Si Willie Revillame at Ang Ating Mga Konsensya

Not another blog on Willie Revillame, you say. There is so much fuss on this host these days that anybody who writes about controversies involving him end up repeating what others say or, probably, to put it bluntly: "nakikisawsaw na lang sa issue." So here's my apology in advance--here are my views, they could not be the same as yours but I am sharing anyway. This is not about language, I know, but it's about us...as TV viewers, parents, citizens, Filipinos, and any other demographics where I belong.

I just watched a replay of the show last night with my siblings to find out for myself what the fuss was all about. The latest in series of controversies since 2003: Willie Revillame and a six-year-old boy who danced on "Willing Willie" (March 12 episode). Eh di ba nga nag-react na ang lahat (UNICEF, PANA, CHR, DSWD, atbp) sa sinasabi nila na possible violation of the child's rights? At madami na ring nagsabi sino ka/ako/sila para humusga.  Oo nga naman.  Teka nga, matanong ko nga pala ano ba talaga ang nangyari at bakit maraming nagalit at nagpalitan ng salita sa isyung ito? Eto ang ilang mga katanungan na maaring makatulong sa atin mag-isip kung bakit naging malaking issue ang nangyari sa "Willing Willie."

Anong masama sa pagsayaw ng bata?  In fairness, it's not the first time I have seen a kid dance like he did.  I've seen relatives' or friends' kids do the same. What the heck, I might have seen my kids dance like that before. And by the very nature of them being children, wala namang masama sa pagsayaw nila. They don't know any better. Hindi nila alam ang tama at mali hangga't di sila pinagsasabihan ng mga magulang nila o ng mga nakakatanda. Pero aaminin ko, di natin dapat hayaan na magsayaw ang mga musmos ng ganyan. I am being honest here. Ayoko ding nakikita ang anak ko na umaarteng naninigarilyo o umiinom ng alak.

Ano ang alam ni Willie sa pagsayaw ng bata? May opinyon ba siya tungkol doon? Pagkatapos sumayaw ang bata sa unang pagkakataon, sabi ni Willie: "ganyan po ang hirap ng buhay ng tao. Si Jan-jan, siya pinagsasayaw bilang macho dancer sa edad niyang yan para sa kanyang mga mahal na pamilya." He also mentioned Burlesque Queen.Revillame knew what the dance is usually associated with. In fact, he even told the audience and TV viewers about it. The boy was dancing like a stripteaser. I mean no insult to stripteasers or anybody involved in this business but you and I know that stripteasers or macho dancers are not what we want our children to become or to emulate.

Anong ginawa ni Willie kahit alam niya kung anong klaseng sayaw ang sinasayaw ng bata? He did not force the boy to dance repeatedly. Force is not the right word here, I am at loss for words but then I end up thinking "provoke" or in our own language maybe we can say "tinukso." At this point, let me say, even the director (or whoever runs the show) has a role to play here. The boy danced every time the music was played--more than three times. What were they thinking? Why did they keep that music playing when it's obvious the boy will dance to it every time it is played?

So there. Consider these questions carefully and tell me: should we be concerned about what happened?  That is, regardless of whether it is a case of child abuse/exploitation or not. A specific government agency is tasked to look into that. Nevertheless, we should be concerned because clearly many of us do not know what we should allow our kids to do. Proof? We are still arguing whether what Willie did was wrong or not.

Willie Revillame is guilty of being an irresponsible adult--something many of us might have done when we got carried away during the show, something many of us could be doing with our children. Let's admit it, some of us laugh when we see our kids pretend like adults lighting a cigarette or drinking beer. Striptease dancing is just another form of dancing to a child but we know better. It was truly a lost opportunity for Willie R. and other people involved in the production of the show to tell the parents that the boy can do something other than gyrate like a macho dancer. Or they could have just toned it down, moved on to the game itself instead of provoking the boy to dance over and over again. The boy's parents should have taught the boy that he should not dance like he did..

Many of those who say "leave Willie alone" argue that other issues deserve our attention than this. I agree! But isn't this an excuse for turning a blind eye to this incident? It's true, we haven't saved kids sniffing rugby in the streets nor donated money for the cause. It does not mean we ignore this as well. Shouldn't we be like Ghandi: "My commitment is to truth, not consistency." We have ignored some issues in the past, let's not consistently ignore them.

We are all guilty here. Let this incident open our eyes to the reality that we sometimes do not really know what is best for our kids as evidenced by people's comments on both sides of the argument for and against Willie.

Does it matter if the child was forced or not? I don't think so. I just wonder why some people argue the kid was not traumatized or that he did not cry because he was forced to dance. That's not the point! The point is Willie R. and others involved in the show should not have repeatedly encouraged the child to do something inappropriate. What if a child sees somebody light a reefer (marijuana) and proceeds to do it thinking it's a skill or talent, will you just laugh and not educate the child and explain to him why it is bad?

If anything should come out from this incident, the first thing should be that we all learn from it. Everybody--the government, the media, TV hosts, producers, parents, and everyone involved in the care and raising of children. Heads should be coming together now to re-think the way this society treats children.

Are we letting our kids portray roles in the media that do not really teach them or other kids good values? (Going Bulilit is cute but sometimes children are being made to act and talk like grown-ups, where are the good lessons for kids here?)

Are we forcing or pushing our kids to excel in their studies so much that we have forgotten they are children and need to enjoy their childhood?

Are we encouraging our kids to develop their skills and talents or are we really just pushing them to make us proud? (Kiddie talent shows sometimes unwittingly let contestants cry a river to prove their acting abilities)

Enough said. Let's learn our lesson and learn it well. Willie Revillame (and those who cheered while the boy was dancing) showed that some of us adults have forgotten or choose to ignore the fact that children need us to guide them, protect and respect them, and to uphold their dignity as human beings.


Why Earthquake and Tsunami Prophecies Seem To Come True (Magugunaw na ba ang mundo?)

Because there is always a 100 percent chance of earthquake everyday, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), you can say that there will be an earthquake tomorrow and it could happen. Kung nabasa ninyo ang comment ko sa isa ko pang blog, sa tecrispeak, na nanaginip ako ng rumaragasang tubig at pagkalunod ng mga kamaganak, masasabi niyo kaya na nahulaan ko ang tsunami sa Japan bago pa nangyari? Ang totoo, we can expect an earthquake to happen any day like we can expect a red car to pass the street any time. Japan knows this. Though Japan is now facing enormous devastation brought by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake, it could have fared worse if not for the country's disaster preparedness which has saved the lives of thousands of its people. (Click here for the English version of this post)


How to Make A Baby Multilingual: Isang Kwento ng Pag-Ibig

It's a typical girl meets boy story. Twenty-three-year old guy loves 19-year-old gal so they got married. Simple lang di ba? Hindi rin! It's complicated. Para mo na rin pinagsalubong ang Batanes at Jolo.

If an Ibanag and a Cebuano will make babies, how will they be raised? Mag-ta-Tagalog ba, Ibanag o Cebuano?  If you fall-in-love with a Cebuano-speaker, you live in Baguio, and you speak Ilokano and Cebuano, what will you do? Madali lang. Kung gusto mong matuto ang mga anak mo ng Cebuano, mag-Cebuano kayo sa bahay. Sa labas, matututo din yan ng Ilokano, English at Tagalog. Gaya ng sabi ng tatay ko, siguradong matututo ang mga bata ng lokal na wika, at pati Filipino at English sa paaralan. Rule of thumb: speak the minority language.  Ibig sabihin, sa bayan ng tatay ko, Cebuano kami sa bahay dahil di namin matututunan 'to sa labas.

Okay, you say you don't care because your kids speak English anyway. Ang tanong: pumapayag ka bang kausapin siya ng ibang tao ng Tagalog o ng yaya niya gamit ang kanyang sariling wika? Hindi? Your choice. But I tell you, it's really okay to let others speak to your children in languages other than what they use with you. Though some have reported a slight delay in language development (further research needed here) among children exposed to a bilingual or multilingual household, these children will soon catch up and will be able to speak in more than one language too. Go to the Multilingual Children's Association website for more answers to questions you may have in mind.