Monday, January 05, 2004

A lot of Filipinos attribute our misfortunes as a people to the colonization of the country first by Spain for three hundred years, USA for fifty and the Japanese for three years. Maybe this is correct. However, it has been a long time and I believe we’ve been independent for many years now. We should have seen the light of day, so to speak. And yet, we are still suffering the spoils of a country whose culture had been marred by tyranny, miseducation, and the despoils of war.

Spain, ironical as it may seem, had used religion to suppress the growth of our own culture and oppress us through intimidation by plaguing our minds with guilt using the name of God. The US, on the other hand, used education to hide its own selfish motives. Subtly, the Americans, rather than making us a country of producers, had turned us as mere consumers. And to think we were doing good before the coming of these colonizers. We were actually doing good on our own. History tells us that our forefathers had their own religion, an organized government, and even exercised foreign relations by trading goods with them, etc.

However, this is not about history. I will leave that to my favorite historian, Ambeth Ocampo. This is about commercialism and consumerism. A few weeks back, some friends of mine went to see the concert of that Chinese (or Taiwanese) group, I believe to be known as the F4. Each of them paid Php5,000 just to see those “cute boys” in person. They practically went gaga over those straight-haired “singing sensations” (although I doubt it very much that they are). Now, I believe they are only a part of the thousands of fans who thronged to the concert. This makes me wonder, while our economy continues to plunge even lower, here we are ready to give away much needed cash to yet another foreign act who is actually run-of-the-mill..

What does this mean really? That we are ready for another invasion, this time not brought to us by force but sadly by surrender. Why? Unknowingly to most, we are surrendering our aesthetic ideal, and hence our culture, our soul as a people. Whether we like it or not, primetime TV has been invaded by Taiwanese soap opera stars. ABS-CBN went all the way to promote these shows until everyone was hooked. I remember the all out publicity the network has given everyday, right after the news to promote these Taiwanese stars. Some people have told me that this is because buying these shows is much cheaper than producing them. Fine! But what about our culture? Our own culture that is hitherto a bastardized version of where ever and who ever we copied it from. These so-called TV stars would not have been as popular as they are had they not been well promoted. This is a good example of the power of advertising. If only we can use the same to deter the masses from voting for FPJ and any incapable “presidentiable!”

While we try to sing foreign songs mimicking the accent and style of the singer, trying to play it on the guitar note for note and , prefer buying signature clothes, shoes, and equipment over locally produced ones, our culture, let alone our very unstable economy, is very vulnerable.

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