THE APING GAME

images (1)Pinoy folk singer Freddie Aguilar rarely speaks his mind about fellow Pinoy artists but when the normally placid Aguilar hinted that Mariah Carey might have a case with her opinion on Pinoys being ” brown monkeys” and made reference to Arnel Pineda and Charice Pempengco as examples, the nation was dismayed with his rather incautious and crabby  if not unpatriotic comment. Some 4 years ago, Mariah alledgedly called singer Regine Velasquez a monkey- meaning good at aping other singers hence the lack of originality- when asked about her opinion of the singer. The veracity of Carey’s insulting comment was never established and no evidence of interview video or tape was ever produced. It may have been an off the record remark who knows and I didn’t write this post to villify nor defend Mariah Carey. This post is about my opinion on Freddie Aguilar’s comments.

images (2)Freddie Aguilar expressed his criticism of Pinoy singers who venture into the U.S. of A. singing English songs and totally ignoring Tagalog songs.  Freddie’s criticism may have to do with something more than plain patriotism. I think his point has to do with establishing an identity before hurling oneself onto the center stage in a foreign land.  Freddie  choses to sing in Tagalog – that’s just comfort zone. When he was in the States, he contemplated to move to Nashville and record country music in English to stick to his genre but his heart wasn’t in tune with his mind. For him there was no sense in pursuing a singing career for the sake of making money. He had to like the music he was supposed to make and it can only be in Tagalog so he headed home to pursue a career where he and his music belongs.

images (3)Freddie’s criticism of Arnel Pineda and Charice Pempengco has nothing to do with their singing talent but their lack of identity and originality. In Pineda’s case, he didn’t venture to the U.S. of A to speculate on a singing career. He was hired by Journey to be their lead singer. He trained, auditioned and got the job. He had no other option. His identity was dictated by the job. Arnel is technically an OFW, a hotshot one at that 😉 The criticism applies more to the case of Charice Pempengco who suddenly burst into the U.S. TV airwaves and you wonder if she was discovered by Oprah Winfrey from some circus freak show. Her singing talent is certainly superb and you begin to wonder – why didn’t she become a hit in her country ? Charice has appeared on countless TV shows and concerts in the U.S. showcasing her incredible vocal prowess. Perhaps it is time for her to establish her own identity and cut her own records instead of aping Whitney Houston and Celine Dion the whole time. People in this part of the world expect every artist of celebrity stature to possess originality.  Here, copycats are for pubs and bars and at best, a regular gig at a third rate casino in Vegas.

I remember many years ago back in Pinas, a noon time show conducted a Jack Jones sound alike contest and invited the man himself, Jack Jones to be the judge at the finals. When the time came to select the winner, Jack declined to make any judgement saying that every person has his own unique talent and should never be judged with respect to how he close he fares with another person’s talent.  I wouldn’t say Jack’s comment embarrassed the hosts of the show but it was darn humbling in my opinion.

Honestly, if I were Charice I’d concentrate on cutting records here in North America. No frigging Pinoy/Pinay has even gotten close to David Foster for one,  much more performing duets with the best singers in the world. What pisses me off are those Pinoys who counted her out because she didn’t have the star quality looks when she was an aspiring singer back home and now these same hypocrites are cheering her on, inviting her to appear in shows, cut records and what not. This is a classic case of the discriminated seeking acceptance somewhere, where people look at your talents and not your looks, your social standing, the school where you came from, the place where you live blah, blah ….and achieving overwhelming success in the process. In this case, forget about patriotism. I’d even say screw patriotism 😡



FROM MONKEYS TO GOATS

I posted these cartoons previously but since I have quite a few new  readers in the last year or so, I decided to post them again 🙂





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53 Responses

  1. I’ve seen Charice several times on TV and she’s really good. I hope she makes her own records soon.

    Hahaha. hilarious cartoons 🙂

  2. Sad to think that this poor girl had to go through the name-callings — in spite of her achievements — from her own kababayans at that, just because she lacks that “star quality”. Inggit lang ang mga yun, because not even the best of our so-called ‘birit queens’ have had the opportunity to work with David Foster. Mga Pinoy nga naman…

    • David Foster has very high esteem of her singing talent and invited her to sing at his special concert. That’s awesome for starters 😉

  3. Oh btw, I do remember that cartoon from one of your posts, hehehe.

  4. Charice didn’t win in Pinas coz of her “physical stature” plain and simple, that’s how showbiz in our downtrodden country operates. She should work with someone to sing her own lyrics to be more successful.

    Ka Freddy’s comment is now a segue in Pinoy cyberspace. Different takes. Palin’s ineptness and Sanford/Enswine’s womanizing are getting lost in translation.

    That cartoon is very good. It’s similar to one retired Filipino in California. Forgot how it goes but I’ll come back if the scenario gets back in my head, hehe….

    • Pretty face first before talent seems to be the rule in our “downtrodden country”. I won’t hang Ka Freddie for his comments because he made a point that opened people’s eyes 😯

  5. What pisses me off are those Pinoys who counted her out because she didn’t have the star quality looks when she was an aspiring singer back home and now these same hypocrites are cheering her on>>> so true. i noticed that many pinoys are like that. maybe it is somehow connected to discrimination of looks.

    • It is discrimination of looks for the singer for sure but the country is awash with discrimination anyways, in every aspect of daily life, from getting a job, getting admitted at a hospital, and the list seems endless 😦

    • Arnel was a victim of the same discrimation that Charice faced in the PI. He didn’t have the looks in spite of his talent. He’s not a monkey. He’s a MONSTER – Revelation ablum producer Kevin Shirley called him “a monster vocalist” and Melodic Rock just awarded him Vocalist of the year (2008) for being a “monster talent.” Eat your heart out Freddie!

      • I like the Monster over the Monkey for sure 🙂 Hope Arnel stays with Journey for a long time. He’s done his job really well. Heard they’re doing a tour again this year.

        Freddie is a folk singer and I guess he should just try to do his business well. He’s not entirely wrong though. I mean look at Gary V. He seems to have no identity.

  6. Pareho tayo ng sentemyento. I followed and watched her in that “singing contest” and I thought she’s a sure winner. To my dismay, a boy dancing ala MJ and not even half her singing talent won. Now, those same people who owns the show wants a piece of her popularity.

    As for Charice cutting her own record – just wait. David Foster won’t cuddle her if he sees no talent in her. 🙂

    As for Freddie Aguillar’s rants – his sour graping as usual. Remember when he also rant a few years back about a “composer’s award” going to Jose Marie Chan instead of him. Gaano ba karaming “hits” ang na compose nya? I can count them all in one hand.

    • If I were Charice, I’d snub those dunces that dissed her during the contest giving them zilch chance to make money from my new found popularity. I heard Foster is already working on an album for her.

      I’d rather have Ka Freddie around with all his sour graping comments believe me. He can be irritating but will make you think and that what Pinoys right now need – to think hard of their identity.

      • I know this is late but I recall a joke from James of Moymoy Palaboy.

        Isn’t it he joined some singing contest to try his luck but didn’t get accepted

        he jokingly said “dapat pala guapo ka para makasali ka dun”

        Also the case of Bugoy of PDA. I think this has only been the time where talent mattered over looks. However I am still bugged that it came from Ryan Cayabyab himself that they’d probably be challenge with his ‘packaging’. And that packaging actually meant…how to make him look guapo.

  7. Gawd, I’m laughing out loud with keeping their secrets about the white baby and black goat! =)

    I had the same reaction about a number of celebritie’s/talent scouts’ hypocrisy post-Charice’s rise. I hope she will make her identity more glaring soon.

    • Glad you enjoyed the cartoon 🙂

      Charice himself understands that people and her fans in North America want to see her sing original songs. Being a copycat just makes you a singer and not a real artist.

  8. Arnel Pineda is great for Journey but I heard he is not allowed to sing Journey songs when he is doing solo concerts.

    That cartoon is a riot man 🙂

    • I heard that too. Well, Journey is trying to protect their name and they don’t want Arnel to make money without them it seems 😉 That’s just the nature of the game I guess.

  9. Lumaki mata ko sa commenter na ewoki. Kala ko nag comment na ako when in fact I just read your post 🙂

    I love David Foster as a singer(did not realize until lately that he’s a producer and star builder too). His THE BEST OF ME album in the 80s remain to be one of my faves. His song LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT on that album is my fave song of all time. I believe he is the best judge of talent. Now I hope under his guidance and with the appropriate songs, Charice will succeed.

    It’s not only in showbiz that people get discriminated by their looks in Phil society. I could not get a job in PI with whatever credentials I had because a) not 5″4″ b)not pleasing personality —whatever they mean by that c) diploma did not come from ateneo, la salle, maryknoll d) did not know anybody.

    Got to US, presented same credentials, manager said I was overqualified for a clerical position. Told him try me. Get me in the door and I’ll show you how overqualified I am 🙂 I got hired.

    • hehehe.. Akala ko ikaw na yun kaya lang parang ibang IP address niya when I checked it 🙂

      You said it. There is a class system in Pinas whether you want to accept it or not. I mean even in restaurants, the security guard checks people who don’t look like they’re capable to paying because of their looks and the way they dress. ugh

  10. Freddie A.must not criticize Arnel and Charice for singing English abroad. look at Abba, the Swedish group who became famous internationally with their English songs.

    • Good point. Abba was exceptional. Bottom line, it has got to do with establishing identity and Abba has done exactly that and marketed their kind of music ( which methinks has some European flair) and was accepted all over the world.

  11. A newly arrived Pinoy in the states was on a trip to the eastcoast from los Angeles with his immigrant son on the wheel of a Mercedes Benz SUV. They chanced upon a guy who was starnded on the side of the freeway with car problems. They stopped to help and as the newly arrived pinoy was approaching the stranded commuter, he asked him “what’s the difference?” (anong diperensiya?) Did you hear the english version of “Anak”? Pinas always had a version of famous foreign singers such as: Diomedes Maturan, the Perry Como of the Phils., Eddie Mesa, the Elvis Presley of the Phils., there’s even a female pinay who was also an Elvis impersonator..Cora Adajar!, Boy Mondragon who used to ape Tom Jones. Consider also the big deal being mestizo/mestiza in the pinas entertainment industry. Cross breeds who are now doing well in the P.I. doing modeling, TV and movies! Yung mga dark skin, vertically challenged, and anybody who falls in the pinoy category of pangit can fight for roles portraying villains and sidekicks or comedians. MeThinks, 300 years of spanish rule and 50 years of Hollywood bastardized the pinoy mentality.

    • “What’s the difference?” bwahahah.. Man, you resurrected names from the past like Boy Mondragon and Cora Adajar. lol.. I almost forgot about them 🙂

      Well, you can ape anyone as much as you want in Pinas since everyone seems to like monkeys hehe but when you go abroad, you better have some originality, otherwise you will simply make your rounds at the pubs 😯

  12. Freddie Aguilar ought to aim his ire on personalities and groups in the country who have done nothing but harm their countrymen. Arnel and Charice have done nothing of the sort.

    Just as an example are the so-called Nationalists. Panay nga ang Tagalog nila pero ang mga ideas naman nila eh puro makakapagpahirap sa mga mamamayan. Mas gusto ba ni Freddie ang mga iyon kaysa sa mga umi-Ingles na tumutulong naman sa bansa?

    He ought to do some serious thinking before he fires his mouth off.

    • True. I think Freddie Aguilar has no case against Arnel coz the man was hired to do a job. He might have a case with Charice which will prompt her to start making her own music ASAP. If that happens, Freddie had done some constructive criticism.

      As for Gary V., boljack siya kasi he’s aping MJ. Well, as I said, he can ape MJ to his heart’s content in Pinas but when he goes to the States, he better not because he will look like a fool 😦

  13. Talk about misplaced sense of patriotism. Anyway, if Arnel and Charice will make it really big in the international entertainment arena, that would be an honor to our country. So, good luck to them!

    • I don’t know bro but somehow I feel that Arnel and Charice were betrayed by their own country because they were not given the recognition of their talents. It took foreigners to appreciate how good they are.

      Very true that now they are bringing honor to their country and that’s good but the foreigners themselves wonder why they were overlooked by their own countrymen.

  14. Like I said in my post on this issue, people are passionate when it comes to music. hehe. The way I see it, Aguilar was asked a question about Charice, Arnel, etc. and he just gave his opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. Just because he doesn’t fall into the popular opinion does not mean he’s sourgraping. Could Aguilar have given his opinion in a nicer way? Probably. But that’s not Freddie. He doesn’t sugarcoat his answers.

    • very true. Ka Freddie speaks his mind as it is. In fact, he publicly said he won’t apologize for what he said and methinks he doesn’t owe anyone an apology.

  15. well there’s the 4 P’s of Marketing. It just so happen that the product (Charice) did not generate a positive response from the target market (pinas)…ganyan talaga buhay. Ganyan na ang mindset ng mga pinoy eh…if you’re not pleasing to the eye, kahit super talented ka, mahirap sumikat. Kaya nga iniwan ko na ang entertainment industry hehe joke.

    Hmm I’m not an expert but if people like David Foster or Oprah keep on giving her opportunities like that, then something is definitely great about her. Meron na ba shang sariling kanta or single? maybe that’s what she needs. Sometimes boring na rin yung marinig mo shang kumanta ng kanta ng iba.

    • we know the entertainment industry is a tough sell in Pinas kaya I never entertained thoughts of joining it hehe 😛 . It’s looks plus who you know kind of thing before you can make it. Come to think of it, if she looked stunning I don’t think she would make so much of an dramatic effect in North America so in a sense her shortcomings also created a marketing advantage for her.

      The ironic thing with Charice is, because she became sikat abroad, bigla syang accepted na sa Pinas where she wasn’t paid attention to before . Huh? David Foster made a single for her which made it to the charts and she will be releasing an international album soon.

  16. Arnel and Charice are relatively new in US music industry. I believe in time they will aim for originality in their music making. Arnel according to NEal Schon will collaborate with Journey in writing songs for their next album. And Charice has released an original song. Hope both of them will make it really big here in the US, although their songs are in English, we know that they are grateful for the Filipino support here and that they openly acknowledge they are who they are – Filipinos and non-Filipinos who heard them SING knows they are VERY TALENTED and they are from the PHILIPPINES. Their originality or uniqueness as artists will materialize in time.

    • I think Arnel is safe and all he needs to do is meet the expectations of his job as lead singer of Journey. If he does singing on his own other than Journey he definitely has to make his own music. His days as a copycat is way behind him now.

      As for Charice, he has the backing of the big names in the music business so I see no issue with making her own orig music but she must stop aping Whitney Houston ASAP and be her own unique artist.

      • In fairness to her, I think she just sings what it’s given to her.

        Maybe, it’s shows like ASAP and SOP who should take the bigger part of the blame.

  17. The Pinoys have a thing for mestizos and mestizas. no wonder Arnel and Charice didnt make it big there the first time around. although now, Pinas is showing lots of accolades for them.

    It is odd that Freddie Aguilar would criticize them, they made Philippines known for singers rather than just as “caregivers”

    • Suffice to conclude that talent is not enough to propel you to success in Pinas. Now everyone is cheering Arnel and Charice because of their success abroad. It is ironic indeed.

      I have nothing against Freddie Aguilar making such comments because it has truth in it and besides, he walks his talk.

  18. Ka freddie was speaking from the heart and from experience. Before he became “Ka Freddie” he was once a monkey or an ape singing for the servicemen of the U.S. of A in gapo. and you know what that means.

    It was only when he joined a competition sponsored by imelda that he was recognized. he then graduated from gapo and thus stopped the aping act for the U.S. servicemen.

    and besides, if he has that thing, whatever that may mean to him, sana di nya ipinatranslate sa ibang lenguahe ang composition nyang anak. it must be Filipino all the way, take it or leave it.

    He was right and he was wrong at the same time.

  19. just curious, will ka fredie say something about pacman having roach as the trainer and not a pinoy? ano kaya ang masasabi nya sa suntok ni pacman na ininglis, ‘manila ice’ instead of ‘manila yelo’?

    and what else would he say about pacman before and after fights? curious lang. ha ha ha

    • The Pacman has gone long ways with his English man. He seems to be pretty confident and doesn’t need an interpreter anymore. Well, as far as Pacman’s punch is concerned, it knows no languages. You get floored whatever part of the world you come from hehehe 😆

  20. Freddie is being crabby about the whole issue. As in crab mentality! His remarks really annoy me. Arnel and Charice are making a decent living using their talents.. why bring them down? Walang opportunity dito sa pinas eh.

    • I would probably change the tune of my post if Freddie opined about Arnel and Charice ” without being asked”. He was responding to a question about the validity of Mariah Carey’s alleged “monkey” comment so he aired out what he felt. He wasn’t entirely right with everything he said but I like it when people are being challenged for the originality of their artistry 😉

  21. What Ka Freddie failed to understand is that Charice and Arnel cannot simply sing Filipino songs in their singing engagements. He has to remember that talents have managers and other agents who handle their public performances, more so for “international” artists. They cannot just publicly perform whatever they want to, much less if there are contracts involved. Despite their unspoken willingness to display before the world their pride for Filipino materials, Charice and Arnel are not as free as we think they are when it comes to shows abroad. Ka Freddie should have known that given his long years in the music industry.

    But give Charice and Arnel enough time and there is reason to think that someday, somehow, they will sing OPM straight from the heart, or lungs, whichever they prefer, before a foreign audience.

    • True, but when someone professes to be called an artist, he or she must have originality, be it in Pilipino or English songs. It is artistically awkward to be going all over the world and showcasing yourself by aping other singers. As I said I don’t agree with KA Freddie with his criticism of Arnel but I agree with him when it comes to Charice. Arnel sings songs composed by Journey and Charice MUST compose her own songs and define her musical talent for the world to see.

      • Which is why we must give them TIME, especially Charice. Who are we to rush her anyway?

        • Incidentally, David Foster composed a song for Charice, which was what many people expected. Who are we? We are the ones that make or break an artists career. We pay our hard earned bucks to watch their concerts, buy their music so I guess what we have the right to provide our feedback, don’t we ? Freddie’s criticism may have done more good than harm in that when you profess to be an artist abroad, you must possess an identity of what kind of singer you are and at the very least SING YOUR OWN MUSIC in Tagalog or English for that matter and not APE others.

  22. Well, you know what people say. You get what you pay for. I also buy other artists’ records, but I don’t demand too much from them. I just let them be. If they do this, then that’s all well and good. If not, I could only care less. For as long as they continue with what they do, they will earn my respect. Besides, do you really have to sing Tagalog songs just to prove to the world that you are proud of being Filipino? Non sequitur. Just being “there” before a large crowd, and the latter knowing your roots, or nationality, whichever they prefer, is enough to leave them in utter disbelief that in our part of the world we are able to have fellowmen who are more than capable of seizing the attention of the world.

    I understand where Ka Freddie is coming from, owing in large part to his musical preference and his philosophy for the art. But just as well, it isn’t too patriotic for him to stuff his points of view into other people’s mouths or minds at this point. Yet again, let us give Charice the time to flourish all the more and realize that someday, somehow, she HAS to sing THE song that we all are dying to hear as fellowmen.

    • I really don’t expect Charice to sing Tagalog songs abroad but I certainly wish and be prouder of her if she sings her OWN ORIGINAL SONGS in English and hit the charts ! That would be awesome I think and that’s what people are expecting – Pinoys and non-Pinoys alike who believe in her talent 🙂 That’s the first order of the day for the newly crowned American Idol – cut his/her own album, establish her own style as an artist. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY Charice should do, stop singing Mariah Carey or Celine Dion songs because darn, she is major league material and she better show her wares !

      Thanks for your comments. It is well appreciated.

  23. At her age, it is quite difficult to expect from her to compose her own songs that will send jaws dropping to the floor. Unless of course she gets all the bit of help from professional composers, and which is why David Foster does ring a bell at this point in her career.

    I definitely agree that she must, truly must, establish her own identity as an artist. But we can’t force a caterpillar to transform into a butterfly overnight. A house has to be built brick by brick, one on top of another until it becomes what it ought to be, not in hours but in days, weeks, months, years even. The same goes for establishing your identity, one that will last the rest of your career, or one that will stick to your name like a scar is to skin no matter how hard you rub it off. She has to build her identity not by rushing things but by slowly yet surely reaching that goal. She stops singing Mariah Carey or Celine Dion songs, God or Allah or Bathala knows what might happen. But she should stop singing their songs like mantras at some point in her life and devote herself to her own wares. And that would still be several months, or years, from now. For now, her trump card is to gather her materials while performing songs that are vocally “tough”.

    I appreciate your replies as well. It’s not everyday that I get to have a discourse like this 🙂

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