Calling all Filipinos: Turn off the TV and start doing your homework!

It’s hard to tell if it is the timing of the phenomenal explosion of the AlDub fad or the simple fact that politics has just gone so far down people’s hierarchy of things to give a shit about. But just from looking at the sorts of things Filipino ‘netizens’ are tweeting about nowadays, politics and social issues no longer seem to be the hot topics they used to be. That’s not too surprising considering just how blah the presidential race is what with the three utterly uninspiring candidates that Filipinos are forced to choose from. Just sad.

To be fair to the incumbent President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III, back during the heady days of the 20009-2010 presidential campaing, Filipinos who supported him genuinely saw him (albeit misguidedly) as a beacon of hope. The vote and partisanship across all camps was passionate, and the campaigns were competitive in a relatively good way. The candidates who put up a heroic fight against the Yellow horde who propelled BS Aquino to the top of the polls were all competent and on fire!

AlDub star Maine Mendoza's pabebe wave... (Source: Twitter)

AlDub star Maine Mendoza’s pabebe wave…
(Source: Twitter)

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Sure, we lamented the same intellectual shortfalls in the political “debate” of the time — the lack of proper platforms, the same epal (grandstanding) approach to campaigns, the lack of a convincing debate between candidates, and an electorate that was all heart and no brain. As it turned out, Philippine politics was yet to hit rock-bottom. The presidential race today is an even more wretched intellectual wasteland than the previous one. Indeed, it was one thing, back in 2010, for a brain-dead electorate to choose the one unqualified and, ultimately, incompetent candidate amongst and abundance of excellent options then. But today is an even worse situation — the same brain-dead electorate is faced with a critical choice to make in what is essentially a bleak landscape of options.

It’s therefore not surprising that Filipinos have simply tuned out of their rotten politics. It’s a free market anyway. Why waste time keeping attuned to what is essentially a sad old story with a predictable ending — a presidential race being run by three uninspiring horses with the only thing certain being that one of them will win. That outcome in this instance fails the So What? Test. So what if Grace Poe wins? So what if Jejomar Binay wins? And, yeah, so what if Mar Roxas wins? What exactly differentiates one from the other two? Now that one is a head-scratcher.

Filipinos, however, now seem less inclined to spend the few months in the lead up to the elections scratching their heads over the blah-ness of today’s Philippine politics. They will, instead, be spending their days catching the best rubbish that the Philippine entertainment industry has to offer. And there’s lots to look forward to — if you’ve got a stunted mind.

...and the Filipino public who mimic their celebrities.

…and the Filipino public who mimic their celebrities.

That’s the trouble with the free market. It sounds good in principle. The big assumption that underlies the concept is that the “wisdom” of such markets will ensure that the most optimal emergent outcome will come about. But like the notion underpinning “democracy” that the “people’s will” is what is best for the nation, there is now ample cause to question to the wisdom of the free market for ideas in the Philippine setting. Just as it is evident now that the power to choose leaders that Filipinos have wielded for the past three decades failed to produce real results, the notion that a free market where producers of media products would be in fierce competition with one another for Filipino eyeballs would drive quality upwards has come to question.

Is it really wise to allow Filipino tastes to determine what sorts of television shows and cinema are served them?

That’s sort of like allowing 10-year-olds unlimited XBox time when they have mounds of homework due over the coming week. You cannot allow a free market to reign in a market that is ill-equipped to handle said freedom.

Democracy is, essentially, a form of government that assumes some level of intelligent engagement from the citizenry. In that sense, the intelligence of the citizenry is of utmost national concern. Intelligent voters are critical to the nation’s future. Indeed, the consistent failure of Philippine democracy to produce good results (in the form of good leaders and good lawmakers) for Filipinos owes much to an electorate and citizenry that lacks the intelligence to apply itself productively to getting the most out of this modern form of governance.

Topics 'trending' on Filipino twitter feeds attest to the Philippines' intellectual bankruptcy.

Topics ‘trending’ on Filipino twitter feeds attest to the Philippines’ intellectual bankruptcy.

The obvious reality that Philippine society is intellectually-bankrupt begs an obvious solution: there is a need to put controls on its entertainment industry where much intellectual capital is squandered. Why continue feeding an already dumb people with dumbing-down entertainment? It just does not make sense. Filipinos are poisoning their own well — the well from which their democracy drinks!

Today’s political commentators lament the appalling mediocrity of today’s presidential bets. Rightly so. But they fail to see the root of Filipinos’ dysfunctional taste in politicians. The three bozos currently running for president are mere products of Filipinos’ disturbing lack of any ability to think through their political choices, much more apply a serious mind to the task. How can they? The only affordable form of entertainment in the country — television — is an outlet of the most repulsive mind poisons. The opiates that TV screens flash at Filipino eyeballs all day reduce their audience to a vacuous lot of chattering, hyena-laughing dimwits. The “trending” topics in the Filipino Twitterverse are a sad monument to the things Filipinos find important despite the growing pile of “homework” — building a nation — that they are neglecting.

Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate whether Filipinos have earned their right to watch garbage on TV. Is it time to switch off the TV, unplug the XBox, and sit the kids in front of their desks so that they could get started on their homework? The alternative to that option is not a pretty one. What we decide to continue (or not continue) doing will spell the difference between a future of doing great things or a lifetime of flipping burgers at a McDonald’s joint.

[Photo of Pabebe Wavers courtesy GMA News Online.]

54 Replies to “Calling all Filipinos: Turn off the TV and start doing your homework!”

  1. TV entertainments in our country is some sort of Diversion of Filipinos. These TV entertainment programs divert their minds from: their corrupt government and government officials; from their polluted and rotting environment; and from their miserable lives.

    No good choices in the Presidential race. Same Old Trapos. So, we know what happen to the country; when one of them is elected…Same Old Shit, and incompetence. The political opportunists, which most of the politicians are; will flock to the winner. Another version of Aquino’s DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel Bribery will emerge.

    People will continue to leave the country, as OFWs. The same people who are stealing now, will be the same people who will be stealing in the next administration. Only, they will be joined by new thieves, of the new administration.

    The more things change; the more they stay the same…

  2. “Turn off the TV and start doing your homework!” – I pictured a scene in my mind of many Filipinos having seizures similar to drug addicts who are having withdrawals.

    (sigh) Who needs terrorists when we have such a society?

    “Democracy is, essentially, a form of government that assumes some level of intelligent engagement from the citizenry.” – So true and guess what, Aquino fans, Ninoy himself said this: “I believe democracy is not just majority rule, but informed majority rule…” (Emphasis on the ‘informed.’ Source: A Testament from A Prison Cell) Question: Are we informed enough to adopt democracy? Oops I bet some might say I am inviting dictatorship. Well, how about misinterpreting my comment by saying I am also suggesting to look for other ways. (This is one thing I learned about most Filipinos from the previous GRP articles: If you’re not white, then you’re black and nothing else) It’s about time to look back if democracy fits our culture and society knowing what happened to us for the past (almost) three decades.

    People, you want being called stupid stopped? Then you better indeed start doing your homework. Attending to your immediate needs is not really an excuse for not informing oneself. I’ve seen blue-collared workers who takes time to read whatever books, magazines or any reading material they can pick every after work. They are struggling PUV commuters, too, by the way and they too have diversions and watching TV is one of them.

    They really stand out. Not really as to how much they know but on how they ask questions, the way they reason and how they engage in a conversation. Anybody can tell that these people I’ve seen are doing something better besides watching ‘shallow’ TV shows.

    Some will say, “it’s good that it worked for you but it doesn’t for us.” Well, it’s all a matter of choice, people. Kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw maraming dahilan (at angal). It’s not about chasing a know-it-all status. Nobody can do that (at least, I have not yet met one and the ones that tried, well, they’ve gone cuckoo). It’s just a matter of choosing to be informed enough all the time. Why? Para ‘di naloloko at naiisahan basta-basta ng tabinging lipunan – And that should enough reason and motivation.

  3. I used to believed democracy is better than any other form of government , by the people , for the people and freedom of about anything that any one wants to do.. And that my fellow Filipinos is what’s happening in the Philippine culture right now ….. Too much democracy, to much freedom and total disregard of its own created laws. Everybody is free to do about anything they please and complain for the things that no one helping anybody anymore… Every one is on their own freedom to do just about anything.. That folks is the problem now in the Philippines. Maybe it’s time to dicipline it self but How??)) and by who will lead and install the iron curtain . I don’t think Filipinos will give up their freedom.. It will be survival for everyone they..will always be on their own..

  4. What Filipinos in the Philippines need to do is turn off the television, stop going to their cheesy Filipino movies, and start reading. If you really think about it, Filipinos were much more respectable and literate before television, and the only form of entertain was reading and listening to the radio. Filipinos are just trying hard to be appear modern, and too harried with life, than what is good for them and their country.

    1. Yes. I agree with you. Most Filipinos love to imitate their idols, do whatever those people say or make or do. For any reasons, and for any senseless ideas. Hay, how to end this nightmare? Especially kids these day. 🙁

  5. The reply to end all discussions is Penis.


    Shit humor aside, I blame all the “live in the moment to live life” bullshit people spout out. Yes, our lifespan is but a fleeting blip through-out the passage of time but that doesn’t give us the right to drag down the collective human race with us.

    If people would only think more of the future (in a world where screwing over others is not part of future plans that is) than the right now, perhaps they would have a different outlook in life.

  6. ‘reality’ TV doesn’t hold a candle to the real thing: it’s quite an oxymoron.
    I admit I force myself to watch TV in small doses, but I can spend more time on DW, BBC, TV5Monde, EWTN, AlJazeera but since the defunding of Australian TV on Channel 62, I miss watching Four Corners, tv investigative journalism at its best.

    But here in the Philippines, there’s no equivalent to the BBC or even Sesame Street, so the default is daytime zombie TV.
    Give me karaoke at the local eatery any time!

    1. ok then, I’ll give you a mic & karaoke and you could sing anytime like there’s no tomorrow unless if you live in Davao City, there’s a curfew that you could only do karaoke thing until 9 PM or else you’ll get arrested or pay a huge fine. Oh well, we could still see a bad Philippines unless if Duterte will become our country’s next president by next year then all Filipinos will become like Singaporeans, Japanese or South Koreans that are discipline, progressive, hopeful, strong and not-so “pabebe” attitude.

  7. People, This is a free country.. Is it wrong to make ones self happy for a moment? With all these problems that we have.. Chill out, have a break.. It’s obvious that you’re hitting on someone.. Good Day 🙂

    1. Frederick U. Frencillo,

      The problems that the Philippines is having now is because its people made a choice; and that choice is usually selfish and country-destructive. The whole idea of why people comment on this blog is “to hit on someone”—preferably a mental nerve and wake everybody up on the realit of things in the Philippines.


    2. Yeah, this is a free country alright and we’re free to tell someone they should use their time on other productive task ;-). After, is it right if I see someone walking towards danger and not tell him so?

      1. To add what OnesimusUnbound said contains things that we won’t learn from simply chilling out.

        1) “to tell someone they should use their time on other productive task”

        An example of constructive criticism.

        2) “After, is it right if I see someone walking towards danger and not tell him so”

        A show of concern for fellow man.

        And aren’t they supposed to be expected from one who lives in a free country?

    3. Make oneself happy? That is what got this country into deepshit in the first place.

      Of course he is “hitting on someone”, that is the general bobopinoy populace. That is the whole idea of the article.

    4. What did you just say? WHAT?

      That is exactly the problem, that Filipinos are constantly happy, constantly chill out and constantly have a break, 24/7, 365 days a year. Wtf?

      Enough of this shit!

    5. Yeah right free country and yet you failipinos abuse it. So we must be still happy while our country is still in deep shit? It’s like saying that we must still be happy even if your mom’s death has no justice. What the hell is your major malfunction you happy-go-lucky dimwit?

      1. we’re free to do anything that is a thing called “freedom” but not free from misery, poverty, idiocracy & crimes unlike in a country known as Singapore where the Singaporeans really use their TRUE freedom, just watch this youtube video created by the smart-ass & no nonsense singer/TV host, Lord De Veyra:

    6. Yes. But Maybe people these days are having LOOOOONG BREAKS. Lots of chillin’ out.

      I’m not against this blog, nor your comment. But it’s a disease Filipinos have to cure, sadly.

  8. It sickens me that Filipinos (not all, hopefully) would rather “be happy” by watching garbage on TV than actually “care” about political and social issues plaguing the country. They say nothing is going to change in our country anyway, so they keep their eyes glued on the screen and just be merry by whatever entertainment local media has to offer.

    Filipinos (ahem not all again, I’ve been accused of generalizing several times) have this “bahala na” attitude which simply translates that mediocre work is ok, f*ck excellence (thinking that nothing’s perfect anyway). In turn, media puts out shows that are nothing but the same old, same old, nothing creative, nothing informative. Then people are too eager to eat this up because it doesn’t require them to think anymore, just “enjoy” and “relax”, because you know, the current situation in the country is so depressing that they’d rather see and hear something that is more of a happy fantasy. Media is so good at targeting the emotions (heart) of its viewers, which then makes them use their intelligence (brain) less.

    So if you have a hoard of these emotional bobotantes, what does that equal to? Undeserving government officials whose only goal is to keep the power (and probably money) among themselves.

    It’s because these people could care less in doing their homework by actually thinking or researching who would be the best person to elect (let’s say for president), that they’d simply vote for the next biggest name and forget if this person is even qualified for that position. So yeah, “bahala na” lang ulit!

    Then here comes TV again, trying to ease the pain of all the crap that the government is giving to the people. So in order to forget all that stress, people watch TV, which just continues to entertain and dumb them.

    I think it’s a vicious cycle. Kawawa naman ang mga Filipino.

  9. Exactly, and you can feel it in the air. Nobody seems interested in the 2016 election.

    Actually, this kind of situation could be dangerous. It is like a bottled up emotion, a calm before a storm. PNoy could actually test it by having another Mamasapano type of mistake.

  10. Mr benignO, with nothing to except to suffer on traffic, politics, heat, flood, etc.. what alternative rest/recreation can you suggest to your countrymen except AlDub/Tv during noontime?
    SEX & nothing but SEX?

    1. Something educational for fuck sake!

      Would people die if they would not be able to watch this trash?

      If I’d have the power, all this garbage would disappear from TV for good. No wonder Filipinos have the I.Q. of a banana peel if TV stations piss and shit into their head all day long.

      1. With 20M Tweets wordwide, with CBCP, Cardinal Tagle, UP Professors giving positive analysid, and with thousands be seen during program etc., I can fully know Who is Trash and/or who believe in himself to be the institution kuno!! … Pathetic!!!

  11. Pretty boring if Marcos wasn’t in the race, isn’t it?

    There’s sound reasoning and then there’s fundamental attribution error. This website “attempts” to pin down the culprit for Filipino poverty in the following ways:

    1) “Hey look, they’re watching AlDub. That’s why Filipinos are poor.
    2) “Hey look, they’re dancing ocho-ocho. That’s why Filipinos are poor.
    3) “Hey look, they’re watching such and such soap opera or listening to this or that music. That’s why Filipinos are poor or idolizing certain movie stars.

    This makes for entertaining read, but it’s not science…just a bunch of people pitching in their gripes ever since their idol Marcos got booted out in 1986.

    Get Real? Try Get A Life!

    1. Is it really boring because Marcos isn’t in the race? Or is it because of the lack of a credible candidate? Get that fact straight first.

      You get real.

    2. Oh look another noytard attacking the author with his typical pro-marcos accusation. Is that all you can say mindless yellow zombie?

    3. I disagree that the author has made an attribution error. Your statements seem to say that it is Aldub and ocho-ocho that made Filipinos poor. Rather, Filipinos are poor and will stay poor unless they wean themselves from this mindless garbage. Right, it isn’t science, but it has to be pointed out. Sometimes, the solutions are so obvious and simple, it doesn’t take rocket science [though having a bit more science documentaries on TV (at lunchtime) would help 😉 ]

      I also do not see the connection between the Former dictator booted out in 1986 (29 years ago) and our present day gripes. If you can elaborate on this point, please do.

      1. I can see the connection and connection I see is this: Be careful of what you love to hate so much so that you want to pull it out from TV. One dictator did that, and when the young people who were deprived grew up, all the HATRED that built up inside of them led to the dictator’s ouster.

        GRP — I used to like your articles. But I notice you’ve been using aldub images lately to obviously catch traffic to your posts. Are you at a point where your articles can’t stand up on their own merit anymore that you have to resort to riding on the popularity of that thing you abhor so that you can gain readers?

        1. Just because you don’t like the photos in the article doesn’t mean the article doesn’t make sense. Aldub is relevant to the message of the article.

          Shows like Aldub are okay as long as TV networks balance their programming with quality content and more importantly, as long as the people do not take for granted the more important issues plaguing the nation.

        2. its never with the dictator to start with, its the people who have to change themselves for the better good, not just worshipping ALDUB all over the country

  12. ‘Kinda reminded me again of Martial Law where some radio, television and newspapers were closed. During those times, the people have no choice but to focus on work, study, seek progress or fight the government corruption and the so-called atrocities because there’s no teleserye or kalyeserye or celebrity cult to steal their attention.

  13. kalyeserye is a segment of EB that last only for 30-40 min. not a big deal, not a waste of time and worth watching while having a break.

    1. Itutulog ko na lang yung 30-40 minute breaktime na sinasabi mo. Babalik na ang focus ko sa trabaho at makakarecharge pa ang katawan ko.

  14. Man is able to snatch everything except one thing, the last of human freedoms: the choice of an attitude under any given set of circumstances to determine his own path.

    So, what can’t you take? Decide which of the two options is harder, and do the other. That way, no matter how hard your choice turns out to be, at least you can find comfort in knowing you’re avoiding something even worse.

  15. Well. You can lead the horse to the water but you can’t force them to drink. If being so serious in life works for you then maybe it won’t work to others. Even if those tv shows and gaming consoles never exist, still you can’t have the assurance that children will dedicate their selves to study hard or work hard. Entertainment is only a diversion for a so stressful life. Your so lucky that you can manage to balance your life without any diversion. Many people waste their time not because of those shows,Hindi b Pwedeng tamad Lang talaga… Just saying =)

  16. Had you ever read a tweet/FB message of Lea Saloga lately that we are so “mababaw” because of this? Well this is the reason why our country is still undeveloped unlike our Asian neighbors. 🙁

    1. Mam, I saw Lea perform at Drury Lane London in 1989 on one Nov weekend when Engg factories that we’re supposed to visit are closed. To pass the time, my boss (whose unfamiliar about Lea) suggested to “panuod ng cine” but I insisted to see Miss Saigon.
      How we got the ticket in such a short time is one big story but with the help of nurses there from Cagayan De Oro City.
      But all above is not the case in point.
      That was 26 yrs ago. Time changes fast and what was fad before evolves!
      Now I’m 67 yrs old. How I see AlDub KS unique, original, entertaining and purely Filipino.

      Just with Lea Salonga then (when audiences stood and cried after the show) , I’m also proud now of this new thing called AlDub Kalye Serye

  17. ” You cannot allow a free market to reign in a market that is ill-equipped to handle said freedom.”

    Filipinos need to understand there are 2 types of freedom:
    1) Freedom TO _______
    2) Freedom FROM _______

    The difference between them is worlds apart. The author is referring to type1.

    What Phil society needs is to give up type1 to gain type2; we can still become a Singapore someday – in fact it has already begun.

    1. Haha. Maybe the point is to grab the interest of the younger kids/ pupils. It’s like showing them ironman and benten. Children can easily remember lessons which captures their interest. Anyways, the post says it’s “truly an inspiration”, damn it. For what reason? Haha, I find it hilarious but sad truth. Some of us are still not growing.

  18. Filipinos are hardworking yes, but i guess they should change the meaning of pinoy pride by not posing pabebe waves all over the net. If only Quezon didnt say that he would rather see Filipinos run like hell, then Philippines would be like Singapore today. And yet sadly TV trends still hitting the nation hard

  19. You people…are too judgmental (too early)…you must have to have that wait and see attitude… Because you’ll end up…regretting to what you’ve wrongly exposed! Wait for sometime…then if it isn’t good for the public…then you may begin commenting into it… to correct them. Akala ko ba naman eh ROLE Model yang si Salonga…Destroyer pala sya. You can’t put good people down, you know? Nagbigay naman sya ng kangalan sa Pilipinas…Yes, Proud nga kami sayo noon ah…bakit ngayon, don’t you want others be also popular sa iba namang larangan? In fact, You should be the 1st person to understand ds kind of creativity of these people involve! Wow…and is evolving into some kind of a foundation to help others in need…especially the poor school children…etc. etc. God Bless us all.

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