Dear Manny Villar

First of all, I suppose congratulations are in order.

You are one hell of a salesman, good sir, and anyone who would dare claim otherwise is a liar.

Your approach to this electoral campaign is textbook branding. Every single commercial and television appearance of yours promotes only one message repeatedly:

I was poor, hence I understand the poor.

Never mind that you now have more than 15 subdivisions and a freaking highway.

Never mind that you haven’t been to Moriones in years, except perhaps to shoot one of those scenes in your commercial.

Never mind that you have not offered anything substantial in your years as senator and congressman.

Never mind that you have a constant influx of botox injections, rendering your eyes nigh impossible to keep open.

The fact that you were ONCE poor should be enough for all of us to root for you.

Just one thing, sir, if I may.

Here’s my teensy-weensy little message, from the bottom of my heart to yours:

STOP PANDERING TO THE POOR YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

Now I know that there are a lot of poor people in this country. I can tell you now that I’m two gas price increases away from actual poverty. I’m not being cute, too. It’s true. The middle class in this country is permanently teetering on a precipice.

But then again, people in the slums are not the only people in this country.

You keep telling us you’ll help the poor.

How?

By taxing us employees yet again so you can play hero with your feeding programs and dole outs?

Excuse me Mr. Villar, but real life is not your freaking Wowowee.

We can’t just all dance and sing and cry and beg on national television so some TFC subscriber will pity us and give us a fistful of dollars.

We can’t all just win Camella Homes, can we?

And no, sir, I don’t suppose you actually understand.

If you understood the poor, you would know that asking kids to hold up cardboard signs that say “gusto ko ng ulam” just to play up the sympathy card in your commercials is not appropriate, it’s downright obscene.

If you understood the poor, you probably wouldn’t be sitting there discussing corned beef techniques with none other than Mr. Argentina, Boy Abunda.

If you understood the poor, you would know that they don’t need dole outs handed under large banners of your name.

They need a chance to make their lives better, the same way you made your life better.

They need a shot at success, not your empty “I am one of you” rhetoric.

So please, Mr. Villar, reconsider your pitch.

Say something substantial, something concrete.

Otherwise, please.

GET OFF MY GODDAMN TELEVISION.

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Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 11:30 pm  Comments (51)  
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Capitalism – A Minor Rant

I’m kinda sick of people ragging on capitalism.

Granted, it’s not the best pitch in the world, but listen.

The truth is, we’ll never be equal.

NEVER.

Quit that communist bullshit, because there is no freaking way that this world will ever have total equality.

Why?

Because that’s the way the world works.

We’re born into different genders, races, with different skills, talents, etc.

There is no freaking way you can fully level the playing field.

Marx’s communist utopia blows. No leader, with all the people sharing the wealth.

Have you noticed human nature lately?

Unless we can find a way to make the innate competitiveness in human beings go away, we’ll never have an “equal” world.

It sounds crass, but capitalism is just a manifestation of human nature.

I don’t understand how people can constantly blame corporations for EVERYTHING.

We’re poor, we’re uneducated, etc. etc.

If you would stop playing “victim” and actually DO SOMETHING, things might change.

I agree that some people receive shittier lives than others, but that doesn’t mean we have to drop everything and DOLE.

Mendicancy is a problem we need to deal with.

We need to give people opportunities, NOT blame those who have more and force them to give to the less fortunate.

Government is another matter entirely, by the way; I’m only speaking of this seeming disgust the masses have for big business.

What I really want to emphasize is that no one owes anyone anything.

Government does, of course, but again this isn’t about government.

You can’t force someone to give up his hard-earned money just because someone else is less fortunate.

You have an issue with how I spend my goddamn money? FUCK YOU.

Honestly, I can understand how the obscene flaunting of wealth can be disgusting in a country filled with poor people.

But to say that they CAN’T buy what they want because there are poor people is STUPID.

It’s crass and tacky, but they’ve got all the right in the world to do what they want.

I don’t approve, but then again IT’S NOT MY MONEY.

Charity is good, yes. Volunteerism is good, true.

But to force people to GIVE UP what they worked for because others don’t share the same wealth is BULLSHIT.

Something to think about, you goddamn hippies.

Published in: on November 11, 2009 at 9:40 pm  Comments (6)  
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Lucky

I was so pissed yesterday, seeing as how the house got flooded inside for the first time in the more than two decades I’ve been living here.

Then I see everyone else, especially high school classmates who live in nice subdivisions, with entire homes submerged and I feel like one extremely lucky human being.

It would be horribly trite to be thankful for being spared when everyone else is still mourning or on rooftops waiting to be rescued, but I’ll say it anyway. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  We’ve been spared. Now we just have to find a way to give back.

Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm  Comments (2)  
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Ay, Horror! Or Why GMA7’s Rosalinda Sucks Harder Than a Vortex of Pure Suckage

I hate Geoff Eigenmann.

Seriously.  If there was a machine to measure my hatred for Geoff Eigenmann that could reach all the way up to 10, mine would score 11.

It’s nothing personal, of course, as I obviously do not know this Geoff Eigenmann person personally.  *Fans, friends, family of Geoff Eigenmann and Geoff Eigenmann himself would do well to remember this bit of trivia before attacking me in the comments section*

It’s just that given his pedigree, the man simply should have been born to act.  It’s like he’s the runt of the litter or something (I refuse to talk about that other Eigenmann abomination, Gabby).  With parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins who make up the bulk of the “Actors to Take Seriously” club in Philippine show business, one would assume that Geoff Eigenmann would at least be able to act his way out of a freaking paper bag.

But no.

Seeing him on television constantly reminds me of his unforgettable stint as human dish-rag/burn victim on an ABS-CBN soap opposite Heart Evangelista.  His battlecry, “Margareeeeeeeeeeeeeet” — burnt face contorted in what I presume he calls acting — will forever be the stuff of nightmares in my mind.

So why exactly did GMA7 pick Geoff Eigenmann to play Fernando Jose on its remake of Rosalinda?

Part of me thinks this is all part of a massive conspiracy plot to destroy GMA7’s primetime lineup once and for all, leaving Annabel Rama free to inflict her children upon an unsuspecting television audience 24/7.

But I digress.

Surely someone must have thought about this.  The casting director, maybe?  The producer?

A frightening thought, indeed, to believe that the choices that led to the Rosalinda cast involved some sort of brain work.  That, my friend, is a horror story in itself.

Anybody here who thinks Carla Abellana can act, please raise your hand now so I may shoot you in the head. Believe me, you’ll thank me for it.

She’s pretty, granted, and looks five times classier than local Marimar, Marian Rivera (“I feel byuti-phuuul!”).

But they might as well put a cardboard cutout in her place and no one would notice.  Seriously, I haven’t seen anyone underact this bad since I starred in a stupid movie project for Theology class.  Yes, I cannot act. Then again, no one’s paying me to.

Carla Abellana, on the other hand, is rolling in dough for doing exactly what I did for free in college.

So now the show has two pretty yet incapable leads with tons of non-chemistry and unsparkage between them.  It’s like an acting emergency crisis is what it is.

Couple this with an overacting Sheryl Cruz (who really should have given up after her career tanked post-Romnick) and we have an affront to humanity in our hands.

Why not just skip the show, you’re probably asking right about now. Two answers: (1) I am not answerable to you, anonymous internet commenter, and (2) it comes right before my favorite show, Adik Sa Yo.  I switch channels to escape the celluloid genocide that is Rosalinda and I risk missing Madame F’s antics.

So yes, I suppose watching parts of this show is inevitable, at least until GMA7 comes up with a strict and unfailing programming schedule. I do not mind accidentally watching the closing credits of Rosalinda while waiting for Adik Sa Yo, for as long as I never have to see Carla Abellana bat her barely open eyes at Geoff Eigenmann onscreen ever again.

Annyong Haseyo: Tales from Korea Part 4

Condensed version of my last two days in Seoul:

1. I had a grand time pretending to be Korean. After all, I’d already learned how to say some stuff flawlessly. These few phrases I’d recycle quite recklessly, coupled with bows and smiles all around. I suppose most store clerks figured I was Korean but retarded.

2. The transportation system in Korea is awesome.

3. Koreans are nice people when they’re in Korea. A throng of pedestrians actually stopped so we could take pictures beside Lee Min-ho’s standee outside Etude House.

4. The entire country smells like chili paste, which isn’t so bad.

5. Some people (yes, even the pretty girls) in Korea smell like unwashed gym socks on a hot summer day. That’s really bad.

6. I like kimchi, especially when it’s cooked.

7. Jajamyeon is awesome.

8. I like Namdaemun Market, but I suggest you save an entire day for that place alone.

9. Cosmetics are cheap in Korea. Real cheap. So cheap that I want to go back and buy tons of stuff.

10. You can borrow a hanbok for free at Gyeongbok Palace.

11. I look Korean in a hanbok.

12. Seoul is awesome.

13. I want to study in Seoul, specifically Yonsei, because it has the awesomest library in the whole freaking world.

14. Even academics have to make small talk, which is horrible. Because academics are not the most socially adept people.

15. I will have to go back. It’s a must.

Published in: on August 24, 2009 at 7:53 pm  Comments (8)  
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Annyong Haseyo: Tales from Korea Part 3

Day 3 of Korea was judgment day.

Presentation was in the afternoon, and I spent the better part of the day cramming. I’m just gifted that way.

Before I forget, the cultural show the night before featured a guy who looked eerily like Siege M.

Totally. Right, kids?
Totally. Right, kids?

So after cramming as much bacon as I can into my body, I finally had to deal with the preparations. We got into the nitty gritty hours before we actually had to present, which is not good, to say the least. But I guess that’s how most academics (including me) work, and I’m not really complaining.

How did we do?

We didn’t suck. We were practically un-sucky.  Indeed, I would say we most definitely followed the grand UP Asian Center tradition of not sucking.

It was great. The crowd (or, to be honest, the handful who attended the panel) loved us. No joke.

We were so glad we decided to celebrate at the nearest noribang (videoke), where I felt like Kim Sam Soon going crazy. The Koreans in the videoke house loved us and our wild voices so much we got more than 30 minutes free.

So now I’ve practically dragged myself back to the hotel room, where I trying vehemently not to fall asleep without packing my stuff. We have to leave this 5-star hotel tomorrow. Boohoo.

*PS: Noribang left me without a voice. Damn.

Published in: on August 22, 2009 at 12:25 am  Comments Off on Annyong Haseyo: Tales from Korea Part 3  
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Annyong Haseyo: Tales from Korea Part 2

Day 2 started a tad too early for my taste, particularly as Day 1 ended far too late.

Things have been pretty cool, though, with me exploring the gigantic underground mall beneath our hotel. Did get to shop like crazy at Skin Food (bargain cheap, unlike in Manila) and generally make a fool of myself with my pathetic lack of Korean language capability.

Still no freaking wifi in this place. At least none free that I know of.

In case you were wondering I did show up at the conference venue and it was pretty nice actually, listening to people and their occasionally laughable papers.

I did not like the mingling part, however, as talking to human beings really isn’t my strongest suit. I try to blend in as much as I can, but that’s not really easy in this land full of tiny kimchi-eating people.

The one great thing about this hotel and entire trip is — of course — the fuckloads of bacon I get to eat for free.

Hooray breakfast buffet.

Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm  Comments Off on Annyong Haseyo: Tales from Korea Part 2  
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Annyong Haseyo: Tales from Korea

So I’m in this limousine bus, traveling from Incheon to Seoul. First impression: it’s just like Manila, except a billion times cleaner. In which case I realize no, it’s not like Manila at all.

It’s been eventful so far, what with a drunk Korean guy getting thrown out of the flight I was on and one of the flight attendants turning out to be a high school classmate.

The old guy who sat nexy to me turned out to be pretty nice and left me alone the entire flight. This sounds horribly racist but when he leaned towards me and asked (with a leer, as it occurred in my head) if I was Filipino, my first instinct was to scream “I’m not a mail order bride!” and knee him in the nuts.

Which reminds me. I really should learn how to say “I’m not Korean” in Hanguk because everyone’s first instinct is to assume that I’m one of THEM.

I’m disappointed though since I imagined Korea to be completely wifi all over.

It’s not.

So this post won’t be fresh when it finally reaches you. Fear not, though, dear readers: my words have a pretty long shelf life. In the mean time I gotta stay focused and not accidentally join the korean mafia.

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 6:53 pm  Comments Off on Annyong Haseyo: Tales from Korea  
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Hey, You, Janet Hsieh! Pick Me!

So I was thinking.  Maybe it’s time to embark on a new career path.

It’s not that I’ve given up on my day job or my ambition to be a professor/relic hunter.  It’s just that I’ve recently heard of a sterling opportunity that no person with half a brain would pass up.

I’m talking about the search for a new co-host for Discovery Travel and Living’s Fun Taiwan.  In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, let’s just say that it’s one of the coolest travel shows in the world.  Like, yeah.

Hosted by MIT genius/polyglot/model/prestigious violinist/abomination in God’s eyes Janet Hsieh, the show takes viewers around Taiwan (and in a spin-off, around Asia), checking out all the weirdest things this side of the world has to offer.

[Caveat: why is Janet Hsieh an abomination in God’s eyes?  I don’t think I have to remind you that Janet Hsieh is technically perfect, and God hates perfection.  Don’t believe me? Check out the unrelenting pockets of fat that invade the most unsightly parts of your body and argue with me again.  I fucking dare you.]

So yes, the girl’s looking for a co-host, and I’m absolutely certain that there’s no better candidate for the job than *drumroll please* ME.

You’re probably asking (while simultaneously scratching your pockets of fat, of course) why I have such confidence.

See people, this is where you and I are different.

I’m not ordinary.  I won’t settle for being a VJ or some sort of glorified on-air countdown announcer.  Unlike people like Geoff Eigenmann, I have standards.  Pretty high ones, too, if you ask me.

But back to the matter at hand.

Why am I perfect for this job?

Because I’m totally not like Janet Hsieh.

I’m like the complete opposite of this overachieving, super hot, skinny, talented and extremely vivacious host.

Anyone who knows me can attest that I’m totally not like that.

I’m all about the underachieving, you know?  And it’s been five plus years since I’ve been skinny.  Talented?  Please.  I play the guitar like a pathetic four-year-old.  There’s no talent anywhere in this no-longer-skinny body.

Most important of all, no one — no fucking one — will ever dare call me vivacious.

I may seem chatty, but I clam up completely when forced to speak to strangers.  I’m just not the outgoing type, I suppose.  It’s all about the snobbishness when it comes to my social skills — or lack thereof.

Think about it.  Why would anyone want a Janet Hsieh clone to co-host?

Opposites attract — that’s a basic rule for both magnets and humans.

That’s exactly the reason why tactless Kris Aquino is paired with slightly-more-logical Boy Abunda.  That’s why Kumar has Harold.  That’s why Dolphy has Panchito.  That’s why Heidi Klum has Seal.

That’s why Maggie Wilson is lively and her co-host on Fit & Fab is deader than the gum stuck to my shoe.

So Janet Hsieh, you don’t want another uber-host.  You want someone with absolutely no morals, no excitement and no desire to entertain the viewers.

You need me.

Pick up the phone, dial my number and give me an offer I can’t refuse.

Published in: on August 10, 2009 at 10:54 pm  Comments (7)  
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Where Do We Go From Here?

Funeral’s over.

All that’s left are the lifeless formerly-yellow ribbons dotting parts of Metro Manila, sad posters screaming “hindi ka nag-iisa” and the confetti that should take a few more days for Makati street sweepers to fully get rid of.

It’s over.

Which begs the question: what now?

I have no doubts that the Filipino people were sincere in mourning the death of an icon.  I believe that the people who walked from Manila Cathedral to Manila Memorial Park loved and respected the former president.

The same cannot be said for some of the politicians who were obviously out there trying to charm voters with their stupid faces and even stupider gimmicks.  I would like to believe that there is a vengeful God, if only so He can smite them and reserve a particularly painful version of hell for them in the afterlife.  I can only pray that the people marked these douchebags (and douchebaggettes, I suppose) yesterday, making a mental note never to let these assholes run the government ever.

But I digress.

If there’s one thing we’re particularly good at, it’s making grand gestures.  We’re all about the symbolism.  We love a good dramatic finale.  That’s just how this soap opera country works.

The thing, though, is that finales don’t actually work that way in real life.

I’d argue that there isn’t an actual finale for any of us unless the Philippines ceases to exist some time soon, but that would be too apocalyptic.

Again, what do we do now?

Some people have suggested that we honor our dead president by renaming EDSA after her, which I believe — with all due respect — is an incredibly stupid idea.  It’s right up there with Jar-Jar Binks and drunk driving — you can’t get any more idiotic than that.

But that’s how we do things, right?  It’s all about the symbolism.

But that’s not enough.

Not this time.

The first time she led us towards freedom, we sat back after cheering, gave ourselves a pat on the back and left the government to sort itself out.  Meanwhile, we went back to our horrid, undisciplined ways, and nothing changed.

People Power did not fail.  We failed it.

We let everything go to waste, allowed the crooks to return and piss on everything we fought so hard to achieve.

This time, though, it might be appropriate to do something other than lapse back into mediocrity.

Now that she has united us for a second time, I suppose it’s only fitting that we hold up our end of the bargain.

The question, of course, is how?

It’s not simple, I know.  I don’t have an exact answer, either.

Do I go back to hating any television show that features Kris Aquino?  Do I sit back and pay the dead president lip service whenever the networks haul out their trite post-funeral tributes?

I suppose the answer really isn’t clear.

I do have an idea, though.  Maybe this time, we should try.

I know it’s stupid to put too much stock on “trying”.  Effort doesn’t really count for much these days.  The point, though, is that we’re not even trying anymore.

Maybe we got tired.

But if there’s one thing Cory Aquino left us, it’s her example.  We can’t all be presidents, but we can all be better people.  She was never a great president, but I believe with every fiber of my being that she sought to be a good person.

Maybe we should start with that.

Published in: on August 6, 2009 at 11:26 pm  Comments (2)  
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