Willing Willie Away

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I didn’t want to click on the link and watch the clip. After all, I know how much of a jerk Willie Revillame is and how he’s done so many other outrageous things in the past. And while many immigrant Filipinos watch his show, I can’t even look at his face.

I know contempt isn’t something I should hold in my heart, but when it comes to this man, I really, really can’t help it. From the very start, he has always come across to me as a pompous fool who takes advantage of the impoverished to feed his star.

But last night my sister and I finally watched the clip. And couldn’t finish it. Yes, it was that bad.

For money Jan-Jan, a six-year-old boy, was brought to Revillame’s show. That alone rang a warning bell.

It started badly. The boy sent a shout out to his parents. As soon as he said his father worked in a parlor (salon), you could just imagine Revillame’s eyes start to gleam. Like a predator, he honed in on something he suddenly realized he could exploit for cheap laughter. He started making insinuations about the father, and the audience responded as expected.

This aunt, whom Jan-Jan acknowledged with what I thought was fear and ready tears in his eyes, was a Revillame fan. As she was introduced, she asked for permission to hug him. It was her long-held dream, she said, to hold him. He let her, then gave her money. I watched his face as he received the woman’s adulation. Smug and proud, the man acted like he truly deserved this. And more. Sick, I tell you. Sick.

So the little boy was made to dance–repeatedly–like a stripper, to the amusement of Revillame and the brainless chortling of the audience. And the repeated oily platitudes dripping from the man’s mouth. You can watch the clip on You Tube. Grab a barf bag if you do.

As much as I hated what happened, I wasn’t going to say anything. I didn’t want to add to the attention the guy was getting. After all, he looked like he loved publicity, good or bad. And he has survived other controversies before, emerging barely unscathed. It looked like the money he was bringing in would keep talking and drown out the voices of decency and respect.

But then I read what others had to say. And I figured, what the heck, it may be a losing fight but I’ve never been one to sit on the fence on anything that touched my heart. So I’m adding my voice, and my blog, to those who are speaking up against the man. Maybe, just maybe, he will leave.

But I was also thinking–it is the audience and viewers who give Revillame his platform. Without them, the advertisers and then the network would drop him like they would the newspaper print used to wrap yesterday’s rotting fish. Which is the equivalent of his actions.

So you have to think about the implications of fact. Has our nation’s grinding poverty really reduced us to this–that we should easily trade common decency for a few cheap laughs and the chance to take home a few hundred pesos?

If the answer to this is yes, I must rest my case. There’s nothing I can say to that. After all, I partly hesitate to even ask the question because unlike many of my fellow Filipinos, I know where tomorrow’s bread is coming from.

But then, I also know many who are less fortunate and yet show more dignity and respect for hard work than I could ever have in my little finger. So really, it’s not a question of poverty.

It’s a question of how much our nation really values decency and the worth of others, particularly of our women and children. The answer to this will determine whether men like Revillame will continue to rule from their staged thrones.

I know our country has bigger problems to solve. But in the working and the worrying, let’s not forget about children like Jan-Jan nor allow a fool like Revillame to make bigger fools of us all.

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9 responses »

  1. i totally loathe him too! he objectifies everyone especially women. just check out the scantily dressed women in the background dancing like they are in a cheap pub and not on national (and international?) television. it’s amazing to even think that he has a daughter! he really has to disappear! unfortunately, he does have fans and until he does, he would “grace” prime time tv. 😦

  2. I can’t stand him. And I am appalled that he everytime he is faced with a controversy he emerges from it with a mere slap on the wrist. Unfortunately, our culture is one that likes to prey on other people’s misfortunes or flaws for our own entertainment (remember recess back in grade school when the other kids would mercilessly pick on the dark-skinned fella, or the fat girl, or the girl with the “sungi” teeth?). We are in the habit of putting people down, the “crab mentality” as they say, which is why the nation doesn’t prosper. Decency doesn’t mean a lot to us if we can get a laugh out of it. The fact that Joseph Estrada was in close running to win the presidency this past election proves that. The masses want to forget what a dire state they are in, and they really have nothing more to lose. Might as well laugh it all away.

  3. Agree with you both. Apparently, the guy went on a 20-minute rant and then said it felt good to know he had the nation on his side!

    As much as I love my home country, I know too that in many ways the masses have to grow up.

  4. Tigilan na nga ninyo si Willie. Tignan nga ninyo ang sarili ninyo . Perpekto ba kayo? Minsan nakakainis na din ang ibang tao . Basta nakikitang gumaganda ang programa talagang gagawin ang lahat para hilahin pababa. Mag- isip na lang kayo ng magagawa ninyo para sa mga mahihirap at makatulong sa mga maysakit at mga disabled na tao. Magiging kapakipakinabang pa kayo sa ating bansa. Mas maraming pagtuunan ng pansin ang corruption sa bansa ;Iyon ang batikusin ninyo. Naku, minsan personal na lang iyan. Magnilay nilay kayo mahal na araw pa naman .Palaging inggit na lang ang dahilan minsan kaya pinasasama ang maliit na bagay.Gumawa na lang kayo ng mabuti sa kapwa at mahihirap na kababayan.

    • Hi Dollie,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      You’re obviously a Revillame fan so there’s no use in hashing this out. But let me just say that yes, we do what we can to help back home and that in no way, not in this world or the next, is child abuse ever a “maliit na bagay.”
      And how is it “personal” if we don’t even know Revillame, and how is it inggit if, despite all his reported millions, we believe that he lives in poverty of spirit?

      Here’s something by Rina Jimenez-David, from her column At Large (PDI), that I think sums it all up:

      “…And Willie’s many fans will think that his actions and words during the show of the dancing Jan-Jan were all innocent, that he in fact “wanted” to help the boy by giving him a P10,000-prize, and that he has nothing but the welfare of his fans at heart.
      We will end up perpetuating the myth of mendicancy that shows like “Willing Willie” exploit and thrive on. We will end up with a viewing public that thinks laughing, jeering and mocking a crying boy is all part of the fun, that there’s nothing wrong with it, and that parents have the absolute right to make a child do anything they want.”

    • this is exactly the unfortunate attitude why willie can get away with anything in this country! people totally need to wake up! OMG!

  5. Hello Dollie,

    I reckon that you enjoy watching Willie’s shows and probably, just probably, you are one of those people cheering and laughing while that innocent child was dancing like an illiterate macho dancer, and I bet. . . you enjoyed it. I bet! You filled your heart by doing so.

    Dear me! Must I ask you to put yourself in another’s shoes to consider the shocking news in this matter! Very well! Let’s say I took your daughter! (getting warmer?) I called her to clean in my house because your family is somewhat, poverty stricken, I called her to wash my clothes and then I’d pay her. For EXTRA MONEY (oh i think you’re getting the picture now huh) I instruct her to dance like a stripper would do. Now, I won’t touch her, I’m just gonna let her dance BECAUSE I want to HELP her! I laugh and salivate as my eyes scrutinize every corner of you daughter’s body! And boom! I just helped reduce poverty by exploiting your daughter!

    Okay, I’ll use Tagalog since you replied Abet in Tagalog. But I won’t use your daughter in this next context.

    Tanong! Magkano ba ang dignidad mo? Ten thousand pesos?

    Ang pagnood sa isang palabas ng isang oras (o kaya dalawang oras pataas) ay. . .parang nakaka-aksaya ng oras? Okay sige alisin nalang natin yung “parang” kasi aksaya nga talaga ng oras. Sa halip na pakainin mo ang mga anak mo para makabalik na sila sa pagaaral ay nanonood kayo ng nakapababaw na anyo ng libangan! Ang pagnood ba ng mga babaeng halos hubad ay nakakatulong ba, yung mga dancers ni Willie?

    Ang sabi mo, tigilan na namin ang paghuhusga kay Willie at tignan ang aming sarili, pero tatanungin kita; Tinignan mo ba ang sarili mo? Sigurado ka ba na may naiwang dignidad sayo? May 10k pa ba sa bulsa mo?

    Wag po kayo maging emosyonal dito at wag na wag niyo hayaang maging sagabal ang emosyon sa pagsusuri ng mga isyung ganito sa ating bansa.

    Alam ko pong fan kayo ni Willie, at nakatulong siya sa buhay mo. Pero ang mali . . .ay mali parin, at kailangan po nating wastohin ang mga ganito. Ang lahat ng tao ay nagkakamali, tama po kayo dyan. Pero ang lahat ng tao ay may kakayahan ring ayusin ang pagkakamali, ngunit di natin masisisgurado na nawasto natin ito gamit ang sariling mata lamang. Ang hukuman ng ibang tao ay kailangan rin.

    Please let us be us be critical on this Dollie, I admire indeed Willie’s efforts in lessening poverty BUT then again. A wrong is a wrong, never a right.

    I hope you don’t take this against me and be objective on this matter. Good day.

  6. Hi Dollie,
    Like Ate Abet said, yes we do what we can do to help with the poverty. We send money to our family, friends and relatives back home – even if it is tight on our budget and we’re not “millionaires” like Willie is. I’m surprised that you see the need to stand up for Willie; very decent of you protecting a smarmy worm like him. Sure, he does what he can to help the poor, but there is a decent way to do it without exploiting the dignity of others. Your response begs an answer to this question: “Does the end justify the means?” Willie Revillame is using his millions to laugh at other people’s demise. He believes that he can make the poor do whatever he wants for a couple of pennies out of his pocket. Does that sound justifiable to you? It’s like stem cell research. Is it okay to kill an embryo (a living being) for its stem cell to experiment for potential research of replicating human organs? Too far-fetched?
    Take Willie’s dancers, example. Would you have raised your daughter for a slime like Willie to undress her with his eyes on television, and then pay her for him to be able to do that making her no less than a public prostitute? And boys like Jan-Jan, how much do you really think Willie did for their poverty? P10,000? I’m sure it’s a lot at the time, but that feeds him and his family for how many days before they are back to the same state again, and even worse; because they no longer have their dignity, as they were dehumanized and degraded by Willie in front of the camera. He preys on their need, exploits it for his amusement, then he debases them and hands them some pocket cash and throws them back on the streets. Shame on people like you who let him do that! No he doesn’t help the economy. Sure he feeds them for a couple of days but for what? So he could take what little humanity and dignity they have left? They are no better for it, but are worse, and people who patronize him are just as bad. People who laugh at someone else’s misfortunes, flaws, and brokenness are people who lack a conscience, mercy and compassion.

  7. Ms. dollie

    Hindi totoo na “basta nakikitang gumaganda ang programa talagang gagawin ang lahat para hilahin pababa.” His critics did not criticize him so because of envy. They are pointing out what a distasteful, terrible thing he did, and they are right.

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