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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Importance Of Being Anne

Anne Curtis has been taking a beating in social media (where her fans have been mightily defending her) in the, uhm, aftermath of her followup headlining concert. Much of the criticisms leveled her way has to do with her 'audacity' to pass off herself as a bona fide singer - in a country where Miss Saigon herself, Ms. Lea Salonga, once intimated was difficult to perform in front of, since almost everyone can sing.

I confess: I had 'liberal' guilt as I was thinking about the public reaction to Anne.

As a former chain smoker (it's been well over a decade since I last puffed my last stick), I would certainly be a 6 on a 7-point scale on the conservative-liberal spectrum. This is why I have no issue with people who light up, even if studies have conclusively proven cigarettes as harmful: you're an adult, you just have to accept the consequences of your choices.

And while I am not considering bunjee jumping this very moment, anyone else is free to do it. The possibility of death is there, but for thrill seekers, the rush outweighs the cost (and statistically, they would be right to discard the latter). Before you jump on my throat and say it is illogical to think of smoking and bunjee jumping on the same terms, my emphasis here is that as long as (1) one accepts the consequences if anything untoward happens and (2) as long as the only 'victim' is yourself, then you can smoke and bunjee jump - and even do them simultaneously - for all I care.

The reason my 'liberal' guilt came up is that, in the Anne Curtis scenario, she satisfies all those points.

First, I think it's clear with how she calls herself or her events - Anne-bisyosa (a play on ambisyosa or ambitious, with her name worked into it) or Anne-kapal (playing off ang kapal, or having a thick hide), that she doesn't think of herself as a singer. If anything, she actually uses the self-denigration card to charm her fans, and they eat it up.

She can't sing, her fans know it, and they're willing to cough up 5,000 pesos to see her prove that she can't sing. (Her own fans have dubbed her "The Noise of the Philippines" - see this article to read more.)

She didn't strap me down and force me to watch her concert.

Entertaining her heart out.
(Courtesy of

The people who watched her concert used their own money, they didn't take it out of my wallet. True, as a financial advisor, I would rather they put the 5,000 pesos to better use - in their savings or investments - but all I can do is advise, the decision still falls on the individual.

If you think of her as a comical act rather than a serious singer, I don't think even her critics will object to her having a concert every night. With her concert reportedly sold out, I'm sure the producers are raring to mount her next concert as we speak.

But will this be the future of music for this country, the way our film festivals have gone?

Every year, come December, when the Metro Manila Film Festival rolls around, we seem to have the same question collectively: this is the best we can come up with?

A warrior whose legacy has been passed from father to son (and incidentally, both father and son have become senators in real life), with the last incarnation being accused of copying the effects from a Hollywood fim; something about a fairy being okay; a kid who starred in a giant-commercial-masked-as-a-film that supposedly trumped the earnings of Spider Man.

Film critics and blogs have a field day when the roster for the film festival is announced; but every year, the defense of the producers is the same: this is what people want to see. This is what people pay to see. We have to make a living, so stop giving us grief about artistic standards and integrity.

What we are willing to spend money for is a reflection of what we value.

And when people willingly give money to watch a film on its' tenth incarnation, or 5,000 pesos to hear a non-singer, on the pretext that "we came here to be entertained!" how does that reflect on the kind of standards we have as a nation?

Fans of these entertainers claim that the critics are being too high-brow, elitist, snobby.

Is it any wonder why we also don't demand better credentials for our politicians? Or why so many entertainers are now in political posts? And why there are interviews where, when voters are asked why they voted an entertainer, their responses fall into two categories: guwapo kasi (he's good looking) and kasi pinagtatanggol niya ang mahihirap, tulad ng pelikula niya. (He will champion the poor, like in his films.)

We keep wishing for a more educated electorate, one that will be discerning and more critical in their decision making. I don't see that happening when what we get is a steady diet of lunchtime variety shows with gyrating dancers in skimpy wear, with audience members waiting to be called in order to humiliate themselves on national television to earn a little money.

Did I say earn? I meant win. I went to get coffee from our office cafeteria yesterday a few minutes before 3PM, and the "lunchtime variety show" was still on. Seeing the mass of people cheering, all I could think of was, don't these people have jobs?

Yes, Anne doesn't call herself a singer. What leaves me worried is, given her concert receipts, what this means for those who are actual singers.


  1. Thank you for this! I'm a musician myself and I couldn't agree more. It's sad to see that people would pay 5k for this instead of going to gigs to support musicians and paying at least 100 pesos where there really is "musical" talent.

  2. you've put into words so perfectly what ive been thinking for so long.

  3. My sentiments exactly.

  4. While i do agree with you guys ( she is a disgrace as a "singer") you pay 5k for the puntang not the vocal cords.Wished she show much more skin.

  5. You certainly nailed it, man!

  6. I dont usually comment on or ever been active in any social media dialouge. But i should really say kudos to have penned your opinion well. Your opinion are warranted and valid! I also do hope that we, all Filipinos, will start to rally for quality cultural products. I dont intend to say let us be all elitist.... but will it not be nice that we clamor for and subsequently produce cultural products of substance and standard. If we can only adapt such changes maybe other viewpoints about our politics, of what we deserve as citizens of this nation will change. Really, great read! :)

    1. Kudos to the guy with a blog! If anyone can produce anne an album and concert, why not build up someone who really hasa talent? The media only recognized a person when they appear internationally and every one would want to interview or get a glimpse of that person to basked in their fame plus the annoying 'pinoy yan and proud to be pinoy!' Sigh!

    2. I agree. There's so much talent that a person could find in Filipinos. There's so many good singers. But where are they? Some get recognized in contests and win... but get buried into the dust after it ended. But instead, all that's on television are so mediocre. During Sunday noontime shows for example, all they do is sing covers of songs of other artists. Plus, at least 80% of those who perform are actors who try hard to sing (or lip-sync) and dance. It's very very tiring to watch.

  7. Tell that those who paid and filled Araneta na hindi naman pinilit manood.

  8. kwento mo sa manok, with feelings.

  9. ganyan ka-tanga ang mga pinoy ngayon, kumakain na ng basura.

  10. Seriously there is something wrong with our nation. I am blaming our education system actually have a part of this. Kaya nga naglipana ang mga jologs, baduy, jeje at iba pang uri ng kakaibang tao sa bansa ay dahil yung edukasyon na mayroon tayo hinahayaan lang ang mga maling kaisipan. Media is also to be blame because instead of uplifting people to more intellectual shows they tend to lower the standards to suit the client intellectual capacity. Matalino ang mga Pilipino pero dahil sa klase ng edukasyon at palabas na napapanood ginagawa tayong mga mangmang.

  11. A few points I'm pretty concerned about:
    This article mentions over and over and over again on how Anne does not identify herself as a singer but as an entertainer. But wait, singers are supposed to be entertainers, right? Now, this raises an important and excruciatingly vital question that you failed to ask - "what kind of entertainer is she then?" And woop, fasten your seat belts folks because you're about to get blown away by the answer - A COMEDIAN. /gasp/ What a newsflash, right? RIGHT? Comedians as entertainers who deserve to be paid and watched by people who appreciate and love what they do? How unacceptable! Now, sarcasm aside, I know, I know, comedians sometimes cross the line and entertain people with a loooot of offensive jokes (and sometimes, they do this unknowingly, but still, that doesn't absolve them from actually doing/saying it). But see Anne Curtis, she hasn't harmed anyone with her concerts. If anything, all she's ever done is a looooot of self-deprecating. She's not harming the music industry - at least not in the way you're implying. With or without her concerts, people will still watch legit singers - Filipino or foreign - because it's a different kind of entertainment from what she serves. A different kind of satisfaction you'll receive as a viewer. I get that we can assume that maybe those two forms of entertainment aren't as mutually exclusive as I depict them to be but hot damn, they're not perfect substitutes as what you've portrayed them to be too. TRANSLATION: 500 good comedians will not wipe away the career of 500 good singers!

    And from the comments above - you people blame stupidity and ignorance for how others choose to spend a relatively huge amount of their money to have a piece of their own flavor of entertainment - and really, if you ask me, nothing is more ignorant and stupid than that kind of reasoning. If you, ladies and gentlemen, are as educated as what you present yourselves to be AKA better than the rest who don't think like you - then I raise you another question: "What society are you trying to build and breed here if you suppress other people's freedom to think for themselves?" Stop making people feel guilty about their decisions in life when it harms no one. Unless they're doing drugs, issuing propaganda that suppresses the right of people or planning a terrorist attack - then guilt the hell out of them. Let people think and decide for themselves - what they want and don't want to do, and above all, treat their choices with respect (unless, again, it harms anyone).

    And last note, I'm no financial adviser but I'm an economist and ever since the beginning of time, we've been taught about this concept of "opportunity cost". In simple terms, it's the amount or value you lose or have given up in order to get something else. (Assuming your budget is 5k for leisure and entertainment, and that you'll only use this money for leisure and entertainment purposes) Say, if the satisfaction you receive from paying 5k for a show where someone sings but never in the right tone to keep you happy outweighs the satisfaction you'll receive from spending this said 5k on other things, then you've maximized your use of your 5k and you, my friend, have chosen a rational decision as a consumer. I may be wrong on this one but then so will the whole discipline of microeconomics be.

    I do understand your paradigm though - how we should generally strive for a better quality of entertainment, government and life in general. I mean really, we need movies not only with better qualities but with a different plot in general - although I don't get how that's connected to Anne's concerts (?). I just think the connections you're implying here are kind of misleading.

    1. pretty sure this person is a fan of Anne and doesn't actually care if the blogger has a good point.

  12. I could care less about Anne. Wala naman siyang tinatapakang tao, so carry on lang. Though maraming good points na na-raise ang author, kanya-kanyang trip lang siguro, I guess.

  13. Lemme guess.. you're Anne Curtis right?