persecuting willie

30 March 2011

so i’ve just been called a pedophile on facebook because i protested against a poster of a goodlooking teenage boy in the briefest of white briefs in macho-dance pose.   says the poster:

WILLIE’S SUMMER DANCE STUDIO PRESENTS
MACHO DANCING FOR BOYS!

Learn to shake hips
& pick up customers
Parents can make up
to $1K a week
And it’s free!

A Corporate Social Responsibility Project of:
PROCTOR @ GAMBLE, JOLLIBEE, UNILEVER, PEPSODENT, VASELINE, OISHI, CDO, SURF DETERGENT, TECHNOMARINE, CAMELLA’S HOMES, LHUILLER AND OTHER OUTSTANDING COMPANIES WHO SPONSOR WILLIE’S DANCING CONTESTS FOR BOYS!

HURRY! CLASSES LIMITED! CALL MANNY PANGILINAN AT CHANNEL 5 TODAY. GUARANTEED CUSTOMERS FOR YOUR BOY AFTER CLASSES!

quite offended i commented that the poster was too too much!   totally unfair to willie and his sponsors!   that the 6 year old was the one who wanted to go on tv to show off his dance routine.   he had done it many times before elsewhere, even in school, and was rewarded and lauded for it.   that willie was just as surprised as everyone.   and that we’re imposing our sensibilities on the masa, sensibilities that they don’t share.   whats indecent to us may not be indecent to them.   that there’s clearly a class divide here.

and that’s when one of the commenters said i must be a pedophile, or a media executive, which at the moment daw are the same thing.   i’d cut and paste that comment except that it was deleted by the commenter soon after i replied: oh wow, this is not an intelligent conversation. signing off…   the downside of social media: having to deal with the whole spectrum, from the stupid, sometimes irrational, many times unthinking, to the intelligent and creative and occasionally sublime comments that any blog, tweet, or fb status is open to, especially when one is in a major major disagreement with a lynch mob, such as the kick-out-willie movement.

of course because it’s been sensationalized to the max, mainstream media are taking up what social media started.   the inquirer has it on the front page: Willie treatment of dancing boy ‘criminal’ says the broadsheet. Revillame treatment of dancing boy in tears criminal–CHR says the online version.

MANILA, Philippines—What the show “Willing Willie” did to Jan-Jan Suan, the 6-year-old boy who was told to simulate a striptease while in tears in exchange for cash in front of a cheering studio audience, was criminal, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Tuesday.

The CHR said it would investigate the episode as it appeared to have violated a law protecting children.

“The commission will investigate this incident in order to identify the person/s liable and to recommend proper legal actions against them,” it said in a statement.

what’s scandalizing to me is the CHR’s, or is it the inquirer‘s? summary of the situation:  “the 6-year-old boy who was told to simulate a striptease while in tears in exchange for cash in front of a cheering studio audience…”

this makes it seem like willie told the boy, o sumayaw ka ng “striptease”, bibigyan kita ng pera.   when in fact it’s not the way it happened at all.   anyone who watches willing willie would know that the kid would have been given money, kahit ano pang isinayaw niya, lalo na with tears effect, which was not because he was feeling “humiliated.”   anyone who has taken the time to check out the story and really watch the youtube video en toto, and then watched the interviews of the boy and his parents in the following days, would know that it was the production staff’s responsibility, and that they had toned it down na nga, pinalitan nila yung music na dala ng bata, which was hayden kho’s “careless whisper”.

also, it was nothing close to a striptease.   there was no shedding of clothing or suggestion thereof.   does the CHR, or the inquirer, even know what macho dancing is like?   it’s no different from what little girls dancing like sex bomb dancers do.

karen cardenas reflects: …on The Dance and what we impose on it. He was fully dressed, he was making movements, he wasn’t provocative. What is the difference from ocho-ocho or for heaven’s sake, the grind or tahitian or dirty dancing or lambada? Kasi pang “macho dancer”? Bakit niyo minamaliit ang macho dancer? —facebook 29 march

of course the next question posed is: why didn’t willie stop it right away, after he had seen the macho-dancer routine.   why did he let it go on and on?   it was so inappropriate, so offensive, and what about the little boy, kawawa naman, umiiyak na nga, yada yada yada

willie tried to explain, everyone was having a good time, the father, the aunt, even the boy, who gamely danced everytime he heard his music instead of running away when he had 10k na in his pocket — i mean you know, if he was aware enough to feel oppressed by what he was doing, he would have been smart enough to get off that stage the moment he got the money, okay na, panalo na, but he didn’t.

everyone was having a good time.   the first time i saw it, natawa rin ako.   natawa ako sa bata, natawa ako kay willie, natawa ako sa audience.   of course i knew by then that there was an uproar over it in social media, so i was also thinking omg yes it’s the sort of thing na pagdidiskitahan ng opus deis and couples for christ and their ilk.   still i could relate to the laughter, what fun to break out of the norm, do something different, even, defy a sexual taboo, mwahaha!   and susmayorsep alam kaya ng batang ito kung sinong sumasayaw ng ganyan?   mwahahaha!   sana hindi!    mwahahaha!

read karen’s Willie, Humiliation

… when Willie makes jokes, is it to humiliate the contestants, to make them feel lowly, inferior, or is there a collective humility in all of them, an unspoken awareness that it’s open season. Laugh at me, make fun of me, because it’s just one big hilarious joke, everything we are doing here. It’s one big show, and it isn’t real.

Willie, from what i have heard, came from the same situation as his contestants. He was, as far as the stories go, also struggling in life before he became rich and famous. My guess is he, like his guests, understands self-deprecation, he knows what it is like to laugh at himself, at his situation.

Feeling humiliated may not be something they concern themselves with because their lives are hard enough, and if they can have a little fun in an arena meant for them, why not? Don’t Pinoys love to laugh, even at themselves?

and if we go even deeper, and attribute more intelligence to the masa, the poor, the lower class, i daresay the exploitation wasn’t one-way.   sure, the capitalists exploit the masa with this sort of show, but it is just as possible that the boy’s family had read into the system of the gameshow and thought:  this is the way to go, we do something different, we do something a little naughty, we make more money.   depende sa perspective.   which is only to say that there are no absolutes here, and willie does not deserve the wholesale villification and opprobrium.

it is so clear now how hated willie, hero of the masses, is by the know-it-all self-righteous self-proclaimed pundits of social media, led it would seem by fellow celebrities in the showbiz industry who just can’t stand being upstaged by a willie revillame na hindi naman guapo, walang ka-class-class, pero tumatabo on primetime tv and in opm CDs, laban kayo?

because hey, the masses love him, he’s one of them, just a little smarter and luckier, and i’m sure they love that he is medyo bastos, which is, wittingly or un-, an up-yours to the moralist establishment that is at the root of their poverty.

and speaking of bastos, sino ba talagang bastos.   di ba mas bastos yung nag-upload ng video of the little boy sa youtube?   di ba mas bastos ang nag-upload ng poster sa facebook, na natanggap ko rin sa email, for the sake of the little boy daw?   what kind of caring is that?

like katrina says of the offensive poster:

sinong bastos ngayon?
no really, lalabanan ninyo si Willie Revillame by doing this?
how crass. how un-intelligent. how irresponsible can you get.

18 Responses to persecuting willie

  1. March 30, 2011 at 10:50 pm
    RR

    i can understand that its all for fun, but the thing that caught me is when willie seemingly justified what the kid does because of poverty. he said ‘nagmamacho dancer na yung bata dahil sa kahirapan’. it seemed na its ok lang na magmacho dancer dahil mahirap ka? na walang masama sa ginagawa nung bata dahil kelangan nyang kumita ng pera? nakita na nya yung ginagawa he could have been sensitive enough not to punch in comments like that at binigyan na kaagad ng pera. bear in mind that was a kid and anything they’ll told will seem right for them.

  2. March 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm
    BrianB

    Exactly Katrina. This is what I learned from Edsa 2. But listen to the channel’s excuse is spurious. Parang may guilt din sila sa nangyari. At mali talaga ang ugaling pinagtatawanan ang mga mahihina. Ugaling pinoy nga pero mali at nakakahina sa kultura natin.

  3. March 31, 2011 at 12:40 am
    GabbyD

    “this makes it seem like willie told the boy, o sumayaw ka ng “striptease”, bibigyan kita ng pera. when in fact it’s not the way it happened at all. ”

    thanks for sharing your thoughts. i too think this was way overblown, and am stymied by the reactions i’ve been reading. some even have, as you say here, completely misrepresented what happened in the video.

  4. March 31, 2011 at 1:19 am
    manuelbuencamino

    Naawa ako sa bata kasi umiiyak. Now I know it’s common for Filipinos to ask kids to dance/sing in family gatherings etc. To be gracioso as the oldies put it. Well Hindi ako ganun so the oldies thought I had an attitude problem. Since childhood I have always fought against being forced to show my talents whether singing, dancing, declaming or what not to oldies. I now it’s pinoy but fuck that cultural shit. ids weren’t made to entertain oldies.

    So I posted the following in another blog:

    Pinanood ko sa YouTube kung saan pinagpaliwanag ni Willie yun mga magulang ni Jan-Jan.

    Paluhang sinabi ng nanay kay Willie at sa manonood:

    “Napakasakit po sa magulang na na cha-child abuse ang anak ko. Dahil ‘di naman naming tinuturan ng masama ang anak ko. Gusto n’ya lang po sigurong mag-artista kaya gusto niyang sumayaw, guminhawa buhay namin.”

    Sabi naman ni tatay:

    “Kagustuhan ng anak ko ‘yon, gusto niyang sumikat, mag-artista…sinuportahan ko lang yung anak ko…’yon ang gusto n’ya eh ”

    So si Jan-Jan pala ang may gusto. Pinilit lang pala ni Jan-Jan ang mga magulang niya.

    PUNYETANG BATA KA! IKAW PALA ANG PINAGMULAN NG LAHAT NG ITO!

    Sige mag sori ka sa mga magulang mo at lalung-lalo na kay Willie na ang hangad lang ay to “bring joy and hope and shine the spotlight on ordinary Filipinos.”

    Teka baka naman naliligaw ako. Baka naman ang mga magulang ni Bonal Balingit ang talagang may kagagawan ng lahat.

    Kasi sabi ni Jan-Jan uniyak siya kasi natakot siya kay Balingit. Eh di kung hindi pinanganak si Balingit di hindi sana natakot si Jan-Jan.

    Bakit kasi hindi nagcondom yun mga magulang ni Balingit. Anti-RH Bill yata sila.

    Ayan nadamay tuloy ang walang kamuangmuang na si Willie na ang gusto lang naman ay to “bring joy and hope and shine the spotlight on ordinary Filipinos.”

    Hay naku, tuloy nag-away kami ng mga magulang ko. Kasi sinabi ko sa kanila kung nag artificial contraceptives lang sila ay hindi sana ako nabuhay para tiisin si Willie na walang ginawa araw-araw kung di ipagpilit sa lahat ng tao na kung anuman katarantaduhan ang nagawa niya ay para lamang to “bring joy and hope and shine the spotlight on ordinary Filipinos.”

  5. March 31, 2011 at 1:51 am
    GabbyD

    ” Since childhood I have always fought against being forced to show my talents whether singing, dancing, declaming or what not to oldies.”

    no one is forcing you to dance. from what the parents said, they didnt either. the kid wanted to dance.

    i’m surprised at you actually. you are a libertarian right? you once argued that people should be allowed to take heroin, that suicide is a personal choice, etc. if the kid wants to dance on tv, let him.

  6. March 31, 2011 at 2:47 am
    manuelbuencamino

    gabbyd,

    “no one is forcing you to dance. from what the parents said, they didnt either. the kid wanted to dance.”

    First of all, that’s you drawing conclusions again. You don’t know what happened between the parents and their son.

    I thought it was absurd that parents would claim that their 6 or 9 year old son made them do it, that his parents and the Willies of this world would allow a nine year old to dictate to them.

    “i’m surprised at you actually. you are a libertarian right? you once argued that people should be allowed to take heroin, that suicide is a personal choice, etc. if the kid wants to dance on tv, let him.”

    On the your point re libertarianism, I did say that suicide, drug use, safety belts, crash helmets, etc are all personal choices. Unfortunately I assumed that the people like you would understand that I meant adults and not preteens. I am surprised I have to spell it out for you because I thought you were intelligent. Forgive me for being presumptious. So let me explain explain what I meant about drug use, suicide and all that:

    Legally there is an age when humans are considered adults, when someone is considered old enough to choose a president. It is at that point when I believe a decision on personal choices should be respected, and legal. Clear enough?

  7. March 31, 2011 at 3:11 am
    GabbyD

    @mb

    thanks for calling me intelligent! now, i know that kids arent autonomous human beings they will be in the future, and that parents have a responsibility,etc…. but, i also dont believe that ALL personal choices ought to be respected ONLY upon the age of majority.

    SOME choices made by kids ought to be respected by everyone, other adults, and yes, even the parents.

    you yourself told us a story about how u detested (‘fought against’) being asked to sing. under your theory, your choice NOT to sing ought NOT TO BE RESPECTED.

    i reject that. dont sing if u dont want to. i think choices about whether one wants to sing/dance/paint, etc, are all under the umbrella of “choices kids ought to make for themselves”.

    perhaps this is a parenting philosophy issue. maybe you are a “tiger mom”? only violin lessons for you my child?!

    differences in parenting philosophy are OK. but here, their parenting philosophy isnt that bad; it certainly doesnt merit the term “child abuse”

    ______________________

    also, as to drawing conclusions: this is what they said. i’m taking what they said at face value. unless we have evidence otherwise, i say we believe that they are truthful.

  8. March 31, 2011 at 11:17 am
    manuelbuencamino

    “SOME choices made by kids ought to be respected by everyone, other adults, and yes, even the parents….under your theory, your choice NOT to sing ought NOT TO BE RESPECTED.”

    Ah OK gabbydaddy. So I’m janjan’s parent he makes me kulit about willie’s show so i tell him i respect your choice go ahead and audition. He says thanks dad can you take me there? I say you can find your way there.

    Do you see now what I mean? I respect the kid’s choice but he still needs me to make it happen. So now do you get the joke “PUNYETANG BATA KA! IKAW PALA ANG PINAGMULAN NG LAHAT NG ITO!” ?
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

    “differences in parenting philosophy are OK. but here, their parenting philosophy isnt that bad; it certainly doesnt merit the term “child abuse” –

    Did I use the term “child abuse” anywhere in my comments?
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    “also, as to drawing conclusions: this is what they said. i’m taking what they said at face value. unless we have evidence otherwise, i say we believe that they are truthful.”

    So did I. That’s why I concluded it was all the kid’s fault that all the trouble happened. Sori you didn’t get the joke. Next time I will write (joke lang) so that you don’t miss it.
    _____________________________________________________________________________

  9. March 31, 2011 at 11:47 am
    GabbyD

    “So now do you get the joke “PUNYETANG BATA KA! IKAW PALA ANG PINAGMULAN NG LAHAT NG ITO!” ?”

    ha? no, i dont get it. sya ang pinagmulan ng ANO? the ruckus? the brouhaha (luv that word!)? if YES, then it takes two to tango [forgive the dancing pun!] — ang pinagmulan “NITO” might also be the people who started reacting.

    its interesting that you (satirically it seems!) blamed the kid, when he’s not the only party involved.

    _______________

    ah, so you dont think its abuse? okie, lots of people were/are saying abuse and humiliation (psychological abuse), so i thought u were one of them. my bad.

  10. March 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm
    manuelbuencamino

    Gabby,

    Kung babasahin mo yung apology at panonoorin mo yun parents na magexplain eh sino pa ang pinagmulan? Sino ba ang nagumpisa kung di yun bata? AT oo nga pala may kasalanan din si Balingit kasi bakit siya lumapit sa bata? hindi ba niya alam na nakakatakot ang itsura niya? At may kasalanan din yun mga parents ni Balingit kasi kung nag condom sila di wala sanang Bonel na mantatakot ng bata.

  11. March 31, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    james cordova: Here’s why this stupid idea of boycotting the advertisers of Willing Willie won’t work. Those who are threatening of a boycott are not the target audience of these advertisers to begin with. They are not even viewers of Willing Willie.

    These advertisers should be more concerned of Revillame’s threat: that his followers — the market of these advertisers — can boycott their products if they pulled out of Willing Willie.

    Guess who these advertisers would care about more? The self-righteous burgis who don’t even know that a product such as Pau Liniment exists, or the masa, who have made Pau Liniment a serious threat to Omega Pain Killer or that ubiquitous efficascent oil? http://www.facebook.com/notes/james-cordova/heres-why-this-stupid-idea-of-boycotting-the-advertisers-of-willing-willie-wont-/150712191659465

  12. March 31, 2011 at 8:56 pm
    manuelbuencamino

    Sobra naman to force Willie off the air because they don’t like what he did. It’s not fair to people who like what he does. Besides kaya may freedom of expression to protect us from bluenoses. I think the one who should never be allowed out of the house is Bonl Balingit and others like him. They scare children. O sige na nga, they can play basketball. But that’s as far as I am willing to let them go.

  13. April 1, 2011 at 1:05 am
    GabbyD

    @angela

    technomarine is masa? P&g? unilever? not really. it could work, but i dont think it’ll work if only because it is difficult to substitute away from brands you love.

  14. April 1, 2011 at 7:02 am
    UP nn grad

    Noticeably ang tahi-tahimik is the CBCP about Jan-jan, Willie, parenting, mass media, child-abuse, sexual overtones of Willie dancing performers of all ages, poverty, and the rights of parents to educate their children on sexuality.

  15. April 3, 2011 at 6:38 am
    GabbyD

    @manuelbuencamino on March 31st

    actually, you left out one more involved party: the different segments of the public.

  16. April 4, 2011 at 2:29 am

    I’m amazed that Mr. R has the power of the “reverse boycott.” Anyone not with him is against him, so it seems. Well, if a boycott is tough to pull, I suspect the reverse version is even more difficult.

  17. April 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm
    joji

    While I enjoy and sometimes emotionally sympathized with the sad stories of the contestants and their families, I do not find such TV program such as Willing willie not a good purveyor of entertainment with socially relevant values. hence, i find the condemnation by the alumni of UP CMC rightfully in place and timely. Willie maybe a lovable and effective host to most of the elders and masa, but his attitude towards young,female and esp. of boys who exhibit flair for emasculate gestures are condemnable if not outright offensive. That’s why, for me, he deserves to be reminded that not all of his antics are acceptable to the viewing public. I for one do not find him a successful artist who can be emoluted by the young and aspiring artist

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