Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Parents' Prerogative?

There have been recent developments regarding the recent incident involving a minor dancing like seedy entertainer on national television. This particular one is far more disturbing as it shakes the very foundation of common sense and logic.

Jan-Jan's parents are NOT filing charges and they do NOT "see anything wrong" with what transpired on that show.


Yes, that is exactly what is mentioned in this news article. What is even more disgusting was some of the things the parents had to say in that news report:

"That’s what my son wanted, he liked to be famous, become a star...I just supported my kid...that’s what he wanted."
- Jojo Estrada, father of Jan-Jan.

Daddy's issue here is fame. Fame that his six-year old apparently wanted to have, and so, being the "supportive father" that he is, allowed his son to be the object of "entertainment" and ridicule from thousands and thousands of Filipino viewers nationwide. An issue arises here: When does "supporting" your child's "dreams" simply become a parent using his child as a tool for a quick buck and a claim to fame? I do not wish to treat children as if they are second-class citizens, but children are children for a reason: they need the GUIDANCE, DISCIPLINE, and PROTECTION of their parents (barring that, their guardians). What Mr. Estrada did was none of those; I do not claim to be an expert on parenting but no father should presume that being famous is what his child needs right now. Now, his son and his family are famous, true, but for all the wrong reasons.

It's difficult to say which camp is more wrong, but the fact remains that there is something wrong in this incident. If there wasn't, then the national public outrage that this has caused would constitute about the population of a public bathroom. This is not the case though. Thousands are speaking up against this form of "public entertainment"; clearly, it has violated an inner sense of righteousness and fairness among many Filipinos. I admit: I do not watch Willing Willie, but say I was a new viewer (all of you Willie die-hards were once first-time viewers too, so no hypocritical remarks) and this was the first episode I saw (which is true for my case), wouldn't I have the right to be appalled at what I saw? I was, and horrified too. The video brought out emotions of anger at the crass exploitation of a child who literally did NOT know any better, the classless gags and VERY tired jokes, as well as the frustration that real, living human beings are eating up and consuming shows such as these.

Shows with no cultural, societal, and moral values.

None, as proven by the casual - almost nonchalant - indifference of the child's parents against those seeking to defend their child's rights.

We all need to take a stand. Our national identity and values cannot be a street-side whore for the consumption of many.



  1. Not taking sides here, but if JanJan's father doesn't see anything that is worth filing charges, I guess there is no issue here then. I mean, technically, they were supposed to be the victims here, but I don't know, I guess they took those money Willie gave them as some kind of moral debt that what they can only do is to save Willie from all the trouble & humiliation.

    Honestly, I see both sides are at fault, but what can we do about it? They think no harm was done. Sometimes, shows like this really aggravate me that the only thing I can do is to not watch anymore TV rubbish for the meantime.

  2. Well written piece, the video is quite disturbing, it is bad enough subjecting a child to something like this at a public event but on television it is much much worse, the child will never be able to live it down as an adult and once he grows into a man and gains sense and maturity will never be able to forgive his parents. Once everyone realised the child was clearly upset they should have stopped his participation in the show, the presenter, the producers, the editor, one of them should have at least had the sense to call a halt to it.

  3. Michael: Thank you very much for your opinions. I agree with something you said: if the parents of the child do not see anything wrong with what they did (when thousands and thousands were clearly offended) then we have a case of "enough said". If they believe that they are raising their child well, then so be it. No one should teach another how to raise one's child BUT if any laws are proven to have been broken (i.e. a case of child abuse occurred) then the parents should be liable for that.

  4. Darren: Let us just all hope that this kid will have the mental fortitude later on to stay mentally and psychologically strong despite such an experience at a young age. Perhaps, he can even turn this around in the future and use this experience to inspire other children - and maybe even parents - on the socially and culturally acceptable ways of displaying a child's talent(s).