ALDUBbing Values

By: Francis B. Ongkingco November 07,2015 - 01:39 AM

We’ve done it again! The Philippines has once more hit the global trending limelight as it becomes a ‘Twitter worldwide phenomenon’ with ALDUB! BBC called it “The Most Popular Show You Have Never Heard Of” because it’s more popular in the Philippines than any other part of the globe.

ALDUB, according to BBC, smashingly dethroned Brazil’s 2014 Twitter record for its victory over Germany during the world cup. The British channel continued to analyze the elements that made this simple scripted snippet go viral and now media-lucrative.

Personally, I believe what makes it a socio-cyber media success is the simplicity of the ‘quasi-scripted’ romantic sad-turned-into-a-happy affair. It is spiced with the common ingredient of Filipino humor and slapstick that is always welcomed as a brief sought-for respite for the nerves of our politically-socially and traffic jammed countrymen.

Then it mixes this ‘romantic comedy’ with the sought-after kilig effect (Literally: to tickle the emotions) that every human relationship naturally has. Finally, it sprinkles the entire concoction with a very basic moral lesson: Getting into a Real Relationship 101.

Pretty much up to this point, one can say that the romantic vignette is an entertaining and a good vehicle to remind ourselves, especially the youth, how certain values are important to consider if they wish their own future relationships to be meaningful and lasting.

However, as I thought more about this, I started having my doubts about the effectiveness of how the show effectively communicates values and if its message is really forged into firm convictions in the minds and hearts of our youth.

The reflection that follows is not an attempt to dishearten ALDUB fans the world over. Nor does it seek to discredit the good intentions of the producers behind the show. Perhaps, my point is better understood in the following scenario:

DAUGHTER: “Mom, I’m going out with Alec.”
MOTHER: “Okay dear, but remember no holding hands, no this and that, blah, blah, blah.”
[Mother fixes her daughter’s collar and hugs her]
DAUGHTER: [Eye-balls her mom.] “Ugh, mom, you’re so conservative! What makes you think we’re going to do any of that.”
MOTHER: “Remember ALDUB, honey! Just reminding you.”
[Mom kisses her daughter on the cheek]
DAUGHTER: “You don’t have to worry, mom. Thanks to ALDUB, I know how to carry on with my relationship well!”
[Daughter hugs mom and leaves the house]

Of course this is totally unreal! But in reality, how many parents or children would really use ALDUB (or any show for that matter) as a moral reference to remind themselves and others about treasuring and transmitting values on courtship and marriage? If at all, we may be witnessing something that we could call the ALDUBBING of values.

Dubbing refers to ‘the process of voicing over the original language with a local tongue’ so that a foreign film or song can be understood. Through this course something of the original message and cultural nuances are lost in the translation.

In the case of ALDUB, we are witnessing an attempt to ‘make the local culture’ understand and rediscover certain values (i.e. pertaining to love and courtship) that perhaps, have been ‘lost in tradition’. But how much of this ‘cultural dubbing’ is genuinely capable of sending a lasting moral lesson to viewers? Are fans, for example, more inclined to live these values that give meaningful, lasting and fruitful relationships?

We are not attempting to over-analyze or dissect the simplicity and viral attractiveness of ALDUB. Let’s just take it for what it is, right? But I can’t help reading it as a symptom of traditions and institutions that are no longer properly functioning in our society and how values are being neglected or classified as morally and culturally irrelevant for the ‘times’.

What are some things we can read off from the ALDUB phenomenon?

First, more and more the family’s role of nurturing and modeling virtues for its members is being substituted by media and other external mediums. There is nothing really negative about this, except that what is shown in movies or T.V. will still be far from reality unlike the virtues that exemplary parents can teach and leave as a legacy to their children.

Second, values can be communicated through countless creative channels. But one cannot risk ‘losing the true essence’ of certain values through mediums like slapstick, comedy and reality shows.

There is a need to go beyond an ‘entertaining scheme’ in order to transmit them.

These shallow attempts are a subtle revival of our very own infamous Juan Tamad (John the Bum). The comical icon of laziness in Juan was an attempt to arrest the vice of sloth in the youth. But in presenting him to be a ‘funny, happy-go-lucky and cool chap’, I believe my generation had a more lasting memory of his ‘foolishness’ instead of the more important lesson on diligence.

How, I ask, can a people still maturing in ‘good governance’ and battling constant bouts with ‘historical dementia’ (i.e. still remember which EDSA is real?) properly absorb and apply ‘values’ when these are ‘sugar-coated’ and ‘comically’ transmitted? Undoubtedly, through such ‘romantic snippets’ they may be aware of what is good, but media cannot go so far as to teach them how to be good.

Finally, ALDUB is staged within another show, Eat Bulaga. This hosting show often has hot, gyrating, slut-wearing dancers who constantly come in and out of the stage and without fail steal the limelight. With this, one wonders how long will the ‘faint glimmer of romantic kilig’ lessons of ALBUD on decency, love and courtship remain faintly lit in the hearts and minds of millions of viewers?

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TAGS: AlDub, television, The Most Popular Show You Have Never Heard Of, TV Show, Twitter

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