Philippine society is full of contradictions. One of its many contradictions is that the Philippines is populated mostly by religious zealots and yet its people are quite tolerant of sexual and lifestyle deviants. About ninety percent of the population in Philippines are Christians, eighty percent belong to the Roman Catholic Church while ten percent belong to other Christian denominations. Considering the country’s population is reaching its 100 millionth mark, that’s a lot of Christians bundled together in one place. It is said to be one of two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being East Timor. However, a lot of Filipinos behave very un-Christian like. Their behavior is actually enough to put other people off Christianity.
If you don’t believe me, just look up the name Kris Aquino and you will see pictures of her praying but at the same time, you will also see write-ups about her marriage annulment, sexual liaisons, plastic surgery, public spats with other people, marriage annulment (again), etcetera, etcetera. I don’t know how one can possibly reconcile that kind of behavior with her Catholic upbringing . Despite her very public meltdown, she is still hot property among advertisers because of her appeal to the masses. Filipinos both young and old still adore her. How’s that for inconsistency with Christ’s teachings?
But enough about Kris Aquino. Many people actually think she is just being herself and are quite forgiving of her. Maybe it has a lot to do with her last name too. Any further discussions about her and people will think you are either being petty, corny or even envious of her. People don’t expect her to behave in any way different to most other celebrities, like working out differences in a civilized and private manner. Some people actually admire her and want to emulate her in the way she shows everyone how to make problems go away — through having a lot of connections and more importantly, a lot of money to live the carefree life.
That’s how it is in Philippine society nowadays. People will forgive you for anything if you belong on the right side of the fence. Hey, they will even vote you in as the head of state even if you are one of the most unproductive Senators in the Philippines. Now, that’s another contradiction in itself because sloth is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
One of the most shocking things I have read lately is the news about the new Filipina singing sensation, Charice Pempengco. The news item stated that the eighteen year old had recently undergone non-invasive plastic surgery courtesy of the Belo Medical Clinic. Read an excerpt below from the article and weep:
MANILA, Philippines – Charice recently underwent non-invasive cosmetic procedures at the Belo Medical Clinic as part of her preparations for the second season of “Glee.”
It was Dr. Vicki Belo who did the thermage and Botox procedures on the 18-year-old international singing sensation.
While the 30-minute thermage procedure was painless, Charice was in tears as Belo injected Botox in her face, specifically in the jaw area. Charice admitted that she was afraid of needles.
Belo explained that the thermage and Botox were meant to make her “naturally round face” more narrow.
“Charice’s face, I’ve been noticing, it’s been getting wider… That’s why she looks mataba, although the body is very small, because your face is getting wide. One of the reasons for that, nagchew-chewing gum [siya]… Our chewing muscles, if you chew a lot of gums, it gets bigger,” Belo said.
Call me old fashioned but whatever happened to loving yourself for how God made you? I’m not the most religious of people and I believe that what people do with their lives is none of my business. But I’m just trying to point out that Filipinos are fond of quoting God and using the Almighty to justify their actions but do the opposite of what God supposedly wants them to do.
I really don’t understand how the rest of my fellowmen can tolerate such superficial preoccupations. I don’t see anyone else being outraged by Charice’s decision to alter her looks.
There are so many things that actually bothered me with the above news item. One of them is the fact that at a young age, Charice is being made to believe that she needs to do something about her looks in order to fit into the Hollywood scene. I wonder who among her handlers initiated the idea that she needs to look a certain way in order to make it there? It is quite ridiculous considering she already got noticed with her original appearance anyway. Someone needs to tell Charice pronto that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” before she starts looking like Joan Rivers at twenty years old.
Another thing I found disturbing are the lies that doctor Vicki Belo is telling her. How big a factor does chewing gum play on the size of or amount of fat in people’s cheeks anyway? That lady is one piece of work.
Unfortunately, in a country so obsessed with titles and diplomas, the title “Dr” before Vicki Belo’s name makes her so credible that people believe her nonsense. The problem is, one does not need to be a psychiatrist to see that Ms. Belo is promoting an unhealthy way for Charice to regard her physical appearance. Years of therapy may be needed to undo the damage she could potentially be inflicting on Charice. It is also sending the wrong message to the rest of society; a message that you need to be perfect to be accepted by everyone and to be considered successful.
As of this writing, that article has been shared almost 600 times and retweeted almost 200 times. I can only assume that people find it great that she went through the procedure, which is sad and disturbing. I suppose it is because almost every Filipino is proud of her at the moment for making it in Hollywood. Here we go again latching on to the very few times a Filipino makes a name for herself overseas. Why can’t we be proud of our own even while they are still within our shores? Why do we only pay attention to someone when they are making waves in the international scene?
For that matter, if Charice really wants to prepare for her role in Glee and a career in Hollywood, she’d better be ready to bare a bit of skin. Sadly, not too many in Hollywood had ever made it big without showing a bit of flesh. Let’s face it, Charice might have a voice good enough for the international audience but what other talent does she have? She cannot write her own songs, and we (and the producers) have yet to see if she can really act. It remains to be seen if her stint in Glee will bear fruit in the long term.
If I were in her shoes, rather than concentrating on enhancing my looks with plastic surgery, I would work on enhancing my talent in the performing arts if that is really what she wants to pursue because talented people are a dime a dozen in Hollywood. Any one can sing but if you don’t have the “it” factor, then you won’t last there. If Charice’s fifteen minutes of fame runs out and she does not have any other alternative other than doing a karaoke songfest, it is “bye-bye” as soon as she says “hello” to Hollywood.
Don’t get me wrong though. I am happy for her success; it is just a shame that she has to ruin her reputation by undergoing cosmetic enhancement. A newspaper headline from one of the newspapers overseas is even titled “Glee Teen’s ‘tox shock!” It makes one wonder if Kris Aquino as a role model has desensitised the whole of Philippine society to the whole plastic surgery world and made these procedures more acceptable.
Philippine society is full of contradictions. In a society that is so afraid of hell, Filipinos would do what it takes to make it anywhere even if they have to sell their soul to the devil.