s intention. 

“Kitang kita sa video na they hang the flag to mock their neighbors who were just celebrating cny (Chinese New Year); those strips were about goodluck. Its just pure disrespect,” the online user said

Others also said that patriotism goes beyond hanging a Philippine flag. 

“Surface-level ‘patriotism’ is when you feel the need to put up a Ph[iliippine] flag over a harmless Chinese sign but are mum on instances when there’s an actual need to stand in solidarity with our fisherfolks who are being bullied by the Chinese Coast Guard,” a social media user wrote

“There are many other ways to be proud of being Pinoy (like choosing leaders wisely?). For me, there’s malice in putting our flag as a distasteful gesture to a neighbor who must be simply celebrating the Spring Festival? Call out the government, not the people,” a Twitter user said

Filipino-Chinese actor Richard Juan reacted to the Instagram story and expressed frustration over the celebrity couple’s action.

“The sad truth is, despite HUNDREDS OF YEARS of history in the Philippines, it’s the unwelcoming actions like this that make us Chinoys feel like we STILL don’t belong here,” the online and tv personality wrote

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