(previous Blogger post, January 29, 2007, Monday)

I don’t believe it! I don’t watch Wowowee (a noontime variety-cum-game-cum-whatever show that has great mass appeal), yet on the very rare times that I land on it when I channel surf, something on the show makes me mad.Grrrr This time, they brought in a mass of Aetas (one of the earliest tribal inhabitants of the Philippines) to participate in the show. They are not in the audience, they are PART OF THE SHOW! The usually topless women were even given clothes – quite obvious that it was provided by the show since they were all dressed alike (plain tube dresses in assorted colors). Actually those looked more like skirts with garterized waists but worn around the chest instead.

Maybe I’m just over-sensitive, over-critical, over-whatever, and too biased against the show, but I really feel that this is a disrespect to the Aetas and to their culture. I also feel that this is also almost akin to tampering with a national treasure, tampering with a Filipino heritage. I am fine with the idea of entertaining them and helping them in the process, but the show should have been brought to the Aetas instead of the other way around. They have become the entertainment instead of being the ones entertained. I just feel like it’s screaming EXPLOITATION, like we’ll do a good thing for you, but do a good thing for us also. That’s not entertaining, that’s not helping. That’s just plain business. Ratings. Income. Ugh!

In my book, indigenous societies and cultures are sacred things that should never be a victim of modernity and progress for progress’ sake. It is true that they need to be educated and they need to have some awareness of the world outside their communities. A lot of these indigenous people who were fortunate to receive education have gone to build successful careers in cities, which enabled them to help their people in big ways. They are now reaping the benefits and are able to enjoy a lot of the things that we do. However, there are some things that should remain untouched. They should never be brought out of their communities just to be put on display to the public. Let them participate and enjoy but never turn them into a spectacle.

The bottom-line here is respect. And proper appreciation. Indigenous societies are great national treasures. It gives us a perspective of where we came from and how there were great civilizations way before the age of money, computers and the internet.

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