Thursday, March 10, 2011

Google Philippines' Top 20 most influential Filipino women

I recently got a load of Google's list of most "influential" Filipinas (Filipino women) for 2010. The list is utterly dominated by performers along with a handful of notable exceptions: Senator Miriam Santiago (no. 10), Doris Dumlao (journalist, no. 12), Monique Lhullier (designer, no. 17), and Korina Sanchez (journalist, no. 19). These 20 ladies supposedly "grabbed the greatest online mindshare in 2010". So presumably, they reflect the substance of the Filipino collective mind.

Here they are:

1. Shalani Soledad (TV Host & City Councilor of Valenzuela)
2. Kris Aquino (TV-host actress)
3. Ruffa Gutierrez (Former beauty queen and TV-host actress)
4. Maria Venus Raj (Beauty Queen and TV-Host)
5. Charice Pempengco (International Singer)
6. Angel Locsin (Actress)
7. Sarah Geronimo (Singer-Actress)
8. Regine Velasquez (Singer-Actress)
9. Heart Evangelista (Actress)
10. Miriam Defensor-Santiago (Senator)
11. Lea Salonga (Award-winning international Filipino singer)
12. Doris Dumlao (Philippine Daily Inquirer journalist)
13. Kristine Hermosa (Actress)
14. Toni Gonzaga (Singer-Actress)
15. Sharon Cuneta (Singer-Actress)
16. Mariel Rodriguez (TV-host actress)
17. Monique Lhuillier (Designer)
18. Bea Alonzo (Actress)
19. Korina Sanchez (Broadcast Journalist)
20. Nora Aunor (Dramatic Actress)

Quite revealing, this list. Topping it are an ex-presidential squeeze who now co-hosts top Philippine brain opiate Willing Willie (a television "variety show", to say the most), a presidential sister known mainly for her ditziness and bad taste in men, and an aging sexpot who grandstands about her indignation over "scandalous" behaviour that apparently offends her "conservative" nature.

What exactly have these performers done? What groundbreaking insights have they added to the collective intellect and cultural capital of Philippine society that enhances the value of our colective equity as a people? What, therefore, is the nature of their "influence" over the Filipino mind?

That well of truth Wikipedia defines "mind share" as "the development of consumer awareness or popularity" and is "one of the main objectives of advertising and promotion". So these ladies apparently represent some kind of marketing triumph either (1) for the marketers of the products they endorse, or (2) the agents and managers who earn commissions from their lucrative gigs.

Considering that "achievement", they can be considered to have done well for themselves, as they've done an excellent job of making a bundle of money not only for themselves, but for the middlemen and downstream industries and entities that bring out their buckets whenever these celebrities drum up some cash. And, yes, this cash is the tangible outcome of this influence they wield -- which highlights the tragedy of what it means to be a mere consumer. To be a mere consumer is to be on the wrong side of society's equation.

This tragedy is particularly poignant in the Philippines as evident in those who constitute its most influential personalities -- people who for the most part are not known for output that can even be remotely considered to be globally competitive. Indeed, it is their being down-to-earth and "reachable" (the Tagalog translation of the latter word being a Filipino euphemism for mediocrity) that made most of these personalities local stars. Fitting for a people renowned for constituting a nation of star-struck ignoramuses, as one noted modern-day Filipino philosopher observed...
You are a nation of star-struck ignoramuses. You are easily awed by your movie stars who are usually nothing but uneducated, aquiline-nosed and light-skinned ******** picked up from some gutter somewhere. I have seen what these artistas illusionadas can get away with. They just flash their capped-tooth smiles and policemen let them get away with traffic violations; they bat their false eyelashes and customs officers impose no duty on their suspicious balikbayan boxes.

Worst of all, with the Filipino movie industry taking a nosedive, hordes of actors and show personalities went into politics. It is, as they say, the next best "racket"-there is more money to be made in the politicking business than in show business! (And what is this I hear that in the coming elections, more are jumping into the arena? Mag-hara-kiri na kayo!) How can you expect these comedians and actors, who only know how to take directions from their directors, to direct your nation? For them,politics will just be an "act". No big surprise here, for they are mere actors with no original scripts to speak, no original visions to share. So what can you expect but a government that is a comedy of errors. Serves you and your star- struck nation right!

[...]

For those artistas who honestly believe that they can make a positive difference in the Filipino masses' life, they must first study law, business and public administration, and immerse themselves in the life and passion of Mother Teresa. Politics is not an art for dilettante artistas to dabble in. It is called "Political Science," hello?!

The above was written more than ten years ago -- way back in 2000. Its timelessness is the sort of property that earns it the distinction of being a true piece of real insight.

14 comments:

  1. They forgot to include MLQ3 in the list.

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  2. I'm not a citizen of your country but a friend of mine (filiina) showed me the whole letter of your modern day filipino philosopher. I was simply strucked by the astute observation of this filipino tourist, who is most likely an ex-pat, now. Was the letter reprinted boldly in newspaper for thethe voting population to peruse and for the actors turned politicians to think about? The filipino populace deserves to enjoy this honestly stinging rebuke.

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  3. Yes, as I recall it was printed on a major daily at the time and went viral by email (no social networking at the time!). It's not too late to continue disseminating it, of course. :-)

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  4. “You are a nation of star-struck ignoramuses.”

    Ah, the brutality, the brutality.

    This is the outcome of a society that does not read, where people watch a lot of television and refrain from building an insightful, problem-solving kind of mentality. The mind is vacuumed out by the passive medium of television, the grasp of nuance goes missing, the role of ego is enlarged, and compassion switches off when the tube goes cold.

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  5. Lack of problem-solving ethic = emo mentality/culture. This is a two-edged sword. It hinders insightful root-cause identification and development of robust solutions, and it gets morons like Noynoy Aquino elected. Actually, what is remarkable about this list is a lack of religious personalities. Maybe that is the silver lining in all this. ;-)

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  6. Luckily, I was not holding anything in my hands when I was reading the list otherwise, I have to buy anew PC monitor.

    I'm seeing Penoy's hand behind this.

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  7. "Actually, what is remarkable about this list is a lack of religious personalities."

    Churches are mainly guy places, in the upper heirarchies. The glass ceilings are thick, of plexiglass. I was surprised Ms. Arroyo was not on the list. I think she is still pulling a lot of strings, or exercising heady influences through prior appointments (like, who is on the Supreme Court and the weird sense of justice they render).

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  8. If people don't believe in the goodness of man how can they believe in the goodness of God?

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  9. Never judge someone if you don't know him/her personally.

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  10. There are unfortunately global implications in the fact that we are still considered in the Top 10 of the Most Emancipated Countries for women.

    That we apparently had two female heads of state, for all their faults, is beside the point.

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  11. The Whore, made the list...someday, we will
    elect an OFW servant/slave moonlighting as a Whore...

    ReplyDelete

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