Posts Tagged ‘bea lapa’

pop goes the world: in the eye of the beholder

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  15 September 2011, Thursday

In the Eye of the Beholder      

Keyboards ceased clattering. Phones stopped humming. Work ground to a halt in the country the other morning as people downed tools to watch the live airing of this year’s Miss Universe pageant. It was said that the Philippines stops for only two things – the Miss U contest, and Manny Pacquiao fights.

Such is our fascination with the contest, which was established in 1952. Year after year, people have sat glued to their sets to watch how our candidates fare. Those at work had to rely on word-of-mouth for the results, and watch the replay at a later date. But with the Internet now providing the live feed, anyone with a broadband connection could watch it. The contest this year garnered more interest, with the well-beloved Shamcey Supsup fighting other Amazonian beauties to uphold the pulchritude of Filipinas on the world stage.

Shamcey was a pambato on many levels. Physically, she is a gorgeous specimen. But what’s more interesting is her blazing intelligence – a magna cum laude Architecture graduate of the University of the Philippines and Board topnotcher? Her future offspring would be formidable if they inherit her combination of beauty and brains, assuming she has them with a male of such impeccable DNA as herself.

Whether or not she should have won is a moot point. Beauty contests are subjective. The question is why someone as intelligent and talented as Shamcey, who has proven the quality of her brains in the academic arena, should still seek to validate her physical worth as well in a contest that looks primarily at appearance.

Shamcey Supsup’s Philippine Architecture Board exam result here.

We know the question-and-answer portion is a mere accommodation to deflect accusations of shallowness. If you really wanted to test a person’s intellect, then ask them to solve an algebra problem or write an essay. Pageant questions generally ask what a contestant would do given a certain scenario. The answers are usually grounded on the candidate’s cultural background, which the judges, who also come from different backgrounds, may not entirely agree with. So how can the Q & A be considered as a serious criterion for choosing a winner? No, it’s still primarily the looks.

And there we see that no matter how long the feminist battle has waged, it’s still the world’s commercial standards of beauty that prevail. Women all over the world strive to reach this ideal. Many spare no expense for cosmetic surgery and dentistry. Advances in knowledge and technology in cosmetic surgery have made it easier for non-contestants – the average person – to look like a “Miss U” candidate.

Those who can afford the procedures end up looking like each other, blank-faced Barbie dolls with breasts larger than nature can make them, their foreheads immovable from Botox. (Google images of US reality show celeb Heidi Montag.)

What’s alarming is how, in the process of socialization, these standards of beauty are being applied to younger females. Children have always been sexualized at various points in history; the question is, is it in their best interest for adults to allow this, in this day and age that we supposedly know better? Can we not protect children from this trend?

But in America, for instance, we see how child beauty pageants are so popular that there’s even a reality show for it – “Toddlers and Tiaras”.  Girls as young as two are dressed in frills and made-up. Those six and older sport fake eyelashes, elaborate hairstyles, and are made to look as much like adult women as possible.

Some studies have linked preoccupation with appearance to dissatisfaction with body image, trust issues, impulse disregulation. Other women suffer from eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia – or put other forms of pressure on themselves as they struggle to conform to the world’s notions of beauty. Is this worth chasing after?

We need to revisit our ideas of beauty and body image. Filipinos are racist. Some have expressed dissatisfaction with the victory of Miss Angola, the lovely Leila Lopes, because of her skin color. Otherwise, they said, she had attractive facial features and a great body. This mindset hearkens back to our colonial mentality. It’s a cultural disadvantage that prevents us from seeing more beauty and goodness in the world.

The debate will rage on. One thing is certain – our fascination with beauty and beauty pageants will not go away.

* * * * *

Education through entertainment: Web developer Bea Lapa announced the release of an “edutainment” online game that will help children learn about history and geography by taking a virtual trip on “Janjan the Jeepney”.

The game took three years to develop and is a pro bono project of Anino Games, Inc., the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the now-abolished Commission on Information and Communication Technology. Says Lapa, “It’s part of our mission to uplift Filipino talent and culture and support our education sector.”

The game is free for access at http://janjanthejeepney.com/.

* * * * *

Art Alert: Controversial artist Mideo Cruz’s all-paintings show “Phases of Ra” runs from October 8 to 29 at Gallery Duemila, Pasay City. In this group of portraits in oil on canvas, Cruz looks at “the representation of power and how the public assigns reverence to those who have it.” The images are of the elite of society, but with the heads “replaced by filled-in or imprints of circles, a direct reference to Ra, the Egyptian sun-god.”

Mideo Cruz, “Eclipse”. Oil on canvas. 36 x 36 inches. From the artist’s Facebook page.

“I always look at how people attribute to sacredness to a thing,” Cruz says. “I try to deconstruct those things and put parallel meanings to them.”

Long interested in the “dynamics of belief systems,” Cruz’s works ask: “Why do we sanctify something and how do we arrive at doing so? In this cycle of paintings, he asks us to look at the “neo-deities” and see why we revere them because what we hold in high regard says much of ourselves.” ***

Shamcey Supsup image here. Toddler in tiara here. Leila Lopes here. Janjan the Jeepney here.

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pop goes the world: freedom of feedback

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  12 August 2010, Thursday

Freedom of Feedback

The topic that will not die. That’s the storm artist Mideo Cruz unleashed with the recent exhibit of his controversial work “Politeismo” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

That the artwork would offend religious sensibilities in this predominantly Roman Catholic country was a given. The artist expected as much, and in fact deliberately created his work as an artistic statement to provoke people to think about idolatry and, in extension, the role of religion in Philippine culture and their own lives.

However, no one expected how intense and massive the public reaction would be, or that the controversy would go global via the Internet.

The fallout was extensive. Politicians took up cudgels in behalf of the Church – Manila congressman Amado Bagatsing delivered a fiery privilege speech denouncing the work, prompting fellow lawmaker and former First Lady Imelda Marcos to have the exhibit shut down with one phone call. This is turn led to the resignation of Karen Flores, chief of the CCP’s visual arts division, which she announced yesterday at a forum at the University of the Philippines Art Studies Department.

What I found interesting about the entire thing was the extent of the public discourse which came from a myriad points-of-view. Some focused on the work’s artistic merit. Writer Sarah Grutas Tweeted, “Whether Mideo Cruz’s artwork is anti-Christ or anti-Church or not is beside the point. What needs to be addressed in the first place is whether Cruz’s artwork has any artistic merit at all. Does it even deserve public/national discourse? Maganda ba? Original ba? Art nga ba?”

Some opined on the responsible creation of art. Digital media artist Bea Lapa said, “Not all artists are behind [Mideo]. Many digital and new media artists do not want to be associated with this kind of work because we worked so hard honing our craft…I am not even Catholic, but I can see why such disrespect for powerful symbols could lead to chaos. As my brother, a sculptor, said, if we just express without burden of responsibility then we are no better than monkeys with paintbrushes.”

Others took up the issue of censorship. Artists’ Arrest, an “alliance composed of emerging and established artists and cultural activists…from the grassroots, alternative, and independent sectors”, posted a statement on Facebook:

“At this point, any defense or attack of the artwork “Poleteismo” by Mideo Cruz is already moot and academic because it will always be subjective…as it happens, the debate surrounding the artwork has been focused largely on its artistic and moral merits at the expense of calling our attention to what we think are more disturbing actions: the demand of a certain faction of the Catholic church for the resignation of the CCP officials; the vandalism of the artwork and in effect the CCP gallery in which it is in exhibit; and the decision of the CCP to close the exhibit.

“Peace and Beauty”, painting by Mideo Cruz. From the artist’s Facebook page.

“We call on the CCP board to rethink its position about the closing of the exhibit for it already constitutes censorship. We also appeal to artists and citizens to see the higher social wager at stake in this situation: our freedom of expression.  We join other artists and groups in the action to defend our right to express ourselves.”

Los Angeles-based Filipino musician Ray takes a pragmatic stance: “Mideo may well be a rabble-rouser, whose installation only aims to critique our colonial mindset and has stopped short of exploring its roots that go way before the arrival of Magellan (who, at best, only managed to shift that primal spirituality’s direction to a western and Judaeo-Christian orientation even as it moderately succeeded to blend in its animistic origins).

“If some art tucked in a secluded corner of the CCP – whose offensiveness may have been well unknown if not for the recent undue interest – offends anyone, there is less energy expended in ignoring it completely and engaging in more fruitful endeavors. If one finds an overpowering need to expend more energy, try exercise.”

On my blog, where I had posted my previous column which carried an interview with Mideo, 90% of the comments were laced with profanity, and 80% revolved around the thought “What if it were the picture of your mother, father, or other family member that had a penis stuck on it? How would you feel?” The insights here are that people are equating the defaced pictures of Jesus, Mary, and God with their relatives – in other words, Jesus et al. are considered part of the Filipino family – and that reciprocity is a significant value in our collective culture.

“Purity”, painting by Mideo Cruz. From the artist’s public Facebook page.  

Looking at the big picture, what we should appreciate about this entire debate is our freedom of speech as manifested in public discourse of the matter. Topics such as this will always be viewed subjectively. There will always be adherents for either side, and never the twain shall meet.

But to be able to talk about such things freely, to give rein to opinions for or against, is a liberty that we should not take for granted. There are many countries under repressive regimes where such conversation is forbidden and severely sanctioned if against the state’s position.

Social media played a large part in spreading thoughts about this topic. Through the Internet and platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, feedback was instantaneous.

Feedback is integral to the communication process. “Communication is useless without feedback” – It completes the whole process of communication, sustains and makes it continuous; serves a basis for measuring the effectiveness of communication and for future planning; and paves the way for the generation of new ideas (Seun, 2010).

It’s good to see our right to freedom of speech getting a workout. But freedom of expression as claimed by artists is another matter. Public censure is a form of censorship, imposed by society; the shutdown of the exhibit by CCP in response to political pressure is a manifestation, as are the statements made by various politicians including the President.

“See Through”, painting by Mideo Cruz. From the artist’s public Facebook page.

If Mideo Cruz and his “Politeismo” caused offense, it has also generated new ideas, shown us the role of religion in our lives, and revealed the most effective channels for communication and feedback.

It also tested the boundaries of freedom of expression. Now we know how far an artist can go pushing the limits before social sanctions are imposed. If only for that, Mideo deserves our thanks. ***

Image of Imelda Marcos here.

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pop goes the world: usapin on climate change

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 3 March 2011, Thursday

Usapin on Climate Change

Climate change and related issues have been in the news rather frequently lately, and after attending a Department of Interior and Local Government executive dialogue for mayors last week where climate change was tackled, I wondered why not enough was being said about the significance of communication in that context.

I recall an academic paper that a group of us PhD candidates wrote last April for a doctoral class in the Communication Research program of the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Mass Communication.

The impact of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. Image here.

Entitled “Communicating Climate Change: Impact, Adaptation, and Mitigation”, the paper was authored by college professors Rodrigo Rivera, Bea Lapa, and Julienne Baldo and media practitioners Cynthia Diangson and myself.

In the course of our research, we realized that many government programs fail or are not effective enough because not enough importance and, consequently, resources, are given to the communication aspect of the program. A professor of ours who has consulted for both government and private organizations glumly told us that in his experience, government tends to dismiss the value of communication plans or gives it the least notice and budget whereas private gives more support.

This is not to say that people in government in general negate the need for an effective communication plan; rather, it is most likely the lack of money and resources that forces many government agencies to pick and choose what areas to spend on in the implementation of programs. However, consultants like myself have come across decision-makers in government who simply don’t care, disregarding our carefully-made communication plans and all the hard work that went into them.

In broad strokes our paper tackled the issue of climate change and the need for adaptation and mitigation strategies to meet the threat and soften the impact of climate change upon five sectors of society – women and the household, indigenous people, farmers and fishers, media, and corporate.

More than ever, our society needs to be pro-active and spread awareness about what is already being done on the matter, what else needs to be done, and who needs to act.

From the introduction I wrote for the paper:

“Climate change…[is a] rallying call to take concrete and immediate action on one of the most severe challenges to ever face the planet and the world community.

“Scientists assert that climate change is an ongoing process that cannot be stopped. Shifts in weather, the melting of the ice caps, and the actions of other natural forces combine to affect the lives of the organisms upon the planet’s surface. Such changes usually take centuries, even millennia, to develop; yet one organism – Man – has, through his use of natural resources in unnatural ways, accelerated the rate of climate change, leading to ill effects that will redound upon not only himself, but also the rest of life on Earth.

“The esteemed, and elderly, British scientist and environmental thinker James Lovelock insists that “humans are too stupid” to prevent climate change from radically impacting lives in the coming years (Hickman, 2010). Over the course of his life, the ninety-year-old Lovelock has observed how the actions of humans have contributed to bringing about this disaster.

“I don’t think we’ve yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle as complex a situation as climate change,” says Lovelock, proponent of the Gaia Theory which postulates that the Earth is a giant, self-regulating organism. “The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

“Journalist Leo Hickman, who interviewed Lovelock, ascertained that the scientist believes that “the world’s best hope is to invest in adaptation measures, such as building sea defenses around the cities that are most vulnerable to sea-level rises. (Lovelock) thinks only a catastrophic event would now persuade humanity to take the threat of climate change seriously enough,” such as the melting of a glacier massive enough to immediately push up sea levels (Hickman, 2010).

“Humans may be stupid enough to bring about natural disasters through their own actions. Yet humans are also intelligent enough to be aware of the problems they have caused – and to take action to reverse the damage they are responsible for, and to devise and teach other methods to adapt to the related challenges.

“To ensure that the survival of life on this planet extends beyond the timeline set in worst-case scenarios predicted by the most pessimistic of pundits, the common goal of humanity from this moment on should be to strive to become better, more sensitive stewards of the Earth and its resources.

“Because above all, humans endure, and hope.”

Climate change concerns. Image here.

For our paper, we also developed a medium-communication plan to cascade information to stakeholders. Our framework drew concepts from sociologist Prospero Covar’s Pilipinolohiya – Filipino personality and personhood –  taking into account negative and positive Filipino attitudes as well as personhood concepts such as the panlabas and panloob. Filipinos are generally panloob, with the kaluluwa seen as something contained and carried within the body.

Its implications? Prof. Julienne Baldo wrote, for our paper: “It is a common observation that for a Filipino, cleaning his house is enough even if the street outside his home is dirty, since the street is outside his domain. Trash is thrown away practically anywhere, instead of being stashed in pockets or otherwise managed for later disposal.

“The challenge, therefore, in devising an effective Climate Change Communication Plan is to shake this basic Filipino attitude. Basic to the message should be exhortation through effective strategies that the Self extends beyond the body and beyond the walls of the home or lawn.

“Crucial in this endeavor is the use of language and the framing of words. This is because the priority of the communication plan is to device techniques to involve people in the process by giving them a sense of ownership of both the problem and the solution. The thesis should be about the belief that something can be done because it must be done precisely because it involves one’s Self, not just others’. It involves the ako in the Filipino loob.

“Communication planning for climate change demands new ideas and for intellectual skills that deal with the constraining effects of unformed and irrational ideas. What is asked for is the sophistication of simple ideas and simplification of sophisticated ones. Knowledge does not come from a select few, but from all stakeholders. Thinking and planning means thinking and planning together. At the heart of the usapin are a creative imagination and soulful dialogues that create the how-to in going from here to wherever hearts are set to reach.”

Stop Climate Change poster image here.

 

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pop goes the world: culture stock

POP GOES THE WORLD, By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 7 October 2010, Thursday

Culture Stock

Where resides a nation’s heart and soul?

This was the question that several university professors, media professionals, and I discussed the other night during a PhD class at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication. It stemmed from College of St. Benilde professor Rod Rivera’s report on theaters in Manila that screen films bordering on the pornographic.  There are those, he said, that claim that such theaters in Quiapo and Recto are a front for male prostitution.

From there, Dr. Jose Lacson segued to commercialism in television and film. Advertising executive Chitchat Diangson said that much of television content in dictated by what producers believe will sell, leading to the creation of mind-numbing programs like “Wowowee”. Professor Bea Lapa deplored the entertainment media’s unwillingness to raise the programming bar in standards and taste, while writer Nina Villena brought up the issue of media gatekeeping. Women’s development professor and staunch feminist Julienne Baldo decried the media’s reinforcement of negative stereotypes of gender and class, perpetuating cruel cycles of prejudice and bias that further retard national social development.

Prof. Julienne Baldo analyzes the poster of  ”Serbis” at a theater in Quiapo.

Which brings us back to our question and its possible answer. It is in art where commercialism does not hold absolute sway and the discourse on social issues may be expanded without the taint of capitalism and the imperative of profit. There are those of us who write, paint, make music, and sculpt not for money, but because we need to express the meanings and concepts that burn within us and cry to be expressed and physically manifested in forms that may be shared with others.

These forms – books, songs, paintings, theater plays – often do not translate into income for their creators, but that was not the point of their creation anyway. It is in a nation’s art that current social events and issues are poked, cut up into bits, and licked to find out what they taste like. What’s important to people? That is what floats up in the content being made nowadays, and is disseminated over channels such as the Internet.

Dulaang UP scored one such intellectually-shaking triumph with their recent hit production “Shock Value”, written by Floy Quintos and directed by Alexander Cortez. It’s been given a positive review by MST opinion editor Adelle Chua, who focused her piece on the play’s theme of the commercialization of television, and how producers of celebrity shows of mass attraction artificially manufacture the scandals and intrigues that make up its content.

“Shock Value” cast members sashay across the stage. (Dulaang UP photo)

Among its stars in its cast are John Lapus, Mylene Dizon, Andoy Ranay, Christian Alvarado, and the awesomely talented Sabina Santiago. As “Little Tweety Girl”, Santiago’s hilarious on-stage simulation of an orgasm, eyes rolling back in her head, demotes Meg Ryan’s performance in “When Harry Met Sally” to amateur status.

Dulaang UP’s next offering is “Isang Panaginip na Fili”, “an edgy, dreamlike interpretation” of the Jose Rizal novel El Filibusterismo by writer/director Quintos, which will run from November 24 to December 12 at UP Diliman’s Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater. Call (02)926-1349 or (02)433-7840 for tickets.

“Isang Panaginip na Fili” publicity still, courtesy of Dulaang UP.

A fresh take on heartbreak, loss, and recovery comes from writer Carljoe Javier by way of his non-fiction book The Kobayashi Maru of Love, with artwork and design by Adam David of the Youth and Beauty Brigade. It’s available at avalon.ph.

Says Carljoe: “I wrote The Kobayashi Maru of Love because, first, I was trying to understand (a recent) breakup, and I was trying to work through my feelings about it. Like any breakup, there are nasty emotions that follow, and I was going through all that. But I thought that if I was forced to apply aesthetic distance, if I was forced to try and be funny about it, that I would be able to cope better. And as I got back into the dating game, well, things were just funny and had to be written about.”

The book is indeed funny, but beyond that, it dwells on themes that nearly everyone who reads it can relate to. “I think that I’m talking about something universal,” says Carljoe, “and that’s loss. Pretty much everyone has gone through a heartbreak or a heartache. I guess that I was just trying to connect to that, to make the book not just about my own personal heartbreak, but to make it for everyone who’s ever been through it. Our individual experiences are different, but the hurt is the same. So I wanted to write a book that talked about that.”

Carljoe’s next book, Geek Tragedies, will be published by UP Press next year. “I have a number of projects in the works,” he says, “among them a book I hope to write about the Filipino diaspora and the effect that having parents abroad have on kids; a book about me, a fat man trying to get healthy; and a novel.” A freelance writer and editor of the Philippine Online Chronicles, he is also taking his MA Creative Writing at UP’s College of Arts and Letters.

Art in this country is alive and well and a thriving part of our culture, a part that is not a slave to commercialism but is free to speak out on social matters, the human condition, and what lives inside the Filipino heart and soul. ***

Photo above, L-R: (front) writer Bambi Harper, UP professor emeritus Dr. Cristina Hidalgo. (back) writers Waldo Petralba, Jeena Marquez, and Carljoe Javier.

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pop goes the world: the coconut of insecurity

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 22 July 2010, Thursday

The Coconut of Insecurity

A pretty, talented, world-acclaimed, and wrinkle-free 18-year-old girl gets Botox injections.  A public official whines that his office is “too bare”, “kulang sa yabang”, and that he wants to move to more impressive digs. Do these two disparate cases have anything in common, and how do they reflect current social norms and values?

The first case refers to singer/actress Charice Pempengco, who shot to international fame after a homemade video of her singing went viral on the Internet. Her most recent success is having been cast in the next season of the hit American TV show “Glee”. To prepare, she underwent Botox and Thermage cosmetic procedures at the hands of celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Vicki Belo.

The second case refers to Vice-President Jejomar Binay’s latest pronouncements on the shabbiness of the office assigned him and that he’s considering the fancy Coconut Palace for his office and “official residence”, though the Constitution does not provide for the latter. Recall that one of “V-Nay’s” first acts after the elections was to oppose, in public, President Noynoy Aquino’s ban of wang-wang (siren) use by motorists – something V-Nay had been fond of to scoot quickly through traffic. Now, instead of doing some real work, he is spending his vice-presidential time and effort complaining that his office at the Philippine National Bank building in Pasay City is not large and imposing enough.

About Charice, entertainment columnist Butch Francisco wrote recently, “According to Dr. Vicki Belo, she had to fix the teenage singing sensation’s rather prominent jaw lines that became even more pronounced because she chews gum that gets all the muscles in the area all worked up. In a week or two, expect to see a lovelier Charice when her Belo procedures take effect.” Clearly this was a cosmetic procedure. However, contrary to this, other news reports claimed that the “singer’s representative” said the Botox procedure was “not for cosmetic purposes” but to ease “some jaw pain she’s been experiencing.” Ano ba talaga, kuya? This seems like PR damage control.

A backlash of dismay and disgust hit. New York Magazine’s website (NYMag.com) says Charice’s opting for Botox is contrary to Glee’s message of acceptance and body confidence, and talent and character over appearance. Showbiz blogger Perez Hilton calls it “sick”. Feminist writer and professor Bea Lapa says “This is the height of irresponsibility… Charice should not be getting Botox or Thermage at her age.”

This is not to say anything against cosmetic surgery or procedures, which in many cases are necessary and beneficial. Also, looking at the issue from another angle, why should we be concerned with what these individuals have chosen to do? Dr. Belo has the right to try to persuade celebrities of the necessity of these procedures for their success, and, if she can, have these celebrities endorse her services. Charice has every right to go for any procedure she wants. Why then is the mass media discussing something that, in effect, is none of our business?

For one, it’s a cultural thing. As a people, we perceive ourselves as one big family, as manifested in the way we use kinship terms to address strangers (ate, manong, kuya, and so on); the accomplishments of its members are celebrated by all. Under this mindset, the triumphs of achievers like Charice and boxer Manny Pacquiao are extended to represent the entire Filipino nation, even as they themselves offer their efforts “sa mga kababayan.”

In a large part, this is from where the discussion about Charice stems – the Filipino family expressing concerns for her health, the impression that the procedure is unnecessary, the indignation that Dr. Belo may be using Charice for publicity purposes. In sikolihiyang Pilipino, this is pakialam, the concern of the collective for the well-being of the kapwa.

Further, Charice’s Botoxification is an indicator of the kind of culture we now possess – a culture that sets racist, colonial-minded, and often unattainable standards of beauty for women – unattainable, that is, unless one has money to spend on the expensive whitening, smoothening, and slimming technologies touted by Belo and the other cosmetic surgery clinics that have sprouted all over the country.

Are these same standards applied to men? No. Do these standards place a higher priority on intelligence and good moral character? No. What does that tell you? That the standards our society has constructed on what gives a woman her worth and value are shallow, distorted, and counter-productive.

In V-Nay’s case, his attitude and behavior are of general interest because he is an elected public official whose role is of national scope. His attitude is under scrutiny because it affords signals and clues on how he will perform his functions and act towards others in his public capacity. So far, all he’s done is complain about petty matters.

But this insistence on grandiose trappings and privileges is not confined to V-Nay; it is representative of the mindset held by a huge number of politicians, in particular the traditional and dynastic kind. Decades of power, wealth, and privilege have instilled in these people a sense of entitlement, the arrogance conveyed by an attitude of “I don’t need to follow the rules because I’m above the rest of you.”

Wikipedia defines insecurity as “A feeling of general unease or nervousness that may be triggered by perceiving oneself to be unloved, inadequate or worthless…(it) may cause shyness, paranoia, and social withdrawal, or alternatively it may encourage compensatory behaviors such as arrogance, aggression, or bullying.” It is linked to puberty and may account for “stereotypical adolescent behavior”.

These two cases – Charice and V-Nay – may seem unrelated. The frightening realization is that they are two halves of the same coconut. They reveal that we are an insecure people, compensating for the national traumas of colonial oppression, economic instability, and political uncertainty.  Insecurity can be overcome, but it takes time, patience, and the acceptance that there is a problem that requires a solution.

It’s about time we grow up. ***

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