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Friday, March 23, 2012

"Same, Same!"

I first heard this expression in Singapore, an offshoot of their so-called Singlish (Singaporean English), and it meant to convey that there was no difference between two or more topics or subjects under discussion.

It certainly came to mind after I heard a piece of disturbing news, courtesy of a recent survey conducted by Pulse Asia, regarding "senatoriables" - or people who were most likely to win if an election for senators were held at a given time.

(Courtesy of

(Courtesy of

"Queen Of All Media" Kris Aquino as well as incorrigible TV host Willie Revillame are included in the Top 20 list of Most Likely To Win For Senator, in a survey conducted just this February 26 to March 9, 2012 by the survey firm.

(See complete list here:

The world of politics and showbiz/entertainment: Same, Same!

I'll be honest - and I know many of my friends will hate me for verbalizing this - but when I hear news like this, it makes me doubt that we are meant to have a democratic form of government.

We keep coming up with the same scenario, over and over again.

It seems like our politicians are stuck to their positions with Super Glue. In this list, the names of Legarda, Escudero and Roxas dominated the top 3 spots, 2 of whom are current senators, one ran for Vice President, also a former senator who is currently a cabinet secretary.

The only additions I have seen since my teenage years are the showbiz personalities who now see politics as a "viable alernative" to where they originally started: We have, of course, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, who reached the top post of President. His best friend, Fernando Poe, Jr. could have been another President were it not for our "Hello, Garci!" 2004 winner, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who, likewise, is now a legislator - and one who owed a substantial part of her then popularity as a budding senator to a supposed physical resemblance to local legend Nora Aunor. (Vocally, they are universes apart.)

What is it about these two worlds that keep them in direct collision - and collusion - with each other?

It would be helpful to see what traits and qualities can be observed that cause them both to have the same zip code in the same neighborhood, or, we can say it altogether now, Same! Same!

(1) Let's get the obvious out of the way: both are popularity contests.

Just take a look at the survey results in the Pulse Asia link: A former broadcaster turned senator tops the list, Sec. Roxas is married to broadcaster Korina Sanchez and also appropriated the name Mister Palengke (Mr. Public Market), Kris Aquino and Willie Revillame need no introduction whatsoever, and media-genic politicians like the mahinahon (not burly) ways of Sen. Escudero, these are the ones most likely to have name recall and recognition.

Former President Estrada trounced then Speaker de Venecia, and we all know his masa fan base. (To be fair, Estrada rose up the ranks from the local city government, until senator, then Vice President before becoming President. He at least has the right to say he underwent many years of government service beore seeking the top spot.)

Current President Noynoy Aquino has the political pedigree behind him, even though he has neither the ferocity of his father nor the easy charm of his mother. And while opponents have trotted his practically non existent legislative record, his name recall, coupled with the fact of his mother's passing, have definite contributions to his election. I certainly support the President's drive against corruption - as if that needed further announcement, haha - but I seriously don't think he would have a chance of being President without the legacy of his parents.

Revilla. Bautista. Paulate. Santos. Sotto. Just a few names from showbiz that have parlayed their fame into political gold. Whether or not they are of actual public service isn't the point I'm focusing on, but the fact that they have the advantage of popularity before entering politics makes me want to ask them: would you seriously have given thought to entering politics if you weren't popular?

Showbiz doesn't need an explanation for the popularity concept, does it? It's very life revolves around fame, the moment you're laos (old news), the studios kick you out giving way to new blood.

Let's face it: If you're a bloody fantastic manager or public servant, but no one knows your name, you don't stand a chance in Philippine politics. The same rule is true in showbiz.

(2) Actual "talent" not required. You can learn on the job. Wink, wink.

Running a government department, crafting laws, taking social science courses or more legal education...they're only good on paper. In reality, many of our elected officials have none of these "talents", seeing as some of them are actor/singers/news readers, or just children of entrenched politicians ensuring their political fame - and future - from the start of the race. And if people ask for serious qualifications? They can just reply "it's our right to run, all it says under the law is that we have to be Filipino!"

Same banana in showbiz: You can't sing? Well, you're famous, and an okay actress, so yes, let's cut you a record deal! We have to translate that fame into music gold! (And the gold here is purely monetary, and says nothing about the music quality or vocal prowess, neither of which are present.) Or a hunky young nobody who can't act to save his life, but hey, he likes taking his shirt off at every chance, so let him star in a movie with top billing! And be sure to have shots of him in a barely-there bikini for the promotional materials!

More observations on the similarities between the political and showbiz worlds in the next post.


  1. Good news is we only elect 12 senators. Bad nes is it's only 1Q of 2012 and they can only get more popular in these surveys.

  2. Para ano pa at tatakbo sa halalan....kung ang rason ay para makatulong sa taumbayan ay puwede naman silang tumulong ng hindi nagiging politician.....sabagay kung politician ay hindi sariling pera nila lagi ang ilalabas para tumulong.....pero hindi yata tatakbo silang dalawa...

    1. Sana nga di na tumakbo. At tama ka, di kailangan magkaroon ng posisyon para makatulong...kung gugustohin, pwedeng gawin yun ng walang pwesto.

  3. Sad but I still believe the Philippines is improving, but very, very slowly. If Corona is impeached, it will set a precedent and remind people in government that they really have to shape up and get better because there is the possibility of consequence.

    1. Agreed. And educating the voters should be our collective responsibility.

  4. "same same" is also a word used in middle east meaning pareho or pare pareho lang .we better learn not vote the showbiz people ,same same lang ulit.

    1. Nice to know "same, same" is used elsewhere also!

  5. "same same" is also use in middle east meaning pareh or pare pareh lang .Pilipino's should learn not to vote the trapo's and the showbiz personality or the country will end up in trash.

    1. Unless changes are made in our TV lineup, we won't see that change anytime soon :(