Zeitgeist is a German-derived word which can be translated as “spirit of the times” or “spirit of the age”. For this discourse, I intend to use the definition “the sign of the times”. Basically, this word depicts the prevailing climate in a society. Whether this refers to a moral, intellectual, social, economical, political, or cultural climate, the word zeitgeist can encompass them all.
It seems that many Pinoys were buzzing about the recent Youtube video titled “Filipinos™ tease Times Square”. The video flashed several famous Filipinos, the usual suspects like Manny Pacquiao, Lea Salonga, Charice, Cory Aquino, etc. From the way it was presented, it’s apparently a teaser video, possibly about a brand launching for the Philippines scheduled on Philippine Independence Day, June 12.
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It wasn’t even clear who made the video; whether it was a private group, or another initiative by the Department of Tourism (DOT). Ultimately, though, whoever made this video is of little consequence. What matters to people who are a bit more discerning is this: what are they doing this time around that is markedly different from the previous two (2) advertising campaigns which were duds?
A teaser is ideally a short advertisement designed to anticipate and make you more curious about the main event. Did they succeed at even that? Not with me; the only thing I got out of watching the video is an itchy head (read: kamot ulo). That brings up the obvious question/problem that, apparently, the DOT has never managed to solve: if they can’t convince their own citizens of the greatness of their advertising campaign, how in the world are they going to convince foreigners, who know much less about us than we think, to come here?
Naturally, this clip is intended to go viral, meaning to spread as fast as possible to everyone who has internet access. The only thing that will be going viral is the Pinoy virus of stupidity and mediocrity.
At this point I can just imagine many stupid Pinoys crying crab again. We haven’t even begun to criticize the content yet. There was no mention of tourist sites, no pictures of anything else remarkable. They merely provided photos of popular Filipinos. I’m guessing that the only two pictures there majority of foreigners would recognize are Manny Pacquiao and Corazon Aquino. Need I remind you that popular does not always mean remarkable. And what’s with the trademark (™)? Don’t you need to register for the trademark? Besides, does anyone actually think that anyone wants to steal the rights to a “brand” associated with mediocrity?
One more thing, isn’t there a blog called Definitely Filipino™ out there? Their name was flashed towards the end of the clip. I wonder if the folks over at that blog actually endorsed their name for this.
The bottom line is this: Pinoys have put much emphasis on the window dressing but they’ve conveniently “forgotten” once again to build up the product. Sure, we can toot our own horn all we want for the world to hear, but if we don’t have substance or credibility (and we don’t really have that much), who the hell is going to listen? Visitors may come, but with what exactly are we going to make them stay, much less come back?
A “Pinoys in Times Square” video depicting the Pinoy sign of the times. How fitting, indeed. And the pun is intended.
Let’s formally define what the Pinoy Zeitgeist is. For example, the Zeitgeist of England in the Victorian Period included a belief in industrial progress, and the Zeitgeist of the 1980s in the United States was a belief in the power of money and the many ways in which to spend it. The Pinoy Zeitgeist of the modern era has more or less been about one thing: the belief that popularity trumps hard work on any given day. It is certainly a charge of the idiot brigade being currently led by none other than our “esteemed” President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) himself.
The Pinoy Zeitgeist also expresses itself succinctly and vividly in the word Noynoying. When you hear this word, you can automatically recognize what it implies: doing nothing. It encompasses a belief in tooting one’s own horn without anything substantial underneath it. As long as one remains popular and top-grossing in surveys that’s all that counts. The hard work can come later, or not at all. One is said to be all form and no substance.
A recent example of the government emphasizing their form is the erection of walls for the ADB summit intended to shield the sights of the visiting foreign dignitaries from the reality of poverty everywhere else in the area. Let’s not forget, too, what happened when PNoy addressed the summit proper: blaming his predecessor Gloria Arroyo for the “problems” she supposedly left him with is not exactly a good way to make an impression on dignitaries. He keeps forgetting, “conveniently”, that he has been riding on the wave of the benefits only being reaped now from programs started by her. There is now every indication that the wave is almost gone.
Will the Pinoys ignore the sign of the times, as they have been doing for a long time? Or are they finally going to step up and say “Hey, let’s get to the real work of nation building!” To rely everything on PNoy and the government, though, is surely not the right thing to do. PNoy is merely but a symptom of the disease of laziness, aversion to risk, and general mediocrity that continues to infect Philippine society. The real hard work of changing our cultural character lies with us the citizens. Top-down approaches will not work; the initiative needs to come from the grassroots.
We’ve got to tear down the old termite-infested building to make the new one. In my opinion, the Pinoy needs to be chopped down to size, big time. Does it mean that they have to be humbled/humiliated on the global stage? Maybe. Whatever happens, whatever character and strength they have will show underneath. For now, maybe there’s nothing, but we have everything to gain from being “rebuilt”. We really don’t have anything much to lose now, do we?
А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. – But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.
17 Replies to “Sign of the times: The Filipinos™ tease Times Square video, and how it relates to the modern Pinoy Zeitgeist”
Hmm… The thing about Pinoys is generally they are inured to the conditions that prevail in their daily lives. They don’t see any point in changing anything at all with their mundane existence. As long as the mass media lulls them with acerbic or overly cheesy soap operas day and night they’ll find reason to go on, with nary a thought on what is supposed to be overhauled within the system. They will still generally elect not to use their brains to do so. It is too much of a chore for them. The Philippines becoming the 16th(?) top economy in the near future? Who the hell ever predicted this when most of its citizens don’t even give a rat’s ass what GDP is? I mean, you gotta be sh*tting me.
What could be more pathetic than a clueless nation that has false delusions on what their true national character is and one that doesn’t have any real vision? Oh yes. Don’t forget the kakistocracy that rules the land as well. Good luck to all of us!
No to be an ass, but I believe this is a failure as a tourism ad.
Given the video and placing myself in the shoes of a foreigner, why would I visit the Philippines because Pacquiao, Rizal, or Aquino lived there if I am not a fan or a interested in their history?
Of course, if the video instills a subconscious desire for me to visit the country, the failure starts should my flight land on NAIA 1.
yes, I totally agree with you. Well if I’m a foreigner and out of curiosity visited the Philippines and my flight landed on NAIA 1…I wouldn’t have nice things to say about the country.
If whoever made the video is trying to boost the country’s tourism..too bad. Philippines does need to badly clean up the airports, piers and transportation to the different places in the country.
An unavoidable fact of life: first impressions last. The NAIA for now is not succeeding at it. The teaser didn’t make a good one, and I’m a local. What more for a foreigner who knows jack about the Philippines.
The Signs of the Times in our country are the Filipino Bloggers. Whose Blogs and comments made sense. While the Public Relation people of Noynoy Aquino are hard on understanding that: we are already in the Information Age.
Hopefully, our Pinoy “spirit of the age” keeps moving toward belief in fixing cultural flaws.
Hyden, I find your thoughts rather interesting, do you keep your own blog, perhaps?
No…I am just a part time Blogger. I have two jobs, to earn for a living. I teach in a University in the U.S.; and I do research in a technical field.I’m a Technical man…My Blogging is just to help people, particularly the Filipinos. I don’t have any Hidden Agendas…If they believe what I write, Thanks… if not, then: that’s it…
I don’t know, but this ad seems to have a boastful air about it. I always thought Filipino culture was particularly boastful. And that boasting is done to make up for one’s fear of inferiority. I’d even hear some Filipinos encourage me to boast, and tell me it’s a good thing. I look down on boasting though, since it is usually a sign of bad character. This ad gives me that impression.
Well, boasting without anything to solidly boast about is the worst thing anyone can do. Many Pinoys are good at that. Unfortunately, how I saw the teaser is: “If you’re going to rely on just big names and not the substance of what makes the Philippines great, forget it.”
It’s actually ok to toot your own horn every now and then. You actually need to be good at selling yourself to get ahead. Like with all things, though, only in moderation, and in the right place.
Correct date should be 7.4.12.
Makes you wonder if we’re unofficially the 51st state.
Seems to me that all the negatives that can be observed locally are all lumped together.
“It seems that many Pinoys were buzzing about the recent Youtube video titled â€œFilipinosâ„¢ tease Times Squareâ€. The video flashed several famous Filipinos, THE USUAL SUSPECTS like Manny Pacquiao, Lea Salonga, Charice, Cory Aquino, etc. From the way it was presented, itâ€™s apparently a teaser video, possibly about a brand launching for the Philippines scheduled on Philippine Independence Day, June 12.”
What’s wrong with what they have accomplished? Maybe except for Cory, those Filipinos who were mentioned are achievers.
Could this one just a crude observation from you –
“The Pinoy Zeitgeist also expresses itself succinctly and vividly in the word Noynoying. When you hear this word, you can automatically recognize what it implies: doing nothing. It encompasses a belief in tooting oneâ€™s own horn without anything substantial underneath it. As long as one remains popular and top-grossing in surveys thatâ€™s all that counts. The hard work can come later, or not at all. One is said to be all form and no substance.”
Take note of the contradictions.
Where did I say that there was something wrong with what they have accomplished? Perhaps, except for Cory, they accomplished what they did through their own perseverance and hard work. What I was trying to say was that latching on “Pinoy pride” to their success and taking their individual success as a success of the entire Pinoy race is questionable.
Come on Trosp, you’ve been around longer than I have, and this false sense of “Pinoy pride” has always been one of the things about the Pinoy psyche that deserves to be hit hard. “Proud to Pinoy because of Pacquiao! Therefore I am entitled to greatness and I don’t need to work for it.”
Now that I’ve explained further what I was trying to get across, tell me if you still see any contradiction.
A common Filipino mistake is to stop trying to achieve greatness once someone with a similar background (Same Family, from the same region, from the same ethnic group, eventually from the same country) achieves something great.
For a starter, what do you mean by “usual suspect”? Nothing wrong with their accomplishment, heh…? And did you mention anything about Pinoy’s pride in your post about what they have done?
The answer is no.
Maybe I’ve missed it.
Are they your crude observation?
I’m always worried that along the way of the discussion, you’ll inject something like “it’s obvious it’s just a crude observation” thing.
And for finding contradiction, I’ve NITPICKED these from your post –
â€œIt seems that many Pinoys were buzzing about the recent Youtube video titled â€œFilipinosâ„¢ tease Times Squareâ€. The video flashed several famous Filipinos, THE USUAL SUSPECTS like Manny Pacquiao, Lea Salonga, Charice, Cory Aquino, etc. From the way it was presented, itâ€™s apparently a teaser video, possibly about a brand launching for the Philippines scheduled on Philippine Independence Day, June 12.â€
And this one –
â€œThe Pinoy Zeitgeist also expresses itself succinctly and vividly in the word Noynoying. When you hear this word, you can automatically recognize what it implies: doing nothing. It encompasses a belief in tooting oneâ€™s own horn without anything substantial underneath it. As long as one remains popular and top-grossing in surveys thatâ€™s all that counts. The hard work can come later, or not at all. One is said to be all form and no substance.â€
If they’re not contradicting, I’ve to recalibrate my reading comprehension ability.
BTW, what is my having been around here longer than you have to do with my comment?