Showbiz ‘Bakya’ helps keep Filipinos Poor

Sorry, this #DongYan issue won’t die when people keep talking about it. Not just us. Other people, too. Actually, this isn’t about just “show of wealth” – which a wedding should not be (but that’s another topic for another day). It’s about what showbiz in the Philippines does. We write about showbiz because we believe it contributes to our society’s intellectual bankruptcy and helps maintain its dysfunctions.

Starstruck People

The basic thesis is in the recently reshared article about “starstruck ignoramuses.” Showbiz helps turns people into gullible zombies who blindly admire artistas and then vote them into office. These are the fantards who, after seeing their favorite stars promote a skin whitening cream, will flock to the malls and start buying these creams like crazy – probably emptying their wallets and going into debt for it. And when an artista is criticized, the fantards start kicking and screaming, calling the critics “inggit” (envious) and negative, probably throwing the classic “what have you done for the country” and “why don’t you support Pinoy Pride!” It’s even funny when supposed intellectuals themselves come to the defense and defend “showbiz kilig;” what an irony.

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All the while, many of them refuse to participate in necessary political processes, citing “sayang ang oras ko diyan” (my time is only wasted there) – even if these processes are supposed to lead to solutions that address their concerns voiced as “ang hirap ng buhay” (life is hard).

Showbiz is full of lies, deceit and hype (like politics!). Back when I was with a showbiz magazine, I heard a sexy actress say in an interview, “nadudumihan ako” (I find it dirty) about the showbiz world. While there may be clean actors and actresses, it doesn’t do anything to change the impression that Philippine showbiz is a very dirty industry. Many scandals and propaganda plague showbiz (a popular topic being sex tapes), but unfortunately, it does little to destroy the illusion of its supposed glamor and prestige.

Some might even be surprised to note that show business is rife with drug abuse. Of course, many fans may have forgotten that many actors and politicians have been apprehended for drug possession. Some like Dennis Roldan fell not only into politics but crime. But it seems that even the do-badders from showbiz will have their fantards.

Of course, what I point out is that the kind of admiration showbiz fantards have for their idols is akin to cult members slurping the toes of their leaders. Showbiz works on a personality cult basis indeed, but in the Philippines, the cultists are made to believe their idols are gods. Any sort of criticism or “negative” treatment is anathema! Thus, my assertion that Filipinos are actually willing subjects and slaves, Renfields to the country’s Draculas. A people willing to be held by the neck hoping it will help them eschew responsibility and achieve perfect comfort without trying.

Jan 2015 addendum: Just to demonstrate, I recalled this picture from the controversial Bench fashion show earlier. Sums up in a picture the relationship between Filipinos and their celebrity idols.


And seeing how showbiz celebrities are treated, no wonder many Filipinos want to become showbiz stars themselves!

Of course, there are the problems observed with the content. Philippine TV and movie dramas are criticized not only for being cliched, but for bringing the wrong messages across, such as implying that it is wrong to be a thinking person or that selfish melodramatic behavior is OK. They perpetuate many myths, and thus, the viewers are encouraged to behave primitively and accept mediocrity. And don’t forget the various idiocies that game show and “variety” (wowowee) entertainment have.

Just remember, showbiz is showbusiness is business. The showbiz companies only want the hapless fantards to shell out money to make them or their partners and sponsors rich. This is necessarily not bad by itself, but Filipino society’s obsession with showbiz has helped keep it poor and backward. Showbiz helps maintain the class divide in this country. And when you look at the concept of value, getting the right bang for your buck, Philippine showbiz fails. Aside from the bad quality and wrong messages of the shows, the star system also turns intelligent people into simpletons and conditions fantards to become willing subjects.

What we need is the right education and media reform that will stop Filipinos from getting dumbed down and will be more encouraged to think, ceasing to become starstruck peasants waiting to fetch a stick at the command of their famous “masters.” Filipinos really need a wholesale change in attitude. They need to throw aside showbiz kilig and start demanding better, more intellectual elements in Filipino entertainment content. Stop sanitizing bakya and start building, rather than killing, brain cells.

14 Replies to “Showbiz ‘Bakya’ helps keep Filipinos Poor”

  1. There was one time I was riding a UV Express van. This was during the Vhong Navarro brouhaha. I was on my way to work. The driver had an AM radio programme on, which aired the daily morning news. The first two segments of programme was about, well, news (local and international). Nobody was paying attention. When the last segment came on (you guessed it right, showbiz!), the first item was that of Vhong Navarro. Suddenly, the atmosphere inside the van went 180-degrees. Nearly everybody (except me and probably 2 others) went like “Haaaaaa?! Ano nangyari kay Vhong?!”

    1. Ha! Oo nga. This is so true. Most of my officemates wont give a shit about what is happening around us, pero pag dating sa showbiz laging updated. It always makes me wonder kung bakit hitik na hitik sila sa mga ganung balita, updated sa mga buhay ng idol nila na mga wala namang pakialam sa kanila.. Haha!

    2. I myself would have been guilty if I were there. But that’s not such a bad thing for me. The key for me would be balance between good programs and entertainment. It is possible to have both. Its just that the creative managers running these shows are “kabaro” of the bakya crowd. I guess when their KRAs are evaluated, it would have just 2 items: ratings and profit.

      I am really annoyed whenever I hear the line “Katotohanang magpapalaya sa bayan…” repeated over and over. I could substitute other words for the first two words of that line to more accurately depict what that corporation is really about. I’ve seen a lot of news twisted, and I could say I’ve seen how the corporation has transformed this society.

  2. Chino f, my sentiments exactly. I have an idea, why not start a documentary series instead? The subjects are endless. This may stir the obsession with show biz into more intellectual program and present the reality. Why it takes us foreigners to make documentaries of your country is beyond me.

    1. I like documentaries. There have been a few documentaries before, like this thing about child labor made in the 1980s. But as I said, they’re cerebral, something that Filipinos shy away from. And if documentaries reveal certain ugly truths about the country, they will be suppressed.

  3. “Screw cerebral” is a Filipino standard. When I was a kid I was watching Sesame Street (the original English programs, not the dumbed-down Tagalog versions), the neighorhood kids were playing basketball and talking about how much they loved whatsisname Ginebra coach. Still can’t talk anything cerebral with them, and it’s been 30 years.

  4. taena mo benigno, ind mo tinackle ung OA na pilipinong masa sa pagsalubong kay POPE. palibhasa katoliko ka, kitang kita nmn parang naging kulto n ang katoliko mxado OA. palibhasa bading tong author e showbiz lng hilig i tackle.

    1. Your comment seems to be of no substance and if you think that this site is not writing that then you might consider using the search box.

  5. Showbiz ‘Pa-Sosyal’ and ‘Pa-intellectual’ helps keep Filipinos Poor!

    Why put the blame on the so-called ‘Bakya’ crowd? Why call them names when in reality they are not the problem!

    Perhaps unlike the privileged few, many of these ‘underclass’ have limited education, not all are not proud owners of TV sets with cable subsriptions, not everyone have smart phones and computers that can give them access to the information superhighway thus opening them up with a wider education.

    The problem is when you fail to recognize that the supposed problem is not really the problem to begin with! It’s not a question of ‘Is it the chicken or is it the egg?’ But who holds the Power? Who has the machinery and the resouces?

    Think about what’s you stated:

    “Just remember, showbiz is showbusiness is business. The showbiz companies only want the hapless fantards to shell out money to make them or their partners and sponsors rich. This is necessarily NOT BAD by itself…”

    The power to decide what to create, what to produce, what to put out in the open is not in the hands of the “Bakya’ but are in fact decided and dictated by these Almighty Big Brother Businesses (famous “masters” in real command)! Economy or Quality? They have to work it out how to balance that. That is their problem! (Think Illac Diaz’ Social Entrepreneurship! provided us some clues!)

    The ‘Bakya’ is not producer of those ‘idiocrasies’ mentioned but rather on the receiving end. They only have the voice! And the strength…in numbers! One way or another, we owe it to these faceless crowd for keeping the social institutions, and partly, the economy, alive. They are the backbone of the society for even the so-called sound and sane ‘Intelligentia’ among you will go nuts without the support of these unsung working-class heroes!

    1. While it may be true that the “Bakya” people don’t have cable subscriptions, they have access to internet via computer shops. I see tambays in the computer shop playing DoTA or LoL (or something similar) and some watch the local telenovelas in YouTube. So if they really were not into these telenovelas, they could choose other more intellectual videos. But no, they choose to watch our cliched local telenovelas.

      Also, the local telenovela audience is not limited to the “bakya” people. I myself work in a multinational company and I hear people gossiping about the latest teleseryes. Which means even the middle class puts up with the crappy quality (not all though. Some watch anime and American Series like Big Bang Theory)

  6. That’s why its called “idiot box”. It speaks for itself. Television is not intended to educate the people but its main purpose is for entertainment purposes. If you want those big networks to air educational show, do you expect people to watch it. C’mon, as if you find going to school exciting.
    For those you called “Bakya” crowd, try to let them watch nat geo and discovery channel if they can stand it. Language is a big barrier and you know that not everyone can understand english. Considering that Philippine showbiz is really a disgrace, how about American showbiz? Lots of their series never fail to show obscene scenes and dialogues.
    If the main purpose is really education, I hope you don’t buy a television instead of books to aid them in their learning. Or better yet just don’t turn your tv on.

  7. i agree with you, most of the Filipinos especially the teenagers, admire or watch a certain reality show that it come to the point that they audition for it even though they know already that the reality show is scripted especially their audition… and still people especially teenagers watch and audition for that reality show…. you know what reality show am I talking about ahahahahaha….

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