Two Announcements: Wowowee and StarStruck
WHEN DEATH CHEERED "WOWOWEE!"
First, I let the news speak for itself...
Manila stadium stampede kills 73 (bbc.co.uk)
A stampede outside a sports stadium in the Philippine capital, Manila, has left at least 73 dead, many of them women, with more than 300 injured.
Tens of thousands of people had gone to the stadium for the first anniversary recording of a popular TV gameshow.
The crush happened when those outside started pushing, prompting security guards to close the entrance gate.
The Wowowee show is popular for giving big cash prizes in a country where 40% of people live on less than $2 a day.
The show, which airs six days a week, normally offers a 1 million peso ($19,250) top prize, but Saturday's anniversary edition had doubled that money.
"This is a programme that intends to help Filipinos, especially the poor," said host Willie Revillame.
"We only wanted to make these people happy."
About 30,000 people were waiting to get into the Ultra stadium in the Manila suburb of Pasig - significantly more than the usual 5,000 who attend recordings.
The programme, produced by ABS-CBN television, had never used the stadium before.
Witnesses and officials said the crush began when guards refused to keep open the gates to the stadium.
A spokesman for the network, Rene Luspo, said people started trying to get to the head of the queue and became agitated.
"The people from behind, not the people in front, kept on pushing and shoving the people in front of them," he said.
"Eventually this gate gave way. That's when the people right in front of the crowd stumbled, and then they piled up."...
Let me tell you about my two cents in a slightly-showbiz point-of-view.
I honestly don't like Wowowee because it encourages extreme medicancy. Instead of people lining up at offices or factories looking for a job, the poor satisfy themselves with falling in line at the Wowowee Studio, hoping for a chance to play its main game "Pera O Bayong" (Money Or The Bag) and see the host Willie Revillame in the flesh.
I honestly don't like Wowowee because how it exploits the poor and their lack of intelligence by asking questions that only walking encyclopedias could answer, and instead rely on guesswork and the gyration of the dancers assigned in each multiple choice.
And what happened last Saturday was the extreme of all extremes. Days before the anniversary show, Mr. Wowowee enticed the audience with promises of minibuses, cars, consolation prizes at least five thousand pesos, and, if you're lucky enough, a grand prize of two million pesos if you choose the right bag in "Pera O Bayong." However, the raffle is only eligible to "the first 300 people to get in the gates."
Everything went just as planned. People began lining up as early as Monday, men, women, little children, pregnant women, with food and supplies in tow. By Friday, around 30,000 people are at the venue.
Come Saturday, they will accomodate the VIPs (balikbayans and Filipinas with foreign husbands), open the gates resulting to a mad dash for 300 raffle tickets. They will designate the poor audience members to the open bleachers, while the remaining people who can't enter the gates will be told to stay in line because a camera attached to a helicopter will hover over the stadium to broadcast the thick crowd that Wowowee has mustered for the amazement of the TV viewers (and to taunt their competing shows as well).
A Michael Jackson-inspired opening number will commence, showcasing a medley of MJ's hits. Mr. Wowowee knows how to moonwalk. He will then thank the audience for attending this momentous event. He will speak some spiels praising the show and its network (common ABS-CBN practices). He will promise that "no one will come home crying." Applause...
Well, that didn't happen.
Who do I think is at fault? Wowowee's network, ABS-CBN, of course. There is a blatant disorganization right from the start. They expect a huge crowd, so why only accomodate 300 raffle entries? Why distribute it on the event day itself? THESE TICKETS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED DAYS BEFORE THE EVENT.
Of the hundreds of guards stationed in the stadium, only three were manning the gates. HOW DO YOU EXPECT THREE GUARDS TO CONTROL A CROWD 10,000x THEIR NUMBER?
And now, ABS-CBN is pointing the blame finger on 1) the blatant poverty flooding the Emerald Isles and 2) the rowdy crowd. They even asked the private sector through spin-off public affairs programs to donate for the benefit of the 400-plus victims. Why? Don't they have the money for that?
ABS-CBN's hunger for hype promotions and humongous crowds have taken its consequence. I feel so sorry for the victims, and I feel oh so sorry for ABS-CBN. Rising from a problem such as this is not easy.
It was as if Death had a field day, singing a new song...
Dahil sa game na 'to, ikaw ay magsisisi
Wow wow wee namatay ang marami
Ubos ang 'yong luha sa Wowowee...
NO! STARSTRUCK! NO!
I was shocked to learn last Sunday (while travelling from Tagaytay) that Vivo my Vivo, along with Bugz was eliminated at celebrity search StarStruck. I don't mind Bugz getting ditched, but Vivo's ousting broke my heart.
Look at him. JUST LOOK AT HIM. Don't you just wanna give him a warm consoling hug? I would!