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Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pride And Survivor

What constitutes national pride? I ask myself that as the worldwide juggernaut of a TV show begins its latest installment, Survivor Philippines. Online I see people tweeting or posting on their Facebook status, “Survivor Philippines makes me so proud of my country!” or some similar sentiment. And that made me wonder. I’m okay with the fact that the show brought in dollars for our economy. I’m also happy that the show becomes an international platform to showcase the beauty of Caramoan in Camarines Sur. But to be proud of it? What is it about Survivor Philippines that makes it a source of national pride? Why should we be proud of as Filipinos?

Predictably, as soon as I tweeted my musing, some immediately reacted, saying they were proud that this international show is showcasing the beauty of out country. One even chided me for being a sourpuss. They must have thought I was bursting their happy bubbles.

But I really am just curious: why should we be proud of being the setting of Survivor? Is it because Survivor shows the beauty of the Philippines, unlike The Bourne Legacy whose producers admitted that they chose Manila because of its dirt and chaos? But if it’s just showcasing the beauty of the Philippines, our Department of Tourism has been doing that for the longest time. Besides, anyone in production will tell you that the choice of location does not rest solely on its telegenic beauty. And if being a Survivor location is a matter of pride, then Upolu, Samoa and Koror, Palau have us beat, with the former being the location of two seasons and the latter of four seasons.

But it seems some of us really make a big deal out of any mention of anything Filipino on an international platform. I’m reminded of Phil. Daily Inquirer’s Ruben V. Nepales who, whenever he interviews a foreign celebrity, always looks for a Filipino connection with that celebrity. A friend of mine tweeted: “Eh kung proud nga tayo na Pinay ang asawa ng pinsan ng kabit ng kapatid ng isang NBA player eh.” To which I replied: “O proud tayo na yung may 1/4 Pinoy blood yung kapatid ng katulong ng teacher ng mga anak nina Brangelina.”

I’m proud of our heroes. I’m proud of our athletes. I’m proud of our country’s beautiful locations. But in Survivor Philippines the country is just a backdrop for the show, not front and center. The contestants are Americans, the whole production is American. I’m happy that part of our country is seen by millions of viewers all over the world. But proud?

Nationalism and patriotism should go deeper than just getting excited every time we hear the words “Philippines,” “Filipino,” and “Pinoy” uttered by foreigners, or when we find out that a Filipino is six or less degrees of separation from (insert foreign celebrity name here).


Sa Kalye ni Felipe said...

The same question enters my mind whenever "Filipino" is mentioned in world news or event. Ba't nga ba "proud" agad ang Pinoy? LOL.

rudeboy said...

We are a very insecure nation and race, for far too many reasons to go into here, especially not after a bottle of red.

Pinoy Pride, in its current manifestation, is little more than grasping for validation in the eyes of the world at large.

Advent said...

and some would celebrate "pinoy pride" in the most mundane things, not knowing that they are actually shooting themselves in the foot by saying so.

i agree with rudeboy.

i wish there will come a time when other countries would seek their validation FROM us. a man can dream. :)