The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mahilig Ka Ba sa Showbiz?

(On the Basic Human Need to Have Social Icons)
by aLfie vera mella

(published in the December 5-20, 2007, issue of Filipino Journal, a Winnipeg-based newspaper)

Aminin mo na! Huwag ka nang magpa-sosyál. H’wag kang mag-alala; hindi kita lalaitin o pagtatawanan. Wag ka nang mahiya na malaman ng buong mundo na mahilig ka sa showbiz, o di kaya’y meron kang iniidolo o minsang hinangaang mga artistaMary Walter; Ric Rodrigo; Walter Navarro; Dondon Nakar; Nora Aunor; Dolphy; Low-Waist Gang; Niño Muhlach; Bentot; Pepsi Paloma; Tetchie Agbayani; Julie Vega; Wengweng; Palito; Cachupoy; Panchito; Kuya Germs; Regal Babies; Liberty Boys; Tito, Vic & Joey; Streetboys; Robin Padilla; Andrew E; Freddie Aguilar; Viva Hotbabes; The Hunks; Ann Curtis; o Heart Evangelista?

Ching Nolasco-Calayag, FJ columnist aLfie vera mella, and Charina Corbillon with Filipino stars Piolo Pascual, Marietta "Pokwang" Subong, Sam Milby, and Pinoy Dream Academy participant Kristoffer Abrenica of Winnipeg; October 26, 2007, postconcert dinner at Buffet Square

Haynaku, kung ililista ko ang lahat ng mga artistang Filipino—mula noong tambalang Carmen Rosales at Rogelio dela Rosa ng 1950s, Gloria Romero at Eddie Gutiérrez ng ’60s, Guy & Pip ng ’70s, Dina Bonnevie at Alfie Anido ng ’80s, Judy Ann Santos at Wowee de Guzman ng ’90s, hanggang sa kasalukuyang loveteam nina Toni Gonzaga at Sam Milby—e siguradong kukulangin ang isang buong papel ng listahan.

Peek at the Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous
Nothing is embarrassing or degrading about having a keen interest in showbusiness happenings, or about idolizing (or should I say, admiring) particular artists—whether actors or musicians. This interest is a natural human tendency—a hidden desire to peep into the kaleidoscopic lifestyles of the so-called rich and famous, or the need to find personal icons who will inspire us on our own endeavors or who will personify our own aspirations and realize our fantasies. Yes, nothing is wrong with all these, as long as this “stargazing”—just like any other preoccupation—does not affect us in a negative way. For instance, we should not find ourselves spending our meal budget on concert tickets, prioritizing TV shows over homework and other chores, or worst, emulating the misdemeanors or extravagant spending habits of such public figures.

Not Only Filipinos
I usually hear comments that mock the fondness of many Filipinos for movie stars, telenovelas, loveteams, and other showbiz-related stuff. On one hand, this is true, but nothing should be surprising about it. Every country has its own version of Hollywood, and this only means that showbiz is a lucrative business; and without patronizers there would be no showbiz at all. Therefore, showbiz and fans exist in every corner of the world, not only in the Filipino culture.
Haven’t you seen on TV the number of North Americans who go gaga every time the search for the next American Idol or Canadian Idol is on? Ever heard of Bollywood – obviously India’s version of Hollywood? Didn’t you know that Korean telenovelas are popular not only in the Philippines but also in other Asian countries? Here in Canada, have you tried watching MuchMoreMusic and see how many screaming fans gather around the music television’s homebase in Toronto, Ontario, every time Rockstars like Avril Lavigne and Nelly Furtado are in the house? Moreover, if we include sports as a part of showbusiness, then we should have to include the throngs of jersey-clad Canadians who talk endlessly about hockey or football whenever either sport is in season. Basketball or curling fan, anyone?

In the mid-’90s, with a Viva Records–produced album on our sleeves, I and my former band Half Life Half Death had the chance to trot alongside some of the popular Philippine stars of the decade: Regine Velasquez, Michelle van Eimeren, Jaimie Rivera, and Pops Fernandez.

The Hollywood Syndrome
In every culture exists a social phenomenon which I will call the Hollywood syndrome – the need of a society to identify with so-called social icons, or famous personalities (even infamous ones, and not necessarily movie stars) whose lives have become—for whatever reason—public items or commodities, making them powerful and influential but also exposed and vulnerable at the same time. To ordinary people, these public figures serve as role models, realizers of fantasies, shock absorbers of angst and frustrations, scapegoats or objects for displaced emotions, and epitomes of the best and the worst. They are admired, adored, loved, ridiculed, scorned, scrutinized, and regarded for any public act of compassion or blamed for any simple misdeed and, worse, for the world’s moral deterioration.
After all, social icons have more and better means of pursuing what ordinary people can only fantasize about. We like watching our favorite stars walk on the red carpet of fame, with hundreds of fans indulgently screaming behind them. We like witnessing our favorite teams winning every game in flying colors. We love having the chance to peek at their extravagant lifestyles, hundred-acre estates, hoards of jewelry, priceless wardrobe and vehicle collection—expensive assets ordinary people only dream about. On other days, we may secretly enjoy seeing them fail in their relationships, break the law and find themselves incarcerated or at least publicly humiliated, self-destruct because of drug abuse and other excesses. Yes, we praise them for adopting a homeless dog yet curse them so easily for deciding to give the same dog away.


So that when they are successful and able to achieve the seemingly unachievable, we may feel that indeed nothing is impossible, and that we too are capable of reaching the seemingly unreachable. So that when they succumb to their follies, wallow in their miseries, or drown in their failures and downfalls; we may feel less guilty of our own foolishness, less alone and lonely in our own sadness, and less pathetic and miserable with our own misfortunes.

Sa Madaling Salita
Ikaw, ako, sila, malamang lahat ng tao—anuman ang lahi o paniniwala—ay may satispaksyóng nakukuha sa larangan ng showbiz. Interesado tayong masubaybayan o masilip man lang ang buhay ng mga hinahangaan o kinamumuhiang mga personalidád—artista man ang mga ito o kilala sa ibang tanghalang gaya ng sports o pulitika…

Because we all need social icons who would mirror our own vanities and reflect our own follies.


  • At Friday, February 08, 2008 10:45:00 PM, Anonymous shayleigh said…

    "Because we all need social icons who would mirror our own vanities and reflect our own follies."

    I like that part cos it is true. Sila ang bumubuo ng ating pangarap, naglalarawan ng kung ano ang nais nating maabot. At kung sila'y magkamali sila din ang huwaran natin sa pagbangon at maiisip na sila ngang kilala ay nagkakamali, tayo pa kaya... tipong ganun... :D

  • At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 12:47:00 AM, Anonymous eudel said…

    kuya, gwapo si papa p? gusto ko din siya makita hehehe:)

  • At Sunday, March 24, 2013 2:37:00 PM, Anonymous rainbow said…

    Yes i follow the short yet happy lives of fifteen minutes stardom of showbusiness. The glory days of the silver screen that never fades like diamond star ms.Maricel Soriano...Once upon a time there was this petite and sparkling star i begun to idolized since then.She was the best and the most versatile actress and reached to a point of imitating her lines from her movies evertime i had arguments with my classmates..
    Until one day viva films launched a new star to beat my idol . I heard she was a singer and came from a very sosyal clan and a big threat to maricel.-That her name was Sharon Cuneta.


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