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February 05, 2006


Mila Tan

Tragic in all aspects.


The night following the early morning Ultra horror, ABS-CBN was supposed to have held another major extravaganza at the Roxas Boulevard baywalk--the Celebrity Pinoy Big Brother launch. To show their deep heartfelt regret for the terrible tragedy, the network management postponed the show FOR ONE WHOLE DAY. Then, in that bravest of showbiz traditions, ABS-CBN and its talents decided the fucking show must fucking go on, the very next day. Translation: No way would they return the advertising sponsors' money. Over their dead bodies, if you'll pardon the choice of words. Anyway, if the lumpen audience decided to stampede again (their fault, ABS-CBN security said), they could bloody well leap into the bay and drown, like proper lemmings.

Madonna English

Yesterday’s pointless deaths of 74 people at Ultra fall into that bracket.

It is. It's so pointless I could weep for days.


As for the Roxas extravaganza, have a heart! They have already paid off the Mayor -- would they get that money back if they cancelled?

There are some thoughtful and some unbelievably obnoxious comments on Ultra in the thread that follows the Sassy Lawyer's piece.



there are two assumptions operating in all the stampede discussion threads i've read so far that i don't like:

1.) that the dole-out-slash-get-rich-quick mentality demonstrated by the stampeders (and exploited by the network) is characteristic of ALL lower-class filipinos, which is untrue, and

2.) that wowowee and eat bulaga are the twin cornerstones of filipino pop culture, which they are not.

the symbolic meaning of the event is lost on me because i consider neither the victims nor the network symbols of our country.


Mcoy -- good comments. No argument with (1). As for (2), if pop culture is measured by audience ratings (and from the hit parade to movie box office takings, that is how it is usually judged) I think these two shows are very significant (though they are not alone, as you say). The Philippines is not the only country to be plagued by such shows -- TV programmes driven by greed and introduced by phoney celebrities can be found everywhere, especially in my country, Britain.

As for the symbolism, thousands of desperately poor people, their heads full of illusory TV riches, clambering over each other for an infinitesimally small chance of escaping their misery seems quite an accurate reflection of modern society, to me at any rate.


Jon Limjap has a thought-provoking piece on Ultra: http://kapenilattex.blogspot.com/


torn, what you say is true. maybe i'm a little bit in denial. there's such a strong temptation to disown my countrymen's actions sometimes.


You think you have problems? Imagine if you had to explain away British football hooligans or "lager louts" (drunken British tourists)! I guess we all have our crosses to bear, but overall I don't think Filipinos have much to apologise for. Although people here seem to have a hard time believing it, I think the international image of Filipinos is quite a positive one. I think people would recognise that a tragedy like Ultra could happen anywhere in the developing world. In fact that same weekend three Brazilian kids were crushed to death trying to get autographs from their favorite pop stars.

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