The whole “monkey see, monkey do” issue fueled by Freddie Aquilar’s publicly expressed opinion that Filipinos are the world’s best imitators or mimics smacks right into the Filipino psyche.
The heart of this controversy points not to Charice or Arnel Pineda singing Celine Dion’s or Journey’s songs. It is about the Filipino mindset that foreign is better than indigenous.
Here’s my take on this whole “brown monkey thing.”
If you watched the afternoon musical show following the Donaire-Concepcion boxing match, you would have witnessed Pinoy see, Pinoy do performances at their worst. The entire show was an imitation of an American theme park musical extravaganza. Am I saying that monkey-ing is a sin? Of course not. But is the constant showcasing of modern American or western secular values through musical mimicry harmful to the mind of the Filipino youth? I say, it robs them of the opportunity to be exposed to the richness of Filipino music and its cultural value - since such Broadwayish numbers dominate Filipino television variety shows.
Exposing a people repetitively to a culture foreign to them as being the standard of what is good and right is a form of values brainwashing. Filipinos, since becoming known as the inhabitants of a group of islands later to be named Philippine Islands, had been conditioned to believe by their colonial masters as inferior to them, being Indios or Little Brown Brothers. Such musical shows that mimic American productions reinforce our people’s colonial mentality.
The message I get from Ka Freddie’s remarks made sour by media reporting is this: Let us stop monkey-ing around and become lovers of the Philippines. Loving the Philippines means loving her heritage, her culture (which includes her music and her languages), and her people just as they truly are and not some copy of another race.
(Written by Conrad Tolosa for The Living Rice)