Tuesday, January 31, 2006

An "Ugly American" Tries Jollibee

An interesting link I found through KapeniLatteX. Pamie writes:

We came up with a plan. Each of us would order something adventurous (but not as adventurous as the Burger Steak) and if everything we ordered was terrible we'd come back and order the one-dollar Yumburger. Couldn't go wrong.

We were wrong.

I ordered the spaghetti and fried chicken meal with a banana langka pie and headed back to a table. Stee followed.

"Holy cow, that stuff smells funny," he said. "Can I look at it?"

I got all superior here and scolded, "You are going to have to be a little cooler, okay? Everybody else here is eating the food and enjoying themselves. We can't be complete assholes. How are we ever going to be able to travel?"

stee didn't seem to hear me, because he was staring at the spaghetti. "Don't eat that. Oh, look at that! Dude. There's hot dogs in your spaghetti. And cheddar cheese. And chunks of... what is that?"

I felt my stomach wiggle, just a little. "Ham."

And even more interesting are the comments her readers post here.

Some scathing reactions:

I love Jollibee for what it represents. It’s not for you. It’s for Filipinos. You have to understand that Filipinos generally love everything culturally American. The long lines at McDonald’s in the Philippines where a poor family will spend a week’s wages as a special treat for their kids is simultaneously both amazingly great and sad to me. Other Asians and Asian Americans routinely slam and denigrate Filipinos as being sort of like ‘uncle tom’ Asians. Their problem, not ours. I love the fact that we take both eastern and western cultures and make it our own.

Jollibee, to me, is a step forward. It’s Filipinos saying, “hey, we love the whole idea of American fast food, but we don’t really like the taste - let’s reinvent it for ourselves” It’s not for you.
Jollibee is VERY POPULAR among Filipinos. It is SO POPULAR in the Philippines that McDonalds had to revise it's menu to compete with Jollibee. Do you know that in the Philippines you can order spaghetti (not much different from Jollibee's product), fried chicken and some rice meals from McDo? Yup, even the highest in the international totem pole of fast foods know that it cannot argue with nationalistic taste buds.
I am a Filipino based in the UK. How I came across your website, I have no idea! Reading your 'adventure' in Filipinoland was a bit to read. And you're true in saying that you've been utterly rude. But then again, whatever you say about Jollibee, it will always be a popular and well-loved food chain for us, the Filipinos. I miss it so much, however yucky you think their food is :)). And definitely will visit it on my next trip to the Philippines, with my British husband, of course (he loves Jollibee's 'Champ' and 'peach-mango pie'!).
I think that everything you and your friends did was offensive, horribly provincial, and in excruciatingly poor taste. It does not speak well of your proudly (I presume) Texas education—or any level of education at all for that matter, to make fun of food. At least not when world hunger persists!!
I think that some of the anger on this forum is misdirected. This isn't a case of American Imperialism, nor is it a case of intentional disrespect for a cuture. Pamie and her friends were simply surprised by their dislike for this version of Filipino food. As she had mentioned before, she had Filipino food before and she liked it, so who knew?
pamie, just to let you know that not all Filipinos are troglodytes whose world is centered on Jollibee and would like to create an international incident over crappy fast food. Apparently a lot of them were able to escape the guys in white and got access to a computer; we will try not to let that happen again.

Please forgive them, it's either their mothers dropped them on their head in infancy or maybe their parents were first cousins.

to the filipinos,
kayo naman o, alam niyo na nga na tanga, pinatulan niyo pa. tama na. wag na tayong bumaba sa level nila. alam naman natin kung sinong nasa tama. wag na kayong pumalag. sila ang may atraso, may araw din na may manglalait sa mga mabababang uri na katulad nila. ty mga pre.

Lesson learned? It would serve any foreigner well to do a bit of research before they write about anything Filipino because:

1. Most of us speak and write English (at least) passably well. We will read and understand what you write and will be more than willing to retaliate.

2. Even if auto-lambasting is our national sport, we take exception to other people telling us what we already know ourselves.

3. Filipinos will kill for Jollibee.

Oh, and keep reading the posts on the forum. Its fucking hilarious :)

"Big Time" Reviewed

I'm sure I would've plenty liked this movie if I didn't have Maxi to compare it to (geddemit, am I doing my English prepositions right?). It was funny enough, entertaining for an hour and half. You won't walk out of the cineplex feeling robbed exactly, but you won't come out feeling like you've seen something that means anything either.

Inspired by funny crime capers à la Tarantino or Ritchie, Big Time follows the machinations of small-time and big-time criminals in Manila. It is doesn't show anything particularly original but the dialogue is full of Pinoy pop culture in-jokes. It is technically well-made and creative and the actors' performances are also laudable.

My beef is, Big Time doesn't say anything about anything. The belated "meaningful insights" at the end felt suspiciously contrived as though an after-thought. This kind of story seems watchable and "apt" in a differet social context (London in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Las Vegas in Ocean's 11, or wherever Reservoir Dogs was set). In the well-ordered universe of first world capitals, criminal activities made funny are so novel and improbable they are rendered humorous. But in a third world setting where we all cope with the kinds of shit we see in this film, what is left to "shock" us into laughing?

I hope this trend of empty-yet-cool-flashy indiemovies doesn't continue. Or I'm getting pissed off big time.

I Want Me Some Decent Gay Sex

With a title like "Brokeback" Mountain I was expecting a healthy amount of rough, decent, homoerotic sex. I was sorely disappointed on the sex part, but extremely satisfied on all other aspects of the movie. I loved this film, and not just because I was gay in the past life. It's so good I saw it twice in a row. And I've never done that. Watch it.

I found a link to Annie Proulx's short story on the web. Click here.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Discomfort in their Strangeness

There are plenty of weirdos in the school where I teach. Every semester, I always have a handful. Yesterday, after speaking to one of them for about half an hour, I realized there was something weird about their weirdness. It wasn't "cool."

In the school where I come from, weirdness is normal. It's expected, it's even encouraged. If you're not a little bizaare, you're out of place. You're burgis, you're uptight, you're uncool.

I figure, the reason why weirdness is weird in this school is because its repressed and oppressed. Its frowned upon. Students and faculty are supposed to conduct themselves in a certain way. It's as if there were an invisible line one has to follow. Should one stray from such demarcation, one can expect to be whipped back in line. No wonder I feel as though I'm losing my energy, my chakra, my creative and intellectual juices. Maybe it's time for a change.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Podcasts 2 and 3

Please click on the link to {sparks_podcasting} for my latest podcasts. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Feedburning Wha'???

Manuel has been kind enough to instruct me on the intricate details of feedburning. I still don't quite know how it works, but hey, check out my podcast blog. New podcasts coming soon :)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Five Weird Things About Me

Brad Spangler has tagged me to bare even more of myself to my adoring public. Yikes.

1. I wore teeth braces until I was 22. I used to brush at least 5 times a day at the time. Weird? No. Practical? Yes.

2. I firmly believe I was a homosexual African male minding my own business in my own little turf somewhere in Western Africa when a bunch of extremely pale marauders stole me and my young, able body to be sold in slavery. It is even weirder that a gay-looking African male is sitting right next to me in this internet cafe.

3. I fantasize about robbing bookstores and beauty stores on my spare time. I do this in great detail: what I'll be wearing, my get-away vehicle, scouting which items to go for before doing the deed and how best to cover my tracks.

4. I think I'm kinder and less mean than most people I meet, but I have absolutely no doubt that I am perfectly capable of committing murder, and relish it, when provoked.

5. I am able to bend my right hand's pinky finger at a 90 degree angle without my other fingers moving.

So there. Have you been sufficiently weirded out yet?


I thought I'd give it a try. You will need a fast connection to download this file. Dial-up connections will take a looooong time.

It's biggish (7.8 MB), but its 8 minutes of pure bliss I promise you. Totally worth your time :)

Click here and be blown away.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Hopeful New Year

Three Christmases and New Years have passed, and still my Mom's sadness is palpable, an undertone of sorrow carefully disguised in the bustle of making merry. The ghost of my father still lingers, but each year it gets better. Tonight she didn't sleep away the sadness, the conspicuous absence. She got a haircut I noticed, and she wore red and we were all awake when the whole neighborhood exploded in sounds and lights. Holidays are still forced, but as the years go by, I pray his memory will no longer bring sadness and regret. When he fades away in her memory, I hope it leaves only thoughts of when it was good.

Happy New Year everyone.