What Marian Rivera’s fan base reveals about Philippine society

It suddenly occurred to me why Marian Rivera has so many frothing fans. It’s because she looks sosyal but sounds palengkera. The psychology there being that there is some sort of perverted appeal to seeing a person who looks like she comes from the colonial elite speaking the language of the masa.

marian_riveraYeah, I get it now. Marian Rivera is the embodiment of Filipinos’ collective nosebleed — the bright star representing the answer to the popular admonishment: Tagalugin mo na lang!

And so here we are, wondering all the while why Filipinos do not see the obvious solution to their ignoramity — to become part of the elite, one needs to learn the language of the colonial master. Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?

Apparently to da Pinoy masa the easier way to go is to simply sneer at English speakers and surround themselves in the comfy world of mediocre Tagalogdom. Rather than step up and embrace the language of global intellectualism, they embrace the dialects of mediocrity and assure one another that they are “special”. Marian Rivera is the idol that validates that aspiration.

Well, so much for that.

I used to cringe whenever I find myself in the midst of a din of call center accented English whenever I drop by certain Starbucks stores for the occassional latte. But now I realize that I need to give these call center folk a bit of credit. At least they consciously and deliberately worked on improving their English and productively worked with the hand dealt them. Yeah, of course not all of us grew up in a household that encourages the use of English. In a sense, those who did were simply born into royalty. Now I take my hat off to those who were born into jeje-land but managed to extricate themselves from that pit by learning how to speak English properly and can now hold their own in a conversation without suffering from “nosebleed”.

So, yeah, big difference, like the difference between that conyo kid driving daddy’s car and the self-made guy who graduated from Batino Elementary School driving a car he bought with his own savings.

As for Marian Rivera’s rabid fans? Well, there was something to be said about the way they continued to cling on to that notion of “royalty” following her “royal” wedding to Dingdong Dantes. Now there is also something to be said about how furious they are over the perception that their idol’s supposed archrival, Heart Evangelista, seems to have been given a free pass by the media and bloggers despite what was seen to be an equally ostentatious wedding.

Perhaps these starstruck serfs hadn’t noticed that there was a big national crisis currently on-going that tied up the bandwidth of certain bloggers they had expected would be saying something about Heart’s marriage to Senator Chiz Escudero. Or simply that strong points had already been made during that whole DongYan Wedding circus that need not be repeated again.

But, hey, this is the Philippines, home to the society with the flattest learning curve in the world. Certain lessons do need to be repeated over and over again. But like the proverbial seeds that land on barren soil, as that parable tells of, there really isn’t much in the way of results we should be holding our breath for.

What was the term some guy used to describe the Philippines some years back? A damaged culture I recall it was. True that. The Philippines does suffer from the mother of all daddy issues. Too bad many of us chose a Spanish-looking palengkera as their therapist. 😀


Post Author: Kate Natividad

Frustrated artist doing geek for a living.