My Problem with Pempengco

I feel as though I should be writing more about Tripoli and life in Libya, and I promise to do so in the next posts; for now just bear with me a little.

Now in case you are reading my blog and know nothing about the Philippines or do not care to know, I give you permission to move along.  Also if you are a fan of Charice Pempengco for whatever reason, I also urge you to stop reading, as I forewarn you that you are not going to like what you will see should you choose to read on. If you do like her and promise to be a little open-minded about other’s opinion and not curse me to oblivion, okay, read on.

For some strange reason, my very logical and supposedly serious, no non-sense husband often updates me on the latest Chikas, or gossip from showbiz back home. Today he tells me that internationally acclaimed singer, Charice Pempenco, had botox treatment.  Somehow I know that he knows I don’t like her, and only told me this to spite me, but in the interest of being nice, I could only say, “Huh? She did what?”

But that news was beside the point, my problem with her is that I don’t get her, and do not see what everybody else sees. Okay, yes, she does sing well, but so does Kyla and my cousin’s girlfriend who sings, in my opinion, like an angel. I always say that in every Filipino clan there is one member that can sing, and in Philippine showbiznez everybody has an album or two, and all of them are platinum record holders, e.g. Sam Milby, Judy Ann Santos, and Nancy Castillione.

So that leaves the fact that she is extra special because she was discovered by International Moguls like Oprah and Ellen. For now forget the fact that she can sing, but only as good as every other talented singer. Now correct my history if I’m wrong, I believe Ms, Degeneres came across a YouTube video of Charice when she sang in a Korean show. I saw that video and the way I saw it the Koreans were so impressed with her because they thought she was an eight year-old who sang like Whitney Houston. I say this because she came wearing an outfit only a fourth grader would. And she was what then, 14?

And here’s the funny part, I also saw her in the infamous Oprah episode where she first got a standing ovation. The theme of that was episode was whiz kids,“World’s Smartest Kids” (operative word is KIDS)  which included two seven year olds who danced ballroom like pros, a six year old pianist, a twelve year old Chinese-American girl (who a couple of years earlier did not speak English) and eventually became a best-selling author, and my favorite the almost two year old girl who can pin-point any country asked of her on the world map (she was so adorable, whenever the audience applauded at every correct country, she too clapped and laughed very much aware of how amazing she is). And then there was Charice who was by then I think 15 years old (emphasis on the TEEN).  If this were a contest, you would think she’d be disqualified for being over-aged right? (Oprah then did a follow-up on her “challenging” life in the Philippines, banking on the appeal to sympathy strategy.)

What I’m trying to say is that I think we have been miss guided with Charice’s packaging, which is “little-girl with great voice”, but in reality she isn’t that young, or at least not anymore. And once again she isn’t that good a singer anyway. Okay, you say that is a matter of opinion, pero aminin nyo (but admit it), you only thought she is good because Oprah and Ellen said so di’ba? I mean who would want to contest International show hosts? True to form, Boy and Kris were not to be left behind and were over the moon at how she can belt a tune even while sitting down. “Grabe boy, she’s nakaupo pa nyan a.” “OO, nga Krissy, amazing, ahihihi”.  So she can sing while on a chair? If she sang while running on a treadmill at 10mph, I would probably be a bit impressed, but while sitting down? Yes, yes, for a singer that’s difficult, but many has done that before. I go back, that because she came highly recommended we no longer bother to really listen, considering in a country full of singers we should be experts by now. Like in the story of the Emperor and his new cloak, no one dares say that he is naked, afraid of being looked upon differently.

So now we go to the true test, a singer’s song.  That one song that was his or hers that makes us immediately think of that one singer when we hear the tune. The song that becomes a lover’s theme song; that go to song when we’re down, heartbroken, or even drunk; the song that immortalizes a singer. In Charice’s case because of all the hype around her, I was hoping for something great, hey she has access to Hollywood’s best producers and song writers, and with her so-called talent, we are bound to hear a legend in the making.  And after the long wait, she comes up with, tantarantan….. “Pyramid” .

“Pyramid, we built this on a solid rock
It feels just like it’s heaven’s touch
Together at the top, like a pyramid
And even when the wind is blowing
We’ll never fall just keep on going
Forever we will stay, like a pyramid”

What does that mean? If I were living in Egypt or is an archeologist I would’ve related to this song, but “feels like its heaven’s touch, together at the top, like a pyramid?” Again, what the….? Before you react, yes, this type of song isn’t probably in my age bracket and all, I’m just saying. All that hype? David Foster and friends a phone call away and this is what you come up with?

Once again, afraid of being left behind by the masses, and probably only because we heard that it’s on ITunes most downloaded songs, we gobble it up, without bothering to listen intently. Aegis’ songs aren’t my kind of genre either but they have songs that made better sense than this. “Ang halik mo, namimiss ko…”

Still I gave her one more chance. We Filipinos, we not only look at a celebrity’s talent; we also look at character; if whether or not they made sense when spoken to, or if they are at least a person of some substance. Like what we when we are asked if some is pretty, we say to compensate, “Mabait sya.” (She is kind) I watched Ms. Pempengco as a guest in Karen Davila’s show, it was a short interview, so every answered mattered. Unfortunately she neither had Christian Bautista’s modest charms, nor Sarah Geronimo’s down to earth nature; both good singers, both can sing while sitting down.

Christian and Sarah

The interview was so shallow, all I can remember was that she drinks this medicine for her voice, and that she kept plugging shows she’ll be doing abroad that are either not yet booked or is a private/by invitation only show that none of us can watch, even if we tried. And if her all time favorite song, can sum up who is she, of all the songs she can pick (judging from the greats she has worked with) she says Beyonce’s “Halo”.

And yes, she did bring attention to our country and opened the doors of the world to Filipino singers, I give her that okay. But wait, didn’t Lea Salonga and Regine Velasquez do that already?

Lea was 17 when she played Kim in Miss Saigon

All I’m saying Oprah or not, whatever her age is, what’s the fuss about? Is she really all that?


36 thoughts on “My Problem with Pempengco

  1. What makes Charice so special is that she’s breaking through barriers. Yes she sings well and honestly, she’s the first singer that give me the chills (good chills I might add). I have never seen talent like that compared to some stars who have more looks and “personality” than actual talent.
    In the Philippines and Holywood there’s prejudice on celebrities. I would start with Hollywood, Asians gets the smallest number of screen time than any other races. While I’m going down on my Charice high, I still want her to be successful because even though Asian culture is accepted, Asian people are not. We don’t have Asian role models in Hollywood and you would notice that Asians spends a lot of money in order to look more western.
    The same is in the Philippines. Charice is a natural brown beauty. She is not what Filipinos usually defined as beautiful, that’s why she didn’t get famous there. All the singers you mentioned are the same, they have fair skin and skinny, no doubt from skin whiteners and diets. While Lea Salonga and Regine Velazquez paved way to Filipino singers, Charice paved way to what REAL Asians look like.

    1. I was already expecting a comment or two from Charice’s fans, but I never expected one with such passion. I must say, that I have no problem with what Charice looks like, which is why I am one of the many dumb founded when I heard she had botox treatment (for someone who you say represents the Asian look, she seems to me in such a hurry to change her God given features) . Anyway, I’m just saying, in my opinion, that I do not think she is heads and shoulder above the many singers we have in the Philippines or in Hollywood, she may be one of the best, but not the very best in my opinion; and all the hype she is getting is only because she was discovered in an international platform. But hey, if that’s what you believe in, I respect your opinion. Thanks for your comment, note taken.

      1. I’m not approved of her botox as well. Quite honestly I think it’s the doctor just wants to be even more famous. I say this because I heard Charice have an appointment for a facial then it turned into botox w/ a camera crew, very suspicious. Either way I don’t approve of it. As for talent, Half of the people in Hollywood have less talent than Charice, or even my cousins, because the only thing you really need to get famous in Hollywood is a hit song. It’s the sad truth.

        I think people are impressed by her because she belted out Whitney Houston so well at a young age, and in here people who are less than 18 are still considered children, that’s why the backlash on her botox is so big. Many people have tried to sing Whitney, most that I’ve seen were in American Idol and most of them failed miserably. They expect a big African American woman to sing it well but instead it was a small Asian girl.

        To be honest with you, I don’t think that half of the celebrities in the Philippines are as nice as they seem. They’re too nice for my taste, I just wish that they show their meaner side to seem more human, but I know it won’t happen because once they do one mistake all hell breaks loose.

    2. To Ms. Martha Tumbokon when you say that ‘charice paved the way what a REAL asians look like’; and belittle the asian images that came before her is indeed narrow-minded, not to mention forcing the issue rather obviously, that you have clearly pidgeon-holed yourself at a tunnel here!
      For no one can deny the FIRST ASIANS who really had any international exposure came parading way before charice ever did and the list has been long, let me begin with just a few, in case y’ all forgot about these conveniently, let me remind you:
      Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Q, oh and the ever so cute with the pug nose and oriental little eyes (winner of a Tony and a Olivier for the same role in Miss Saigon: Lea Salonga, that’s theater’s unrivalled ever), oh what about the beautous Sushmita Sen (1994 Ms World) oh don’t tell me that you didn’t think that the South Asians are not asians, because you would be soooo wrong! As far as the brown beauty is concerned, yeah Sushmita IS BROWN and BEAUTIFUL, naturally brown! So EITHER your charice is beautiful OR SHE’S NOT! It’s not because somebody else has lighter skin or not, it’s just a matter of accepting with EYES OPEN!
      There’s ONE thing about GENERALIZATIONS that I’ve learned in university from my professor in logic, THEY ARE mostly WRONG!
      As for the Botox, hey I guess it’s her welcome wake-up call to Hollywood! First that, then come the rest of the parade of the renos! At the end of the day, she still may not be what the mainstream is looking for. And her singing prowess may just be a hype, I don’t buy it! Charlotte Church at 11 years old singing Pie Jesu live on TV was way better. Charlotte’s voice was finer on the extremely higher notes (quite angelic), and Charlotte didn’t take on the grating loud belting/yelling that Charice does which is rather aggravating, its’ not very pleasing. Is there anyone better? Nikky Yannofsky has niched successfully in jazz pop, and can sing distinctly with great sharpness in both english and french (and was the youngest solo performer at the recent Nice Jazz Festival, 16 yrs. old). Sure there’s always someone better, you just have to open your eyes and your mind! It’s not all about American Idol.
      In fact Charice has not found her niched in the mainstream. To be noted her album has disappeared from the US billboard charts in 6-7 weeks, YES! it debuted at #8 but it dropped to #173 came back up to #139 and then it was GONE! Is Botox really a surprise? Nah! I would wager if she’s yielding to the pressures of Hollywood right now, the deeper she gets into it, the more she’ll get herself into such sort of things, ….and I’m just saying.

    3. Hi. great blogs in here. i love charice ever since i saw her on little big star. i felt bad when she lost. and angry because i know why she lost. i’m posting below a nice comment from ARKANGHEL100, i hope he don’t mind. he expresses succinctly what i also feel.

      Posted June 21, 2010 at 5:17 am
      She was a child abandoned by her father and forced to survive in the midst of poverty and subjected to the uncaring attitude of the Philippine entertainment industry and the brainwashed and cruel public and yet overcame all the odds and made her mark and prove them wrong. Her name is Charice….remember her name…..because she is inside every Filipino who’s been discarded, crushed, despised, and thought to have lost….and yet rose to the challenge and became victorious. Treat her with respect

  2. She was at the right place, at the right time, and with the right people—-that is called destiny! Talent like hers will only bloom, not wither. There’s simply not enough talented Asians in mainstream media to look up to or even given the chance to shine, let’s be more supportive, because she does have the talent. Maybe once she becomes a household name and more Asian talents are showcased in the mainstream….then we can afford to be more critical. You do not have to like her, but just say “yeah, she does a good voice”….and then move on..

    1. With all do respect, I have a 20% asian heritage, I’m mostly western/eastern european, but charice has once attempted an itallian classical song, and being someone who has more than a decade of classical training she didn’t do it much justice. She yells the higher notes and it’s really aggravating and my peers agree that she did not observe the musical dynamics of the classical piece that she was singing, we suspect because she doesn’t know how to read it, and therefore belie that she is untrained in classical music. We don’t find her singing pleasing.
      As part asian, I will will have to stick with Lea Salonga to honor that part of my heritage. She has perfect diction and does her musical pieces perfect respect and regard. She also has done something in the field of finer theater that even dynastic families have never reached, which is to win the Tony and the Olivier for the same role. We can tell from our training that she does not flaunt out of ambition but out of respect and honor which is how musical pieces and character which she plays should be regarded.
      Unfortunately, charice is too much commerciality FROM THE GET GO! She’s a product best sold to those who know NO BETTER!

      1. Yes, I agree. She does sings well but I hate it when they make her do things like that, song and performances some people have spent most of their life perfecting. And nobody dares call out that she is actually not doing it justice because a lot of us are already been conditioned to think that she is good.

    2. I agree with Ruthr. Charice is just starting out even if her performance belies this because she has been singing and joining singing contest since she was seven years old. She’s where she is now because of her discipline and perseverance in honing her talent.Sorry, but I cannot understand your critique on this young singer at all. If you do not appreciate her then you have the option to not listen to her or bother yourself with her. I can’t stand Kris Aquino but I don’t write bad things about her even if she deserves to be kicked out of the country. Charice on the other hand is simply doing her best at what she’s good at and she is inspiring a lot of people. I’m sorry but the way you and GreatlySkeptical write here, you seem very jealous of her successes that it’s consuming you 🙂

      1. Hi Antonjuan, thanks for the comment. Sorry but who is Ruthr and what did she say again? If you like Charice then you are free to do so, just as I am free not to and explain why through my blog. As I’ve said in the post, I think she is a good singer, but not enough to charm me, but that’s just me. Also, in MY opinion, as I’ve said in the post, I only think that a lot of her fame comes from the word of other celebrities, and people are only riding on the band wagon. Again, that’s just me, if anything it is nice to know that she has fans like you who loves her. And sorry, I just can’t help myself, if I wanted the success she has now, I wouldn’t want to because someone famous said so and people are only taking their word for it, even though I am really not all that. I’d like to be recognized through good old fashion hard work, and constantly proving myself worthy, even if takes my whole life doing it.

  3. PS. Oh I just wanted to add on the issue ‘that Asians get small screen time in Hollywood’,ezqueeze me, I don’t think so!
    I recently saw Inception (you have to see it in IMAX) and Ken Watanabe is superb! I think the issue has been laid to rest by Star Trek (1966) George Takei, Star Trek (2009) John Cho both playing Hikaru Sulu which is a key character! And if you know Hollywood, then you should also know that it is SERIOUSLY INFLUENCED by the master Akira Kurosawa, and this is shamelessly admitted by George Lucas and Spielberg themselves and this is evidenced in Star Wars and in The Magnificent 7 (which was the spaghetti western of The 7 Samurai, a Kurosawa film noir masterpiece). Kurosawa also influenced Tarantino, and this is evidenced in the film noir treatments of his films i.e. Sin City etc. Small screen time? Lucas, Spielberg, and Tarantino, were just a few who worshipped asian masters like Kurosawa (he was japanese) and strived at their craft to reached Kurosawa’s mastery. Also, I hope you saw Zhang Ziyi in the Horsemen (2009) where she played a serial killer with Dennis Quaid. Oh and if you enjoyed Mission Impossible 2 (Tom Cruise), Face-off (with Travolta,Cage), Broken Arrow (Travolta, Slater), Hard-Edge (Van Damme) they were all directed by John Woo a Chinese film director and producer from Hong Kong.

    So Martha Tumboken if you still think that as you said; “I would start with Hollywood, Asians gets the smallest number of screen time than any other races.” Maybe you know just a little too little about Hollywood.

      1. I’ll tell you what Josh, one’s hypothetical ears can’t help but be stuffed with all of the the marketing spiels about her, the die-hard fans’ delusional shrieks that contradict logic beyond reason, that is part and parcel of charice’s public marketing image, so let’s assume that all and sundry in this discussion is well-stuffed as a thanksgiving turkey and relatively knows one needs to know about charice (on occasion rolling one’s eyes in exasperation with the inanity of it all).

        And, since by all accounts and purposes Glee is a different niche, which is acting, that she’s never tried with bigger audience before such as the mainstream,(unlike Lea Salonga who was well trained and so very well prepared to take on Broadway and the West End Theater in London) I’ve yet to see how charice will fare in that arena, and how she’ll deal with the off-camera demands and temptations that even north american actors have miserably failed in (i.e. Dana Plato; Different Strokes, etc.). She hasn’t even started yet and she already yielded to IMAGE INSECURITY (i.e. to have botoxing), in an effort to shave off some centimeters off her face to deal with the mythical effects of HD cameras in a role that is supposedly meant to portray someone who is comfortable with themselves.

        A great contradiction indeed and something that mainstream will not be blind to. If anything mainstream has a tendency of nitpicking to the bone every artist that came along regardless (even Beyonce, Fergie etc.), and that just might aggravate that image insecurity a tad more…. but wait a minute charice already has it…so hey, we can say this time mainstream definitely DID NOT start that one!

    1. Correction: when I say “success” it just means that she has come a long way from where she was before. I’m not one to judge that her current “success” is not enough for her already. And besides breaking new ground for oneself (or “succeeding”) is a completely different thing from keeping it.

      Re screentime: Compared to the caucasians, Hollywood screen time (not behind the camera) for asians is still relatively low. There are many excellent examples of Asians conquered Hollywood mind you, however if we’re just comparing the amount of actors and screen time, of course there will be less Asians precisely because it’s in Hollywood. It just can’t be helped because of the location! Usually a hollywood movie/show will have one or 2 token asians. *note I used the word “usually” so there can be exceptions.

    2. Haha you’re funny. There’s actually a publication in 2005 comparing screen time of Asians compared to other ethnicity. I never said that Asians were never seen onscreen, just compared to other ethnicities, Asians have very little screen time.

      It’s a little old but I doubt much has changed since then, as seen in “The last Airbender scandal”. Hollywood actor Dante Basco also commented how there’s very little roles for Asian actors in his blog.

      Did I mention the Asian roles that was cast to white people? Dragon Ball Z and 21 were among them. There’s an entire movement against “racebending”, casting caucasian actors is Asian roles or any other ethnicities for that matter. ( Even when Asians were given roles, more often than not they were given very stereotypical roles, in Hollywood at least.

      For someone calling me closed minded, you are pretty closed minded as well. Think about the big picture, you say Charice is not as talented as people say she is…I argue so are several other singers who are in the mainstream media. Just google “singers who can’t sing” and there’s a lot of results. If Charice is as talented as you say she is, then let there be more diversity in mainstream media at the very least so that Asian children have more role models.

      Next time, I suggest you do your research.

      1. Try to expand your list of diversity for hollywood entertainers who currently have Hollywood projects…and yes this is the current as in the ‘now’, not what was on an outdated study made 5 years ago.

        Female entertainers: (and I’m just keeping it with the girls for space and expediency, and this is the short-list)
        Ariane (Japanese-Dutch),Brenda Song, Devon Aoki, Gwendoline Yeo,Jane March (Vietnamese-Chinese-English-Spanish), Jasmine Trias, Kathleen de Leon, Katie Leung, Keiko Agena , Kristin Kreuk, Natasha Yi, Nicole Scherzinger, Sandrine Holt (Chinese-French), Suzy Nakamura (Japanese), Tania Gunadi, Tani Lynn Fujimoto (Japanese-Hawaiian-German-Scottish-Polish-French-English-Native American)
        Tia Carrere, Lucy Liu

        Your right the study you quoted is not current, in 2011 Bunraku will be in North American theaters but that will not counted as ‘Hollywood” movie because it’s considered an Indie film but it will have Demi Moore and Josh Harnett in it with Gackt, Shun Sugata, Emily Kaiho, Fernado Chien, Yoshiu Lizuka, Shahar Sorek. Also, you might have missed Rain (awfully cute) in Ninja Assasin.

        In as much as the argument as Hollywood making stretched characterization and westernized even what canon believers should be asian roles and the argument went even beyond ‘The Last Air Bender’ and “Dragon Ball Z”, my favorite video game “Prince of Persia’ was played by the ever sexy Jake Gylenhall, with a put-on british accent (interesting); Prince of Persia is supposed Arabic and should have a heavy Arabic accent don’t you think?, and what about the Scottish Gerard Butler for the Spartan (you know, Greek) King Leonidas in “300′ the movie, what about the failed british accent of Sherlock Holmes played by Downey, Jr. Or Benicio del Toro as an Englishman in Wolf (2010) or Anthony Hopkins as a Spaniard in Zorro, or Catherine Zeta-Jones as a Spaniard in the same film, the only believable Spaniard in that film was Antionio Banderas. Why just asian? According to the 2005 you quoted it has spread its consideration to other diversities, so let’s do expand.

        This is what they call “artistic license” from the point of view of hollywood…it’s for the entertainment value. This is where anyone with half of an iota of intelligence can suspend their disbelief and be entertained.

        However, it is obvious that anyone can politicize the oppurtunity and put color for whatever sanctimonious purpose it serves, quoting any outdated self-serving study, operative word being “outdated”. Anyone can do that. Unfortunately, information gets old not just in a matter of years but in just in months. Even then, the context and motivation will bring question the objectivity of where you’re going with it.

        You can put your blinders on based on the research you happened along, dated 5 years ago, in order to satisfy the justification why there should be another asian entertainer in hollywood…but then again….there always were asian artists and always will be, not only specifically what you pidgeon-holed your preference it to be (hence, that reference)…but even without charice, THERE WILL ALWAYS be asian artists in hollywood, whether your satisfied with the frequency of their presence or not, is all up to you.

  4. I don’t know much about Charice, but I was impressed that she landed a role on GLEE. I’ll observe her then and get back to you…

  5. I agree with everything you just said, Diplowife! Although, if I may just add, a lot of savvy marketing can also be credited for Charice quick rise (I wouldn’t exactly call it “success” just yet, as, just like Greatly Skeptical, I prefer to peg my measure of musical success on the likes of Lea Salonga).

    It is unfortunate that most people, including our kababayans, equate good singing with all that yelling and screaming we now see on TV. And let’s not forget that, when that Glee gig was inadvertently leaked by Charice’s local manager, she came out and denied it, and now everyone is pretending like nothing happened! (Am I the only one who remembers??? Joke lang pala!) Perhaps blatant lying is just par for the course in showbiz, or perhaps I lost my sense of humor somewhere.

    That having been said, I hope she overcomes her “commercialization” (for lack of a better term) and truly evolve into a serious singer. And for her sake, I hope she does not fall into the trap that a lot young stars, heady with initial success, fall into.

    1. Yes, I hope that for her too. That if she receives such thoughts as my post as constructive criticism. And I do hope she tries to prove us all wrong, at least by releasing a good song. Something that really shows how good her voice is, not just by screaming her lungs out. Hey maybe some “real” music lessons, she certainly has the means.

      About the Glee thing, I really hope she does well. I heard that the producers got a little problem because she got the botox, apparently the storyline they were doing for her was suppose to teach accepting yourself and your looks. Ironic isn’t it?

  6. Sweety, this is exactly why she is not a hit in the Philippines. We have too many Charices already. That’s why she could only do an Eastwood concert (or some other small venue) when she was there. There are so many poor pinoys who made it in showbiz with their big voice and talent. It’s understandable that we pinoys are underwhelmed by her.

    However success is equal to purely talent, brilliance and hard work but also opportunity, the correct factors surrounding the person, marketing etc., etc. Have you ever read Outliers? Well Charice is sort of an outlier.

    Outliers are “men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August.” – Outliers

    And yes her success is as puzzling as a cold day in August (Paris) however she is lucky enough to live in the generation of youtube and she was able to take advantage of being in a different market (USA) wherein her “appeal” is unique. Hey everyone is just trying to make it, wherever they can right? At least she found her correct target market.

    Don’t get me wrong. I totally dislike her! So even if I do, I say kudos to her for making it!

    More info on Outliers here:

    1. I suppose you are right, I just hate the idea that people back home only like her now because of how she got her break. Did you know she joined a singing contest back home and lost? And now all of a sudden we like her, because Oprah says she’s amazing. But hey, I guess it’s all about timing, today in a world of Justin Biebers and Keyboard Cats.

      I’ve read the Tipping Point but not the Outliers yet. Maybe I will give it a read. How are things?

  7. Well in the sense of “finding the correct target market”, so far she’s yet to convince the mainstream that she caught their selective attention and memory. As far as the correct target market, ironically it may only point to her home market thus far as the only “correct target market” she’s only been able to mesmerize to complete complicity. Mainstream, as far as her album short stint in the billboard chart for only 6-7 weeks has proven quite unimpressed.
    And if it’s true that her role in Glee is to characterize acceptance and value of self, which definitely the act of botoxing has contradicted then she’s by mainstream’s standards yielded to the circus characters (i.e. Heidi Montag et al) who will have a long hard tread to travel to be taken seriously.

    1. And for this argument I would like to distinguish some terms:
      I would use the word “race” to differentiate between Latinos, Caucasians, African Americans and Asians. I would use the term “ethnicity” to differentiate between let’s say the French and the Germans, the Chinese to the Japanese.

      I knew you were going to argue me because I used an outdated research yet you failed to read the blog I used as reference, which was published this year I might add, and how it comments how there are very few Asian actors accepted. I would understand if they cast a Scottish man in a Greek movie, I would also understand if they cast a Chinese person in a Japanese role (they did and it caused a lot of controversies). The actor might be a better actor or they might bring a better crowd. What is unacceptable to me is when they cast an actor of a different race to that role. What’s also disturbing is how Asians have to play certain stereotypical roles. I’m not the only one who noticed this, here are more recent articles:
      And when Asian actors were cast in a role, they lack recognition :
      2008: (it’s a bunch of articles about the movie 21)

      To say that I should not politicize this as a race issue, especially in a diplomatic blog is almost an insult. I have realized that while you see the cup as half full, I, and several others, see it as half empty. I do not advocate colorblindness (disregarding race) at all because if you are colorblind, then you are blind to several issues in this world. Hollywood is not the only place Asians are invisible and I could start a whole other argument about that but I don’t feel like explaining to you the “glass ceiling” Asians have to face. Do that research on your own.

      I have read Glee blogs and I learned that they originally want to cast a Christian singer for the role (likely white) but they changed the script in favor of Charice. For an Asian to take on that role and turn it into Asian, that’s one battle won compared to several others. And if you’re thinking that “awww the white singer would have been better” well I say they should have cast better actors in “the last airbender”.

      1. What’s amusing is that you insist you positing your posture based on manga particularly on last Air Bender and on the mention of Dragon Ball Z. You forgot to mention Astroboy, the latest hollywood cartoon version is more westernized than the original Dr. Osamu Tesuka version, or is it? It’s manga, it’s a product of the artist’s creation. Let’s take two short case in points as examples for clarification:

        Dragon Ball Z to start off. Goku, played by Justin Chatman, Chichi by Chung, Yamcha by Eriku Tamura, Master Roshi by Yun Fat Chow, Piccolo by James Marsters, Mai by Eriku Tamura, Grandpa Gohan by Randall Duk Kim, Yamcha by Joon Park, Sifu Norris by Ernie Hudson, Seki by Mugumi Seki, Carey Fuller by Texas Battle, Oozary buy Ian Whyte, Agundes by Ian Blake Moreno by Jon Valera, Butler, Rafael Butler. How many do you count as asian and non-asian? Don’t start gloating yet on however you want to miscontrue a simple fact.

        The manga was written by Akira Toriyama, japanese manga master. Movie by James Wong and Ben Ramsay. Here’s the Plot:Two thousand years ago, a Namekian warlord Piccolo (James Marsters) descended upon Earth during a solar eclipse and attempted to destroy the world with the aid of his disciple, Oozaru. A group of monks conjured the Mafuba — a powerful but life-threatening enchantment designed to bind those caught within it — and used it to imprison Piccolo. With Piccolo banished, Oozaru disappeared, and the Earth gradually recovers. In the present day, Piccolo escapes his confinement and as another solar eclipse approaches, he begins searching for the legendary Dragonballs in order to make a wish to the magical dragon Shen Long for the power to take over Earth. Does that even sound real or just imaginary? (And coming from me who’s a manga fan and a collector, like seriously).

        Perhaps, you haven’t noticed in true manga fashion, manga artists always, always, draw the eyes bigger/wider, light colored than normal, it makes the character more expressive and also more appealing, i.e. Vampire Knight, very western looking; Gunslinger II has a blue eyes and blond hair girl for a main character, created by Yu Aida; Alice the 101st with the lead character called Allistair created by Chigusa Kawai.

        Do we need to go through the whole series of the anime of the alternate universe where Bulma Briefs (which doesn’t sound asian by the way) has Goku’s son Gohan (not the Grandpa), who also turns Super Cyan (by the way what color do their hair turn into when they turn super cyan, oh yeah hollywood blond!) after perfecting ki-bending kamehaha! WHOA! In the manga and in the anime Piccolo and Oozaru are ALIENS, hence no earthly race qualify them, so they can be played by anybody!

        In the issue of The Last Airbender, the manga and the anime versions could be considered as violating common understanding of racial orders as well because by earthly standards the water benders should be portrayed by Inuits or Eskimos being that their from the frozen north and from what country does that flying hunk of animal belong to, that Aang, Katara, and Sokka ride? In any case, why should the earth benders not be more amazonian or even samoan in features since they control the ground, soil or the earth so to speak? Why should they all be asians? Aren’t they from different countries and continents according to the anime?

        Although, the anime rendition of the fire benders have drawn their military uniforms similar to ancient samurai to make them more militaristic the similarity stops there, the fire-benders ships are way too industrial age; wrong age and time for the samurai if you know your japanese history. Perhaps, make them more technologically-endowed to frighten the other benders less industrially inclined, there seems to be no mention or indication that they come from Japan. And what about the calligraphy, isn’t that asian, you might insist? The original Airbender was written by Michael Dante DiMartino Bryan Konietzko (yeah well, I’m going to have to say that they’re NO J.R.R. Tolkien who can write his own language while creating his own alternate world and imaginary stories). Perhaps calligraphy is the only exotic doodling they felt was useful in their TV anime. From any map that was shown on the tv anime, no country was named neither continent was identified, so only the assumption that this whole scenario even happened on the same planet……hmmm perhaps this happened in an alternate universe.

        IMAGINATION and CREATIVITY! Amazingly, how many times can these be posited as basis for politicizing sanctimonious based on racial issues, your almost taking the fun out of these things….ALMOST!! But not quite!

        If one insists on positing this particular point you only prove one thing, and that is tunnel-vision, pidgeon holing yourself in the idea that with a quixotic self-grandeousness of victimization from a culture or a society perhaps that you feel has left you out when it hasn’t. Color blindness? I guess know a lot about that, being that you ignore the mixed asians that have careers in hollywood and continue to do so. It’s up to you, to be so bitter as to fan your discontent. Perhaps to address tunnel vison would be better served one to get some prism lenses to widen one’s vision and finally see plain reality, instead of bitterly complaining and fanning delusionment.

    2. Looking at your arguments, I see you again failed to read the article links I posted for you or else you would’ve noticed an article pointing out that Hollywood favored Foreign born Asian actors than Asian-Americans. Quite honestly this is getting tiring as your ignorance knows no bounds as you brush of the statements of several others in favor of “IMAGINATION and CREATIVITY”. I’m all about imagination and creativity but there’s nothing imaginative or creative about Asian actors playing the same stereotypical roles over and over again as Dev Patel commented merely hours before I wrote my last post. (the link is on my last post)

      I suggest for you to take an Asian American history class, it might be worth your while.

  8. Hi Ms Diplowife

    I am neutral on the Charice issue. I neither like nor dislike her. However, this entry on her provided a refreshing view.

    It made me go “oo nga.”


    PS I chanced upon your blog while googling blogs by Philippine FSOs. I took the written exam last month, still waiting for the results (even though I’m not really confident hehe).

    1. Hi Joe,

      Thanks for the comment. Why aren’t you confident about the exam? When you said written did you mean the second part of the exam? Don’t worry about it, I know it is a difficult exam but you must be a very smart person to attempt to take it. I know I won’t. But I will be hoping you do pass. Good luck.


      1. Actually the written exam is now the third part of the exam. 🙂 They added a preliminary interview portion in 2009, where a panel of FSOs interview (and criticize, haha) the candidates. That makes the FSO exam a five part exam now.

        I just have the audacity to try out for it. haha.

        More power to you!

  9. i think i understand why you may not particularly like Charice. The same way that I cannot seem to appreciate Sarah Geronimo, Zsa Zsa Padilla or even Regine Velasquez and many other Pinoy pop singers. I think maybe because i find their voices “too thin” or not as “rounded and full” as Charice’s, i think? I’m an end-user only when it comes to music. I love jazz, from be-bop to heavy, from Airto to Zawinul. But i really love Carol Banawa.

    But let me try to explain why Charice i like very much. It couldn’t be because like most Filipinos who admire her just because Ellen, Oprah, David Foster, the Italians, the Swedes, the Hollanders, the Japanese, Thais and other foreigners validated her as being “really good”. No, i don’t think so for me, because when i first heard her singing by accident on TFC on ABS-CBN, i just had to take a glance at that LBS program. I tell ya, I was amazed by the maturity of the performance as well as the quality of the voice coming from a young girl. the powerful voice and her mature technique in singing. And when i begin to just stare and listen quietly, i know there is undeniable charisma there. I dare say, just like Brando, Pacino, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin … there are certain people who you can say “a different kind of blood flows throught their veins”, a golden aura, a captivating charisma! People who can kill conversation when they walk into a room, and when they go, you know they’ve left already, ykwim? I think that’s what they call “Star” quality. Charice definitely is one of those rare people who has that intangible quality, built-in and cannot be learned or practiced or taught.
    Anyway, like what Louie Armstrong said, “Man, if you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”
    Thank you for nice blog site :o)

  10. Hi theDiplomaticWife, how r u?
    Ruthr’s one of the commenters on ur blogsite.

    Jul 23, 2010 @ 05:08:28

    She was at the right place, at the right time, and with the right people—-that is called destiny! Talent like hers will only bloom, not wither. There’s simply not enough talented Asians in mainstream media to look up to or even given the chance to shine, let’s be more supportive, because she does have the talent. Maybe once she becomes a household name and more Asian talents are showcased in the mainstream….then we can afford to be more critical. You do not have to like her, but just say “yeah, she does have a good voice”….and then move on

    have a nice day – anton

  11. i stumbled on this blog for i never stopped digging cyber space about its 2012 and charice made it against all odds …a tiny girl with humble beginning from the domestic helper country called ‘the philippines’.until then am proud of this girl no matter what your opinions or whatever it doesnt matter anymore..she made and still making it.its what they call….’ DESTINY’.

  12. Well I’m neither a fan nor a hater of Charice. But all I could say is your article had me laughing all throughout. Although peppered with quite a bit of sarcasm (which I really love btw) IMO, you were simply pointing out the other side of Charice that other people has not bothered to check closely just because most Filipinos were overly thrilled to finally have somebody from the Philippines break through mainstream Hollywood. And yes you are entitled to your own opinion so don’t bother answering those comments that are obviously provoking you into a word war. They’ve been warned from the very start of this post 😉

  13. You are entitled to your opinion however strident it is. But I agree with Ellen, Oprah, David Foster, Celine, Andrea Bocelli, etc., that Charice is very talented, if not “the most talented girl in the world.” I’m Filipino and I also think that there are several good Filipino singers, but most of them are karaoke singers, not world class.

    Your lengthy explanation on why you don’t like Charice betrays the crab DNA in your genes. Sorry 😦

    Rebuttal if you must, but you are convincing only to people with your DNA, regardless whether you are a diplomat’s wife or the wife of a sewer engineer.

  14. Yes. Charice is no comparison. No comparison at all to the Gangsters that bullied and murdered their way to fame and fortune, their adventures… immortalized in film and hailed as heroes. No comparison at all to some of the world’s wealthiest families that financed both sides of a major conflict. No comparison to the large multinational corporations that exploit child labour. No comparison to the doctors and pharmaceutical giants that make a killing out of the misery of patients of humble backgrounds whose children are dying of cancer in government hospitals. No comparison to the financial, political and religious institutions that… ( need I elaborate? )

    Whether good or bad, Charice has made a name for herself. She’s created a brand, a trend, and a following. She is promoting the country, it’s people and it’s potential treasure trove of hidden talent. Some of her concerts even raise funds for various charities. Now that’s an ambassador not limited to one country, but virtually the whole world.

    Oprah too has created a brand, a trend and a following beyond her talk show, diversifying into things like fashion.

    Finally, Charice is someone who need not be introduced. We all know who she is. I tip my hat to this young lady and others like her. Okay, Justin Bieber too.

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