Wednesday, November 21, 2012

FIRESTARTERS (March 7, 2011)


We celebrate Fire Prevention Month, probably because by February, we already have exceeded our conflagration quota.

Seriously, we dedicate March to firestarters.

For one, kudos to a Harvard dropout who was born in 1984, the year we graduated in college and the year we saw the film version of Stephen King'sFirestarter. Of course, we are referring to Mark Zuckerberg. This youngest billionaire in the world, since 2008, whose net worth is $12.5 billion. His country – facebook -- has 600 million population since he launched it on 24 February 2004. He, too, is this year's Person of the Year, second youngest at 26, next to its first winner in 25 year-old American aviator Charles Lindberg in 1927. It is come-from-behind lead, knowing that Julian Assange, of Wikileaks fame, was ranked first and he was just poor 10th. Perhaps Time's readers emphatize with him -- after reading about him and his co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, from Ben Mezrich's unauthorized biography The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal (2009), where Aaron Sorkin based his screenplay The Social Network, that recently won three Oscars for Best Adapted ScreenplayBest Original Score, and Best Film Editing.

Speaking of editing, or the lack of it, we then pay tribute to YouTube!

All we have to do is follow its rule: Broadcast yourself!

And broadcast we did.

And, voila, instant superstars!

Ask Justin Bieber.

Anyway, why not Maria Aragon?

She is Canadian like him.

But we can claim her as our very own since she is raised by Filipino parents.

She made Lady Gaga cry while watching her sing Born This Way so her idol did a duet with her in a concert in Toronto last 3 March.

Three years ago, a secret admirer -- FalseVoice -- began posting a series of performance videos on YouTube that received over 13 million hits. As a result, Ten Songs Productions, a music publishing company in Sweden, invited the singer to record seven songs. Then a South Korean talent show Star King where she sang a duet with Super Junior's Kyuhyun. Like that the 10-year old from Winnipeg, this 12-year old from Laguna got an invite from Ellen who also opened her door to Rin On The Rox, the teen-age Fil-Am divas who love performing inside comfort rooms.

Anyway, after losing to Sam Concepcion as a wildcard contender in Little Big Star, Charice Pempengco owed it all to YouTube that began fulfilling her dream in 2007.

It was when Oprah called Charice The Most Talented Girl in the World.

Also, on the same year, a former bote-diyaryo boy whose videos as the singer/songwriter of The Zoo grabbed the attention of Neal Schon who emailed him at once. After auditioning, Arnel Pineda officially became on 21 February 2008 the new lead vocalist of Journey, replacing Steve Perry, his hero, who went solo. And everything fell into place when his own fan, Noel Gomez, shared video of him in You Tube which Schon saw.

Schon, too, jammed with Arnel in the Rock For Relief concert with Katy Perry and Nicole Scherzinger, a Hawaii native born to a Pinoy father from Batanes. Arnel also donated $25,000 aside from joining other Filipino artists in a charity single Kaya Natin Ito!, written specially by Ogie Alcasid for Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng victims in 2009.
It is as if culture, or music in this case, time and again serves as our saving grace to fix the damage done by our economy, politics, or religion, to some extent.

For her part, Charice boosted our pre-yuletide morale, after the infamous Manila hostage crisis last year, when the world waited for her as Sunshine Corazon in Glee in September and she appeared on NBC'sChristmas in Rockefeller Center in November.

Allen Pineda Lindo (a.k.a. of Black Eyed Peas) – the appointed special ambassador to education by the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation -- had been returning favors quietly even before calamities struck us – from writing, recording, and producing Take Me to the Philippines, a music video promoting Philippine tourism up to building a library, a computer room, and a music room in Sapang Bato National High School and a music library and studio in Holy Angel University where he used to study.

As usual, another music lover, Rep. Manny Pacquiao, has been ever-reliable in lifting us, spiritually and otherwise. Ironically, an amateur Pac Man has more CD sales than the professional musicians. Just like comedian Bayani Agbayani, way before “going wild” in YouTube, had his Otso-otso. Or host Willie Revillame, a drummer who has many YouTube moments, made money by carrying the tunes of Lito Camo, whose discography includes the best-selling Spaghetti SongBulaklak,Wowowee, to name a few.
On the other hand, we also have the league of Lea Salonga, who blazed the trail by playing Kim in Miss Saigon, that gave her the Oliver, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Theatre World Awards, and other honor which our country shares.

The likes of home-grown Lea, in one way or another, can even outshine the stars of Lalaine Ann Vergara-Paras (a.k.a."Miranda Isabella Sanchez"),Dean Devlin, Cheryl BurkeLou Diamond PhillipsTia CarrereRob SchneiderJocelyn EnriquezPaolo MontalbanFritz FriedmanRoman GabrielAngela Perez Baraquio, and other Fil-whatever actors, singers, artists, dancers, athletes and celebrities including Gigi Dement, Stephen Dypiangco, and Stefanie Walmsley whose God of Love won an Oscar for Best Live Action short category in the 83rd Academy Awards where two more Fil-Ams were nominated namely: Matthew Lebatique for Best Cinematography for Black Swan and Hailee Steinfeld for Best Supporting Actress for True Grit.

Young Fil-Am artists like J.R. Aquino, Erika David, Joey Diamond, Timothy Dela Ghetto, Andrew Garcia, Michelle Martinez, and Summerbreeze has been trying to break through the American music industry by way of YouTube too.

Philippine television is beginning to adopt YouTube: GMA had Bubble Gang'sIyoTube include the lipsync tandem Moymoy Palaboy as its regulars, before acquiring another YouTube creation, Ramon Bautista, to do May Tamang Balita. Aside from Lourd de Veyra's Word of the Lourd, Juana Change, the YouTube Queen, is in Tayuan Mo for TV5 that set the trend of using YouTube choice cuts via Ten's host Jove Francisco.

Now, ABS-CBN's revitalized Umagang Kay Ganda has its Youth Tube and CgeTV that has been encouraging citizens to become netizens by uploading videos on Who knows we might discover Christine Gambitos or KevJumbas at home?

In her vlog on facebook last 18 January, Asmaa Mahfouz challenged fellow Egyptians to go to Tahir Square to protest against the police who allegedly killed Khaled Saeed. When her video was YouTubed, it led to the Egyptian Revolution. That wild fire spread in such Arab countries as Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, and Libya. In the thick of the fight, a facebook page We Are All Khaled Saeed was suspended. Aliases are a no-no. In the end, Wael Ghonim surfaced as the administrator of that account. He is an executive of Google, the company that bought YouTube for $ 1.65 billion in 2006.

We are just wondering if YouTube founders Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim -- who just toyed with the idea of uploading a video shot by Yakov Lapitsky entitled Me At The Zoo – will be punished for such “cybercrime” as online activism.

Is this the same armchair revolution singer/composer Jim Paredes is ranting about as though he is parodizing Billy Joel's song as You Didn't Start The Fire, well, via Twitter?

March 1 is National Pig Day. It was started by Texas art teacher Ellen Stanley in 1972 to honor and give thanks to our most intelligent domesticated creature.

Holding grudges is like drinking poison then expecting your enemies to die.

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