Crying Your Way to Fame and Fortune

Monday, August 22, 2011

I was watching the local edition of Junior MasterChef last Saturday night and was quite surprised that many kids there were crying and laying out their sob stories.

Those sob stories were the usual ones you hear on Wiltime Bigtime and Happy Yipee Yehey. The pity-me-I’m-so-poor-my-family-has-nothing-to-eat kinds of ramblings. One girl shared her sob story which went something like, “Nagkasakit ang nanay kaya ako nalang ang nagluluto para sa mga kapatid ko”. (Mom got sick so I’m the one left to cook for my siblings.)

I felt giddy rather than sympathetic towards those kawawa kids. So what they’re basically doing is trying to win sympathy votes from the audience to boost their appeal. If that’s the case then put your pots and pans down and cry away. After all, you’re going to be judged on how miserable your life is, not on how well you cook. It also made me want to show up at the studio, hit those kids’ heads and say, “This is a cooking show, not a soap opera.”

On the other hand, the kids in Junior MasterChef Australia just cooked and involved no tears and sob stories. Maybe it’s a good idea that there be no Philippine edition of Hell’s Kitchen. Let’s see if the onion-skinned-ness and being melodramatic of Filipinos can put up with Chef Gordon Ramsay’s ruthless criticisms, kitchen tantrums and fluency of the F word.

Which made me think, just what is it with Filipinos' thing for sob stories? In programs such as Wiltime Bigtime, there's the “awa" system wherein you're judged by how pitiful your life is and not by how talented you are. During one episode, a woman in her late 40’s began crying away because she can't support her twelve kids. Willie just gave her a huge sum of money as some sort of “reward” for being pathetic and dirt-poor. The audience, in turn, just cheered or her on, not realizing that her miseries were self-induced.

I also harbor the same sentiments towards Marcelito PoMoy, the Grand Winner of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2. Sure, his falsetto voice can be considered a talent but he won simply because his life story resembled one that was written by veteran scriptwriters (I’m also talking to YOU, Jovit Baldivino). I daresay that Rico the Magician or Angel Calalas the Hula Hoop Trickster should have won since they used REAL talent, not tears or sob stories to solicit votes.

"If Filipinos loves to smile and wave at the camera, then they love to cry during interviews, wallow in their miseries and spread their sob stories thin."

So after reading the above quote, perhaps I’ll just line up at Wiltime Bigtime, make up a telenovela-esque sob story since the more kawawa you are, the more you receive from Kuya Wil and voila! INSTANT MONNEH!!

And to end this entry and clear some misunderstandings, I’m not promoting apathy nor hatred towards humanity. What I’m saying is that in the real world, it’s survival of the fittest out there. Especially in other countries, people there aren’t moved by tears, sob stories and pleas of mercy in order for you to have it your way.

P.S. If there’s a prize for playing the victim, Filipinos would’ve been the undefeated champion for years.

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Jiea Dee
Journalism graduate who became a seller of auto parts rather than a writer, her dream career. She has then revised her plan to make turn writing, instead of a living, to a hobby.
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