the soap opera of real life

Recently, I have been getting a little lot of telly time. As soon as I get home from review lectures, I flick in the remote to a news program. This extends to watching a telenovela which features the story of a dead woman given a second chance to undo her mistakes in her previous life to finally get to heaven.

Other than the headlines ("ulo ng mga balita" as the anchors will call it), I am really disgusted on how the networks pick what kind of stories to feature on the news programs. I grew up hearing the same gory details of a father raping his little daughter or a man out of too much alcohol stabs a neighbor passing by. I don't understand why the staff of these news program would choose to broadcast these stories instead of the little good things that happen around. There are a lot, I tell you. Yes, it will certainly not "sell" to the greater masses only because they are not used to it. Through the years, media has actually shaped the minds of the viewing public to gruesomeness and criminality. 

I also grew up watching telenovelas from the original Mara Clara to counting 100 days for Connie Reyes to get to heaven. I was just appalled and finally awoken to the truth that these soaps teach people how to play victim to the misfortunes that fall upon them. Just the other day, I saw this lady setting up a revenge plot to the company owned by the lead lady character who apparently bought his father's toy design for less than what it sentimentally costs. From then, she resented the woman and thought that she had to redeem her father's dignity. She went on in life blaming the woman for her father's illness, their poverty and her seemingly endless chase for happiness. However, backtracking a little, she failed to see that what actually caused their misfortune was her stubbornness not to play with electric wires which eventually razed their house to the ground. In fairness to this new telenovela, there was redemption when some other characters helped her see her faults and eventually she did not get away with her other offenses so she ended up in jail. That was good, BUT, how many shows actually to this? 9 out of 10 still depicts the I-am-a-loser plot. 

I do not believe that media is not aware that it is a very powerful tool of influencing the society. I think I need not even say that to the people in there. The question is how are these people using this power. After the Martial Law, media enjoyed too much freedom that it has actually became the most powerful entity in this country. It even has the power over the government. Sadly, to the point of abuse. Everybody must be aware of some news anchors over radio that randomly call government offices and shouts profane words to them if they don't get what they want. The people in media seemed to have forgotten that the little they say or do actually affects the nation. Where then is the responsibility in the freedom to speak? As we say in Filipino, "Pakiramdam ng langaw mas mataas pa sya sa kalabaw." 

I challenge the media practitioners to be courageous enough to speak the truth. The truth that is--there is good around us. Yes, evil exists. However, we tend to forget that there are two sides to a coin and what we focus on grows. Let us not be complacent about fighting evil, but let us not forget that there is more than evil around us and in each of us. 

Over dinner last night while I was ranting about this thought to my sister, she in turn shared with me ceratin reforms which the Department of Education (DepEd) is doing at the moment to improve if not altogether change the entire education system in the Philippines. I have actually heard this from one of the resource persons of DepEd working on this endeavor. I thought that since they've already informed the would-be teachers, this must really be underway. Why wouldn't the news programs feature this endeavors? Isn't this worth the airtime after all? Besides, if a major change is to be implemented by the government, should the people be actually apprised of it early on? Every human person needs sometime to adapt to major changes.  Then, I realized this must be the reason why our government gets to much criticisms--even on good policies. It does not prepare the people for change. Then the people go to streets, protest and create EDSA 3, 4, 5 til name it. I will talk about this on another article.  For now, maybe we should help each other know. Use Facebook, Twitter, blogs; talk over coffee; spread the information! Be in the know! Essentially, that is democracy.