The recent wedding of celebrities Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes was a topic of the town, especially with how roads were blocked off to “exclusivize” traffic routes for guests, and no less than the president of the Philippines’ presence at the affair. While both aspects were criticized for the inconvenience to others and mixed up priorities, there was another aspect seen that may reflect the country’s dysfunctions. As fellow blogger FallenAngel raised, it’s a government official’s wedding, they’ll be slammed even if they spent their own money. But if it’s a private citizen, many come to the defense. Perhaps even if the private citizen might be an embezzler or crime lord. As long as it’s someone famous.
Another part of the Filipino mindset is revealed once again, that Filipinos seem to be willing fantards for celebrities and “elite.” What’s the derogatory term? Starstruck ignoramuses. It’s a funny irony, too. Many Filipinos seem to hate the “elite” for the problems of the country, but other Filipinos seem to admire this same “elite,” or the actors and singers associated with them. They fawn over the romance stories of these celebrities as if this is the most important thing in the world, further demonstrating the tsismis dysfunction that is a stubborn part of Filipino communities.
Again, it’s the same old sickness of focusing on personalities rather than principles or platforms. But it also demonstrates the same thing that appears when Manny Pacquiao is in the limelight again and Filipinos shout “proud to be Pinoy:” they look for the temporary high that comes with identifying with a celebrity, rather than look for a long-term solution that helps them achieves the same status of that celebrity. They seem to feel good when Pacquiao wins a fight, or when a Filipina beauty wins a crowns or even comes close. It seems to be nothing more than the barriotic attitude of showbiz kilig.
It also demonstrates what former American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said:
The smallness of Filipino attitudes, like what I described above, this fantard drunkenness of showbiz kilig is what helps keep Filipino society dysfunctional. As Benign0 said, this showbiz kilig helps keep people “in their place.” Many Filipinos remain satisfied being the fantards of others while they themselves lament the status of their lives. Hence, we have many children who want nothing more than to be famous actors or singers instead of useful scientists and mathematicians, while their alienated parents work feverishly in other countries to try and give them that life. Another part of the problem is that the people who are supposed to be “intellectuals” and “educated,” or are even “activists” or “reformists” are actually themselves taken by this attitude of fantardism and showbiz kilig.
Thank goodness there are people with sane, civilized and great-minded attitudes who would have nothing of showbiz kilig. They know that showbiz is the worst place to look for people to admire and look up to, since it is nothing but entertainment. They are the real intellectuals, movers, doers and shakers. In other words, these people are not blinded by “heroes.” They hope that Filipinos idolize themselves instead of living stage props. Problem is, the small-minded Filipinos castigate them for being “mayabang.”
Of course, there are some people intellectuals admire, like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks, or others like Stephen Covey, Peter Drucker, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. But as I reemphasize, it’s not the person that is important; it’s the ideas that they represent and practice that are important. If we focus on the platform and not the person, that can break us out of the trap of smallness and bring us to the level of great-mindedness.
Getting out of our showbiz fixation is perhaps one of the major steps to take in actually making the Philippines into a great country.