Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday craze

  This is the first post that I'll write about this annual event in the U.S. Black Friday, as some of you are aware of, is an annual event that happens the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving day, which is every fourth Thursday of November. I have never been to the U.S. yet, so I haven't really witnessed or have been a part of the Black Friday trend where stores offer their lowest, doorcrasher prices that may or may not give Boxing day a run for its money. Actually, products are lower down south than here in the north, and that includes cars, which this Globe and Mail article by Joanne Will attests to. Granted, this article was written months ago, but that still does not change the fact that most products are cheaper in the U.S. than here in Canada. Anyway, that's another territory that I don't want to dive into today.

  What I find most fascinating about Black Friday is that Americans line up or even camp out Thursday midnight just to be the first in line to snag that iPad or any "hot" gadget when it's not really necessary. Okay, I understand that maybe some people do need to shop for Christmas gifts. I completely understand that. But what about those who just camp out on Thursday night or line up early on Friday morning just to grab that product that they "need"? It's just, I don't understand the need for buying or spending hundreds or thousands of dollars (like for an iPad, for instance, or a 60-inch LED HD 3D flat screen television) because it's Black Friday. Because everything is so cheap. And this is a once-a-year event. But do we really need them? I admit that I have succumbed to this corporate North American lifestyle after living here for a while but sometimes, when I go to Anti-Pinoy or Facebook and check this tour guide's profile (Carlos Celdran) where he posts pictures about the impoverished and the poorest of the poor communities in Manila, Philippines, I can't help but be guilty about going shopping or buying a hot chocolate from a local cafe. It's unbelievable how I get to live here in Canada and complain about the cold weather when these children in Ulingan, Manila are living in waste and garbage. It's completely unimaginable. It's horrifying. But I guess that's what makes North America first world nations and the Philippines a third world nation.

  I grabbed these photos from Carlos Celdran's Facebook, which he grabbed from Sidney Snoeck, the owner of these photos. 

  Please visit this website after seeing these pictures: Project Pearls

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What's News?

  I had to do a presentation in class about a news organization so I decided to give ABS-CBN a try and they didn't fail my expectations: they reinforced my beliefs on one of the reasons why I have lost hope for the Philippines.

  ABS-CBN, a television network in the Philippines, is owned by ABS-CBN Corporation, the largest media and entertainment empire in the country to date. When I was young I never cared about what channel to watch or which network has higher ratings. All I cared about were the shows that this channel broadcast. Do they broadcast Sailor Moon? YuYu Hakusho? Akazukin Chacha? Kero keroppi and Hello Kitty? Bananas in Pajamas? Mask Rider, Shaider, and Bioman?  So yeah, I just cared about making sure that when I turn on the tv these shows are on—I don't care what time it is, if I know that they broadcast these shows, I'll watch them. Because that's how much I love them. Okay, maybe not really care that I would stay up late but you know what I mean. I assume too much, but that's me. Or maybe because I'm just too tired to think tonight. 

  Anyway, I did my presentation on Monday, November 14th, so I had to cover the news broadcast for November 14th as well, since Canada is 14 hours behind the Philippines (without DST). If I was doing a news organization in North America or Europe, I would've covered the 13th broadcast.

  I don't know if it was me, the network, or the day itself, but it was a pretty slow news day. Why? Well, the broadcast runs 75 minutes every night (as it says on its wikipedia; I'm too lazy to find it in their website) including ads so if you remove them (which are a lot, I tell you), maybe it'll be a 40-50-minute broadcast? Don't quote me on that one; it's just a wild guess. What I want to point out is that the whole broadcast was about the Pacquiao fight that they "missed" or "forgot" to report about the 113 representatives absent on Monday (PH time), the day after the fight. Shows you how credible Philippine politicians are eh? See, those are two of the number of reasons why I have given up the country: the news media and politicians. And oh look it says that based on a study, the Philippines has the most number of political dynasties in the House of Representatives compared to the Japanese, American, Mexican, and Argentinian legislatures. Hooray for the country! Unfortunately, the study didn't name who these families were. Fortunately for some Filipinos, they have a clear idea who these dynasties are. Like the current president, Benigno Aquino III, the son of Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., who was a senator and governor and mayor of Tarlac, and Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, the former (and first) female President of the Philippines. I haven't even mentioned his grandparents yet. But don't worry; he's not the only one. Even if the study doesn't mention names, I'm pretty sure the readers of the article can identify who these families are. What I'm most worried about is that these stories did not make it to the Monday broadcast of TV Patrol, the nightly news broadcast of ABS-CBN, where a million Filipinos tune in every night. Probably because these stories don't make the headlines anymore because they're not entertaining enough to appeal to the audience. News has now become infotainment, where news are becoming entertainment to please the audience of today's world.

  I hope something will change in the news organization, but for now, I doubt that with the way the news is being covered in ABS-CBN particularly TV Patrol, change might happen in a long, long time.  

For further reading on news as an entertainment value, read Knowlton Nash's Trivia Pursuit: How Showbiz Values are Corrupting the News

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the k-pop fan in me

BigBang from left to right: Seungri, G-Dragon, Taeyang, Daesung, and T.O.P.
photos above and below from MTV EMA via BigBang updates

  I'm not gonna lie, I got excited when Big Bang won as the Worldwide Act in the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards held at Belfast, Ireland on November 6, 2011. I don't usually listen to other music aside from Filipino or Western artists, but because I watch Korean and Japanese dramas and movies, I tend to like some of the soundtracks. So while I google for these songs, I divert my attention to South Korean pop groups such as Big Bang and 2NE1. I am also familiar with Wondergirls, Girl's Generation, Super Junior, DBSK (or TVXQ or JYJ), SS501, T-Max, CN Blue, and F.T. Island to name a few because I come across their performances whenever I browse youtube. However, I have a bias for the YG artists (a Korean talent agency and record label) Big Bang and 2NE1 because I like their music and style better than the others (and no bashing please; to each their own). I kind of understand why some people prefer SNSD (Girl's gen) or DBSK because I think these artists worked really hard before they reached the success they're having now.

  So on Sunday while I was doing my paper I was listening to Big Bang's "Haru haru", Tae yang's "I need a girl", and 2NE1's "It hurts" over and over again. The repeat button probably feels harassed already. Heh. Two or three years ago I would have no idea who the Big Bang or 2NE1 members were even though I was familiar with them, the same as how I have a Si-won, Hee-chul, and Kim Ki-bum bias in Super Junior (or SuJu, as they are commonly called). I mean, I know what Si-won, Hee-chul, and Ki-bum look like when I watch SuJu videos but I don't know the others nor listen to their songs all the time. But after browsing these groups, I realized that I lean more on 2NE1 and Big Bang. And who could resist these boys? 

  The more I watch their live performances, the more I like them. Thank goodness there's youtube that I can watch them anytime I want. I used to like G-Dragon (Kwon Ji-young) and T.O.P. (Choi Sang-hyun) but lately GD is slipping away from me as Tae yang (Dong Young-bae) makes his way into mine (pffft.). Especially after I heard this song and watched the music video. 

  I find the song really catchy and Taeyang doesn't hurt either. One can't really blame me if I keep listening to this song the whole day and even the day after that. However, that's just my inner K-pop fan who loves these Big bang boys and their female counterpart 2NE1. Funny though, because the next day the song was still playing in my head but when I kind of got tired listening to them I switched to The Magic Numbers and involuntarily sang a Rivermaya song. So yeah. That pretty much says that these artists are in me unlike the boys who are just hanging out in my subconscious, waiting to be tapped. But really, I am glad that they won so that people would be familiar with them and the k-pop fandom. Hah, take that, Britney Spears!

BigBang at The MTV EMA 2011
from left to right: Seungri, Daesung, Taeyang, T.O.P., and G-Dragon
photo from allkpop