They want me as a new recruit
I have two confessions to make. But we’ll go to them later.
It took me weeks to decide to mention in this column the most puzzling singing group of all time: Village People. The mere mention of the group here will alienate younger readers who didn’t have the misfortune of enduring songs like “Macho Man” in their childhood. On the other hand, failure to do so will disappoint older readers who look up to Village People as the personification of their gay fantasies. They’ve been emailing me to please write about George Michael too.
I said puzzling because Village People’s greatest hit, “YMCA,” which was released in 1978, supposedly extolled the virtues of an international Christian association but at the same time was hailed as the ultimate gay anthem of the disco-dancing 70s. How could that be? YMCA volunteers themselves didn’t know what the hell was happening when they heard the song for the first time. You can imagine them huddled in prayer asking God what horrible sins had they committed to deserve Village People’s endorsement.
Anyways, this is not about “YMCA” and the let’s-spell-out-the-letters-with-our-arms-and-look-stupid gesture that goes with it. This column is about something that has far greater significance. It’s just that whenever I think of the global economic crisis, which a serious columnist like me should be writing about (ha ha), my thoughts lead me to the line “they want you as a new recruit” from the group’s 1979 hit “In the Navy.”
It’s like this. The news last week said the number of young Filipinos who want to join the military has doubled since the start of the global economic crisis. Accompanying the news were footages of young men and women with application papers in hand waiting for their turn at the recruitment office.
Confession Number 1. I want to give military service a try. I grew up imagining myself as a soldier, protector of the country, an Armalite-toting defender of freedom, democracy and canned goods. I will look hot in camouflage. I will send my friends photos of my war wounds, especially the ones inflicted by fellow soldiers during drunken brawls.
Confession Number 2. I want to be in the Pinoy Big Brother.
It’s like this again. The same newscast featured a monstrous traffic in Manila caused by a huge crowd of young people wanting to be in the voyeuristic, let’s-fool-the-people-by-saying-this-is-not-scripted reality show. I grew up dreaming to be in showbiz someday, at the same time I dreamed of being in the army.
At the Bahay ni Kuya, I will do anything for the ratings. I will dance. I will sing. I will pretend I’m not on primetime TV and cry over my painful experiences in an orphanage. I will get mad at the housemate who laughs at my Bisaya accent, fall in love with the one who laughs at my jokes, whisper to her sweet nothings and cozy up to her as if there are no cameras around.
I checked the Internet and found the age requirement to be my only problem, whether in the military or PBB. But they said they are willing to waive the age restrictions for me if I have skills that prove invaluable to the military or the showbiz industry.
I’m mastering the YMCA dance now.
SUN.STAR CEBU, MARCH 10, 2009