Local boob tube today has gradually become a source of nuisance. Instead of supplying necessary, or at least therapeutic, audio-visual ideas, it has displayed reasons to start feeding their minds through other medium.
Primetime shows only make me ooze litany of laments which mostly wraps up with me throwing my hands in the air. Dominant in the airwaves are concepts I do not wish to elaborate. Reminding myself I do not belong to the target audience often ensues yet I always fail to remember this whenever the couch hypnotized me to stay.
A believer of wise usage of time as I am, I then resort to watching foreign movies tagged as weekend specials. I expect, of course, to see entertainment in a lofty level and notice pissing details in a minimal level. Never did I foresee it would be the best way to make a weekend rather uneventful. It is not about the epic-length, anti-climactic commercials. It is the Tagalog dubbing over the dialogues, the insurmountable method of attacking the audience’s comprehension skills, the improper act of applauding comedic or dramatic pieces that displease my senses. Horrible.
What does a normal person do once confronted with that kind of predicament? There were no other options: I reached for the remote control and pressed the power button. Off to my sanctuary I went and poured out my heavy heart.
Consequently, I found out that even animations are translated into Filipino. Renowned cartoons like Power Puff Girls, Men In Black, Starship Troopers, Beast Wars, Adventures of Jackie Chan, Spider Man and the likes were formatted to fit our screen. This was superbly achieved through stripping its original value in exchange of audience impact – a very imperative factor for a media practitioner.
This is truly appalling. The force behind this educates people, and alarmingly, the next breed of thinkers, doers and communicators, to think, do and communicate less. How feeble can these individuals get when that instant arrives? If the older generation perceives ours as an impending avalanche, then the upcoming batch is indeed bound to submerge down to the deepest depth of hell.
I recall laughing my heart out when my aunt who used to work in People’s Republic of China recounted how middle-aged teachers attempt to pronounce Basic English words. There was an occasion she gave them unsolicited explanation that Filipinos begin manifesting English verbal capacity in early childhood, greatly indebted to oral practice. While these residents of developing countries walk forward, we Third World couch potatoes take the opposite direction. The reason behind this, unfortunately, is still beyond my reach.
Now that the sickening truth has presented itself to me, I no longer find this matter funny. In fact, I respect the Chinese people for being equipped with knowledge to pinpoint the hindrance to their desired development and determination to reverse the situation. I feel the otherwise to most of my fellowmen who remain firm to sit idly by, pop corn bucket in hand, and bask in the reputation of our predecessors as the best English speakers in the region.
It is also important to stress that Taglish is widely tolerated in all corners of the Philippines. This is a potential threat that adds up to the fact that the following representatives of the nation have the tendency to stutter, or worse, respond with a blank look on their faces. What I dread more is the idea of them refusing to meet up and exchange thoughts. No one aspires to be classified by those people to hail from a linguistically inept race.
The solution should be done. And fast. The producers of these translated audio-visual series should realize right about now that they have dug a dungeon where the hole that leads to escape is located within. Instead of being attentive to the audience’s whim, they should enforce the correct use of English. They should emphasize as well that learning the universal language does not imply total refusal to maintain our nationality. In contrast to popular belief, this secures a brighter future for our ailing nation since we only have our human resources to compete against.
It could be speculated that media practitioners pattern their professional decisions after their respective recipients. Thus we audience play a vital role in this neglected issue. Furthermore, continuous passivity entails a long-term supply of inferior programming in which everyone is a victim. Should this really go on?
As an individual, I am greatly annoyed for how my viewing habit altered. I deserve to watch pleasant shows, don't I? I am also concerned for the probable outcome of these translations to my fellow audience, and most importantly, to my fellow Filipinos. Discriminatory viewing has long been delayed, and will be further delayed if those who have the power to initiate an evolution on national television remain asleep.
NOTE: This piece was written for my column on my laboratory publication in senior college, Catalyst. With the growing viewers of 24, Alias, etc, I have to re-open the jar.