I find it ironic that out of reportedly 150+ accounts that attempt to capture a certain demographic of Manila, it’s the one about Cats which has been the most productive & meaningful.
"Magulo na ngayon. Lahat na lang pataasan ng ihi. Kailangan laging 'trending'. Kailangan wild para 'viral'. Kailangan may throwback, may foodporn, may selfie sa bakasyon. Marami nga tayong 'friends', pero sino ba sa kanila ang tunay na may pakialam?" "Interesting. Pero wala pa akong tanong. Picture pa lang ito." "Ah ganun ba? Sige tag mo ko pag na-post mo na. Maiinggit dito si pare!"
Parody, satire, humor, and entertainment are fine. Not to mention pictures of cats on the Internet are a surefire hit. It’s easier to capitalize on that. But these folks went the extra mile to build an advocacy for something that their audience already established a connection with.
It’s closer to (the original) Humans of New York, which shines a light on what we don’t spend much time thinking about: Everyone else beside us.
Everyone else besides us.
"I wish I could be remembered through my work, but it doesn't seem like that's going to happen at this point. I sell what I can to keep up with the rent. It's like a huge rock is chained to my leg and keeps pulling me into the ocean. As long as I keep struggling, I'll be OK. But the moment I stop, I'll sink."
For a nation that’s über sensitive about how we’re portrayed in the media, we’re strikingly tone-deaf about depicting others.
For starters, how many Chinoy accounts should there be? For a time, four co-existed, each spewing borderline racist tweets with reckless abandon. Probinsyanos were made perpetually naïve, jologs and jejemons ridiculed, and the poor continuously marginalized.
HONY is a blog, a Twitter feed, an Instagram account, a Facebook page by Brandon Stanton that doesn’t stereotype or passive-aggressively mock people they meet, but shares their authentic stories and struggles.
It encourages us to consider their differences from us as points of introspection, not criticism.
Rather than lament how they should be more compatible to our lifestyle & expect them to change, it dares us to change & be inspired by their insight.
Walang basagan ng trip, you may say, but isn’t that what these _OfManila accounts do towards that Tita/Conyo/Jeje you know?
First published on Medium. I enjoyed its typesetting features, but this ultimately needed to be on Stellify.