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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Will Someone Kindly Explain What Those "Society Pages" Are For?

My gut level response would be "to show off one's wealth". Which I find truly offensive, especially in a country like ours.

What would be the point in doing so?

I couch my incredulity and disbelief of the existence of these "society pages" on the basis of the economic realities of our lovely islands. Yes, yes, you should be proud of high purchasing power as a result of your hard work. No one can take that away from you. But to flaunt your high-end goods, the yacht parties and the decadent trips is a world away from being proud of one's monetary achievements.

Now, back to "economic reality". Here are some facts compiled by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) about the economic situation of the Philippines. (

- "Economic growth in the Philippines averaged 4.5% during the MACAPAGAL-ARROYO administration. Despite this growth, poverty worsened, because of a high population growth rate and inequitable distribution of income."

- 32.9% of our population live below the poverty line (rounding that off to 33%, that would be exactly 1/3 of our population)

- as of 2010, our unemployment rate stands at 7.3% (In a population of 90 million, that translates to roughly 6.5 million people unemployed.)

- this just in: the July 2011 estimate for our population now stands at 101,833,938, making us the 12th most populous nation in the world (and increasing the actual number of unemployed people, and we haven't even discussed underemployment in this equation as well)

This isn't exactly a rosy economic snapshot, and yet, strangely, week after week, we have sections in our national dailies entitled "Society" (or any permutations, thereof), which focus on the lives of the "ultra-rich glamorous jet-setters and their wild escapades", complete with party details (where the club is, how exclusive it is, how much a drink will set you back) and of course, let's not forget, complete snapshots of the chic party-goers in their oh-so-gorgeous killer dresses, chauffered in the latest sedans.

How can we thank these pages as well for the literary gems that we have now, thanks to these purveyors of "high class society": If you don't have a BFF (Best Friends Forever), or don't even know what that means, you're, like, so baduy noh. And if you're still not sure what course to take, may I suggest a bachelor's degree in "Eventology"? You get to party all night, drink like there's no tomorrow, and be one of a few to be called an "eventologist". (The suffix -logy has for its' root the word logos, and once you know what logos means, the term "eventology" becomes a joke and a half. As far as I know, there's only one person in the country who appropriates that term with pride. You could be next!)

You can't be seen in these "Society" pages if you don't have the proper footwear:

(Shoes by Louboutin)

The proper bag:

(Hermes Birkin bag)

Or you aren't using the proper moisturizer.

(Creme de La Mer, which retails for $1600 a bottle.)

Or how about those fashionable catfights (for the ladies) and brawls (for the guys), all of which are standard Society Page Decorum, the better to be gossiped and talked about?

Yes, a slice of the "rich life". If I wasn't being politically correct, I might say that everyone wishes to have a piece of that pie, that we can just throw away 67,200 pesos to ensure our skin will stay soft. (The price of the La Mer moisturizer in pesos.) Or maybe we can even do away with the cream and just go straight to the plastic surgeon - after all, high cheekbones and a pointy nose seem like requisites to be in those pages. (Do not forget the skin whitening treatments, as Filipinos are racists in general - yes, I said it aloud - and will look down on anyone with dark or black skin.)

Meanwhile, the rest of us have to struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet. While the "fabulous" party it up with a trip to Paris "just for the fun of it", some people cannot even earn 100 pesos a day to feed their family of 7. Juxtaposed with the scintillating glossies that perpetuate the myth of the glamorous life, it almost seems criminal to have these goods and parties thrown in our faces, when we live in a country that wakes up with the stench of poverty and sleeps under its' fitful gut-wrenching hunger.

Do we need to glorify pointlessness for the umpteenth time?

1 comment:

  1. Featuring events in newspapers would be ok for as long as there is a social relevance to it. But flaunting how one spent millions in a party is just so insensitive. I frankly hate it when I see features by that old guy who uses that expression "palangga" and that social climbing eventologist. These people are the epitome of social climbers and gold diggers.