Tuesday, September 16, 2003

As if Things Weren't Bad Enough

I woke up bleary-eyed and hankering for my second breakfast. Mom was watching the telly with the Maid. And like a dry sponge, I soaked the program up too. And felt my IQ fluctuate, dropping from ___ to 30 in the long minutes it took for my body and mind to synchronize. I suddenly remembered why I don't watch local noonday variety shows.

They've got kids dressing up as members of F4 now; kids singing (and badly, at that) F4's songs, whose lyrics same kiddies do not understand, as these lyrics are all Chinese. Bad enough that the tv show already had a segment entitled sommat like "Feeling F4," which featured young adult males aping the chinovela stars in what were intended to be glamor poses...

Are times so hard that people are now doing really dumb things for a buck?

Wait. Don't answer that. I already lived through segments called "Conan the Beautician" on the defunct Sang Lingo nAPO Sila and "Jackass" on MTV.


Doesn't it bother the local viewing public that they used to not watch Chinese shows on RPN Channel 9's "Beautiful Sunday?" (I was an avid fan in my childhood. Shocking!) That they used to laugh uproariously at all the Bruces Li, Lei, Lin and their movies ad nauseam? Or call those slant-eyed students from Xavier unflattering names? Granted, that people from Xavier make steadfast friends and that people like Ang Lee and Donnie Yen have done wonders for Chinese cinema. But doesn't the viewing and buying public ever notice how utterly stupid it looks, surrendering its will to its prejudices and fads, as well as to the jerks who trot out new prejudices and fads for us to swallow?

There's a reason why the Fil-Chinese community is perceived to be rich enough to draw the attention of gun-toting kidnappers (Bang! Bang! Budda-budda! PING!). The locals used to deride the Chinese taho (tofu) vendors, the noodle-makers, crockery salesman and merchants back in the day. These residents of the Parian took the abuse with a smile. They also took the locals' money, as the non-Chinese had to pay for all the taho, the noodles, the crockery and the gahstly decor they conspicuously consumed.

Now, the locals' descendants work for Henry Sy.

We all laughed at our Fil-Chinese at one point or another in our lives. Yes, we called the transferee from Xavier unflattering names. Very few of us bothered to look at them as people, or respect their contribution to Philippine life (No Chinese, no Ma Mon Luk!). Our ancestors excluded them from social circles, penned them and shot them when their numbers threatened to inconvenience narrow minded people in power. We stereotyped them, cruelly lampooned them in our movies and tv shows.

Along came F4 and Barbie Xu. Along came their concert entitled simply, "The Event."

Guess who bought up all the tickets. Guess who wound up begging to get in.

We can learn a lot from our Fil-Chinese.

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