Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On Politics, Sort Of

One thing I've always wanted to be is a little more serious-minded.

At 22 I started working at a national newspaper, The Manila Times, working with some journalism greats, like Malu Mangahas, Pete Lacaba, and Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon. Once I co-hosted a TV show, and one of the other hosts was Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, who is now an Akbayan congress representative. To be 100-percent honest about it, I felt just a little bit inadequate around these people and others like them (except for Risa, who is just about the most gracious person you'll ever meet and who couldn't make another person feel inadequate even if she tried). I mean, what have I, a very ordinary girl, to say to such people who dealt in only the VERY IMPORTANT things.

Once at a film showing--I think it was Carlitos Siguion Reyna's Ligaya ang Itawag Mo Sa Akin--I found myself face to face and alone for a few minutes with the newspaper columnist Conrado de Quiros. The situation definitely called for somebody to start a scintillating conversation, but instead I sort of just smiled stupidly and eventually slunk away.

One time I did open my mouth. It was some cocktail event in Greenhills, if memory serves me right, just before the 1998 presidential elections, and I was introduced to one of the candidates, the late Raul Roco.

Gushed I, "I watched you on TV with the other candidates, Sir. I liked you a lot. You seemed to speak the least bullshit!" He chuckled good-naturedly, but I was mentally kicking myself as soon as the words were out of my mouth.

I did try to keep all the political goings-on straight in my head, but there never seemed to be any rhyme nor reason to how these things went in the Philippines, and there was always one upheaval after another, so half the time I felt like I was in a fog of only half understanding.

Since moving to France, where government and politics seem to function systematically, I've been promising myself to be more conscientious about keeping up with national events. But you know what, I think there was a reason my boss at The Manila Times kept giving me such assignments as the profile on child actor Vandolph and the interview with beauty queen Ruffa. I've only really begun regularly checking the news sites and buying the national papers like Libération less than two weeks ago, right about the time I heard that newly elected president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cécilia were getting a divorce. To put it plainly, all the new activity was triggered by the good old desire for chismis (gossip).


katrina said...

Hay nako, Apol, I know exactly what you mean. I know, I know, I know I should exert more effort into learning about the "serious things," and I'd like to think I understand more than the average Juan. But the fact is that I don't read the paper, and I don't like watching the news (I get angry and frustrated). I'm not completely uninformed, thanks to the internet, as well as my family and Felipe, who thankfully share the news with me. But, opinionated as I am, I would embarrass myself in any serious debate, simply because I don't have all the facts. :-(

Chinachix said...

didn't know you had a brush with TV fame apol...ive always known of you as a print media person. so what show was this? (o di ba? after all that musing, im zeroeing in on the chismis :)

haze said...

When I was a student of Masscom(portable sa bahay) I was obliged to read wide newspapers and not tabloids. Kasi naman pag Journalism class na, naku si Prof ang daming tanong about current events ! But I enjoyed it anyway :) ! I wanted to be a field reporter sana kaso hindi naman ako nag major :( ! A lot of competition too !

Tamad akong magbasa kaya nuod na lang ako ng news dito sa Pransya!

Len Lambert said...

I have tried many times to keep myself updated on what was going on in Pinas, pero hindi talaga kaya ng powers ko, Apol, hindi talaga sya interesting saken...hihihihi. Ewan ko ba. Alam mo ba, nag-MA ako ng Mass Comm pero di ko rin natapos kasi working nako nun and I found it so boring. I wanted sana to fulfill my long-time dream na maging newscaster...isang panaginip lang pala, har har har!!! I can relate to you not knowing what's going on. True ka dyan, interesting pag may himig-chismis...hihihihi. - Len

Apol, La Pomme said...

Oh yeah, KATRINA, I avoid debates like the plague :)

CHINA, a girl after my own heart :) It was XYZ, a women's show that was blocktiming on ANC 21.

HAZE, you got me thinking about Pinoy tabloids! We used to have these Xerex and Abante reading-out-loud sessions in UP. And I remember a horoscope advice on Abante for someone I know: "Mag-asawa ka na at baka magsara yan." Priceless!

Hi, LEN! Sometimes I think it's because we're oversaturated by all sorts of media that makes us shut down and not want any more news. I mean newspapers, magazines, TV, and everything you can find on the Internet. Sometimes it's all just too much!

Anonymous said...

I heart Cecilia Sarkozy! Ang chic niya! She publicly shamed her husband while she was in NYC, parading around with her bf. Hay naku, if she were a man, nobody would think twice about it.

Ay, Senator Roco, the best president the Philippines never had. My mom (but not my dad) supported him in his last presidential bid. (Barkada niya si Sonia kasi.) He was here in DC a few years ago, frail and wan, negotiating with the IMF to defray the Philippine's interest payments. Naabutan pa siya ni Sean, and we had dinner together. His mind was still very sharp.

Did you know that kamag-anak niya si Bembol Roco?