Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Archive for November 26th, 2005

Sir Paul, Mrs. Gomez and Ms. Bhagdad! 21

Posted on November 26, 2005 by jimparedes

I can’t believe next week will pass by and I will NOT be in LA to see Paul Macartney live at the Spreckles Arena. Damn. I actually have a ticket already. My sister bought it months ago but as luck would have it, I am Manila bound for now what with all the commitments I have to fulfill. There’s my upcoming photo exhibit and a few commitments that need to be done. Oh well. I know I am really missing a big deal but duty calls.

I actually saw the Beatles live in Manila in 1967. I was 15 years old and my brother Raffy and I were among those who packed the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. We were at the shitty sits at the back which were all we could afford then but let me tell you, it was GREAT. It was the second to the last show of the last Beatles tour before they disbanded. I look at that concert to this day as one of the high points in my life. Regrettably, it was also a memorable–no, more of traumatic time for John, Paul, George and Ringgo since the then powerful Marcoses through their henchmen maltreated and manhandled them on their way out of Manila for supposedly snubbing Imee, Irene and Bongbong at a Malacanang party. (Personally, I feel that should have been the first crime that they should have been shot for!).

And so, in place of seeing Sir Paul live in LA, I watched Paul Macartney Live in Red Square DVD this morning. Pampalubag loob! Just the same, you should watch it since it’s a great docu.

–In the glamorous, shiny and shallow showbiz world where I work partime, it’s not as easy to find real people. It’s not that everyone is a Barbie or a Ken, although many are content to project just that. It’s also the whole set-up where image is tops and decidedly more important than reality. People are projected to be bigger than life, perfect and special and several notches above all the rest of humanity. No one is a ‘regular guy’, not to their audience! It’s not their fault really. The audience also likes to play along.

Thus, often you may be mingling with people and not really have any conversations of substance. The cards can be stacked against forming intimate bonds, or getting a glimpse of anything beyond the ‘politically correct’ or in some cases, the bad boy/girl image that the media likes to encourage. Don’t get me wrong, I have close friends in showbiz too. But knowing that the biz is an image business is the reality we all live by. Suffice it to say, when we meet someone who steps out of the romantic, perfect image he/she is caged in and engages us as a real person, it is a pleasant surprise.

I first met Lucy Torres-Gomez a few days ago. She and Mark Nelson were the hosts of the South Forbes Golf City launch at the NBC tent where APO performed. It was quite refreshing to discover a real person beyond the regal, high-society, uptown girl persona and who also turns out to be a down-to earth, proud-to-be-promdi person so easy and pleasant to be with. During breaks at rehearsals and the show, she would sit with us and talk about everything. I was surprised to discover a very open person whose intelligence, refreshing innocence and candor were disarming. I found particularly amusing her anecdotal story of her ‘culture shock’ when she moved from Ormoc to Manila in college. While laughing, she told me how she was so surprised to know that people in Manila actually bought bananas and coconuts when those things were just picked out of their backyard back home! We talked about a lot of other things—politics, relationships, jokes, personal growth, etc. which I will keep to myself, not because they were intimate, important stuff but… because!

I knew there was much more to how media was projecting her especially when I read her columns in Philippine Star. (She told me people always ask her if she has a ghost writer. Understandably so since she’s ‘too good-looking to be a writer’, as I jokingly told her). It’s not that the whole sophisticated classy, beauty icon we see is a fake one. No. She is also all that–beautiful, glamourous, and much more. Richard, you’re one lucky guy!

There’s something important to learn about going beyond our own stereotypical impressions when we meet people. It does not do anyone any service to put people in boxes. As zen puts it, and I paraphrase, ‘the same moon is reflected on the big lake and the small puddle of water.’ Artista, celebrity, masa, karaniwang tao—it does not matter. Their really only labels anyway. Beyond all the facade of who we are projected or assumed to be, I believe we all share the same Original Face or Buddha nature!


Danny, Boboy and I were talking to Robert Sena, singer and veteran actor about his stint in the London and Germany Ms. Saigon runs, and an old idea flashed back to me. Imagine this! Ten years from now, West End in London or Broadway in NY may just make a musical about the Iraqi war. “Ms. Bhagdad” would be the true story of an American nuclear inspector who falls in love with one of Saddam’s daughters. Lea Salonga, and all the other cast members of Ms. Saigon (who should all be past 40 by then), can still apply since whoever plays the role of Ms. Bhagdad will have to be covered in a Burqa anyway.

Come to think of it, even Sylvia la Torre could aspire for the role. Can’t wait to hear “The Heat is On in Bhagdad’, and ‘You are G.I. and I am Baath party member’!

Ha ha!

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