screw the status quo. we need change and we need it now. we need not a leader who plays with words and public funds. we need not a leader whose years of service fall under the 'fiction' category. we definitely need not a leader who knows nothing. we require a leader who has conviction, who has the guts to change the seemingly unchangeable. we need... to prepare for 2007. Now.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wowowee...Why, indeed?

Got this article from Manila Bulletin. Again, as mentined here, there really is something wrong when we see some people at fault go free as if nothing gravely serious really happened. And it's really annoying to see people still supporting them. Are Filipinos really capable of self-inflicted amnesia? Are we people who never learn from our mistakes? Please read on...



If we are to believe the cheerleaders of ABS-CBN, the network brought back "Wowowee" because the public, or at least the loyal fans of the game show have been clamoring for it.

The reasoning reminds us of an incident on the day of the ULTRA tragedy itself: In a live TV interview with Julius Babao, Willie Revillame said that he ‘’wanted to push through with the anniversary celebration of the program because, in spite of the rising death toll outside, the fans inside the venue wanted the show to go on.’’

The logic left a bad taste in the mouth back then, and it continues to do so today.

Saner, more sensitive minds prevailed at ABS-CBN a month ago and the anniversary bash was cancelled. It was the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, the more asinine and crasser instincts of the network seem to have regained the upper hand and "Wowowee" is back on the air. Why? Because the people want it?

Imagine a world where people were given whatever they want. People would not have to work for a living. Children would be on perpetual summer vacation. Pedestrians would never use overpasses. Everyone would eat fatty food. Men would have sex with all the women in short skirts or tight tops they see. The television landscape of such a world would be filled with senseless soap operas, senseless sitcoms and senseless celebrity reality/game shows . . . without even the smidgen of real news we get now. Obviously, what is popular or easy or clamored for is not always right; and a network that puts a program on the air simply because people want it cannot claim to be a responsible broadcaster.

ABS-CBN might counter that there is nothing inherently wrong with "Wowowee." Not only is it a program that people want, they might add, but it is one that provides society with ‘’something good.’’

Here lies the crux of the matter. The investigations and commentaries on the stampede tended to focus on the culpability of the people who failed to prepare for or who mishandled the huge crowd attracted by the program. There were even craven attempts to shift the blame to the victims and to the economy.

Not enough was said, however, about how the show— "Wowowee" itself—should be held responsible for the deaths. Perhaps the concept of "homicide through reckless programming" is facetious, but we daresay that "Wowowee" deserves to be sentenced to death by cancellation.

Whenever we see Revillame, his co-hosts and dancers strutting and cavorting around the same "Wowowee" set as if nothing happened, we cannot help but feel the dull heartache that comes with seeing yet another lesson not learned. When we watch the very same segments airing on the show just as they did before Feb. 4, it is like watching a convicted killer go scot-free.

In our opinion, "Wowowee" debases and corrupts its game participants by encouraging them to perform in ridiculous ways on the show. It rewards greed and unruly behavior in the studio audience. It’s all about the money and it’s every man for himself. The lack of respect displayed by the production for the people around them seems to be echoed in the lack of concern the fans have for their fellow fans. Under the guise of giving people hope, the program teaches sloth and avarice. That other TV shows do the same is no defense. That over 70 people died should have prompted at least the consideration of guilt. Why is it if someone dies at a rock concert, the essential violence of the music is always held partially to blame? Shouldn’t we think when almost a hundred die trying to join a TV show that the TV show is somehow at fault?

ABS-CBN does other things very well. Which is why it is sad to see the entire network tainted by one show. ABS-CBN does not need "Wowowee." Advertisers don’t need "Wowowee." No matter how many people chant "We want Wowowee" outside the studios. ABSCBN can develop a hundred other game shows, much better ones, if it wants to. Why then is "Wowowee" back on the air?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Parang Sirang Plaka

There are certain signs that say we Filipinos, as a society, never learn from our mistakes.

We encounter natural disasters in a large scale yearly due to typhoons, landslides and earthquakes, we should have learned how to cope up with it, or at least minimize the loss of properties and lives. I don't know if it's due to overpopulation or poverty. Everytime a typhoon strikes, for instance, people from places we know are hotspots are always affected, whereas these people know that living in those places are quite dangerous. Also, most of us get really stubborn at times, insisting on staying where danger is to protect properties, yet endangering our very own lives. I guess it's due to the fact that losing property nowadays means almost losing everything. However, the government is much as fault here- for not teaching these people how to deal with these natural calamities every year. People will not return from these places, or at least, they will be cautious, if they are aware of the dangers they are facing. Information dissemination seem to be the essential factor in preventing damage caused by natural disasters- a fact that the government never seems to learn.

We endure the same political problems everyday. "Parang sirang plaka", like they say. Daily news wouldn't be complete without news about corruption, mudslinging, tsismis... basically information that people from the lower ranks wouldn't care for since we got our own problems to settle everyday. Whereas the solution is easy, to get away from bad politics, vote wisely- vote for those whom you think would give us at least something new for the next four years. Well, I guess this is one clear explanation why we, Filipinos, never learn from our past mistakes. We vote to higher positions clones of evil elements from the past, like Microsoft Marcos version 2.0, Adobe Erap 1.5, or Corel Imelda (the male version).

Filipinos got this tendency to get fixated to something where nothing good is to be learned. Take for example, gameshows. What do we learn from these crap? No, don't tell me we learn daily trivias that we can use daily. How on earth can we use information such as the first music CD ever made being Billy Joel's in our daily struggles? Filipinos do not learn how to strive through creative means like studying or starting up a good business in game shows. We learn nothing in gameshows but to rely on luck. And oh boy! What a means for most of our poor countrymen to cling on during these difficult times- to the point that they make it their only way of life, their only hope.

Gameshows, as they are, aren't stupid. In the US, they put it in primetime since most people coming from work find this entertaining, thus, boosting ratings for TV networks if you've got good or new concept for intellectual gaming. Put it in noontime slots, and there you got a network money machine that's good not only to boost ratings, but also to give false hopes of getting rich from scratch. Are these shows intellectual? Except "Game Ka Na Ba?", nope. Getting laughs from these shows remind me of getting laughs from a 1990s show "Tropang Trumpo", specifically that segment named "Battle of the Brainless". Let's face it, for these shows, making the contestants look stupid is pure entertainment. Demeaning and insulting, I should say. Too bad the contestants themselves aren't aware of it at that moment, while on TV.

Yesterday, I saw Willie Revillame again dancing and singing on TV. The untalented sack of tasteless ideas is back. I don't know why ABS-CBN insists on making him stay on TV, or what they see in this guy that make them believe that he's a good contribution to the Filipino society. To me, he symbolizes something: that big TV networks like ABS-CBN ignore the responsibility of being essential media for change in the society. Although unlikely and not in itself good, TV seems to be a good vehicle for societal reform- from it Filipinos easily learn and believe things they see on TV, since Filipinos are already boobtube addicts. (Even the poorest family requires a TV at home.) This, sadly, big networks ignore. Instead, they go for ratings. No matter how stupid a show could be, as long as it gets ratings, it gets the good timeslot. So what do you see on TV at noontime, targetting most kids from school and housewives? Wowowee and Eat! Bulaga. How about primetime? Telenovelas and Korean novelas. Where are the good shows? Morning and late night, when most are snoring or doing something else. If you don't have cable, you're doomed to these shows when you get home from work.

The return of Wowowee signifies that we, Filipinos, never learn from our mistakes. When I saw this show go live again yesterday, with people in the audience smiling and prancing around as if 80+ people didn't die for the false hopes that it brings never happened. I pity the families affected by this horrible tragedy- the society where they belong is on it's way to forgetting their loss. We can forgive the people involved in the accident, I believe that they didn't intend to have people suffer from such a tragic fate. But they should have learned from this tragedy that they teach nothing but mendicancy to these people. They should have taken this chance to lead a paradigm shift in Philippine TV- realizing that it is much better to teach people means for livelihood, rather than means to false hopes. Or at least, they should have acknowledged that the loss of these families mean that they can not go back again.

Seeing ABS-CBN talents, or to use their term- kapamilya, build up Wowowee's name also shows something really bad about most Filipino families. To put it in Tagalog: Pagtatakpan natin ang pagkakamali ng isang kapamilya, para sa kapakanan ng mismong pamilya.

Admit it. Seeing Wowowee on TV again makes one feel weird- as if there is something wrong about it. I'd say it's entirely wrong (and retarded, I should say. Teeheehee.) I'd say don't watch this show, but will I be heard? Most likely, the show would go on until another tragedy strikes, knock on wood. Until then, suffer the wrath of Willie Revillame's good for nothing crap.