Musings on stories and trends in social media

Column-Dr Malaya Santos phooA Different Drum

Malaya Pimentel-Santos, MD

TEMPUS FUGIT. That’s what I told my son Joey this morning as I sent him off to his weekend retreat. He’s turning 16 in a month, standing at the threshold of adulthood, and his (life) story is still waiting to be written, in a manner of speaking.

Amidst all the hullaballoo on social media over the sorry state of Metro Manila traffic, the upcoming national elections, Philippine history, and one particular kalye serye, I thought I’d take a step back and just reflect on some of the latest stories and trends, and (more broadly), on the meaning of life in general.

Heneral Luna

The movie starts by stating that it is a work of “fiction based on fact.” I loved the movie, in fact, I’ve seen it twice. I also made it a point to watch it during opening week, for fear it would be pulled out of theaters before I could see it. Turns out I shouldn’t have worried. Several weeks later, it’s still showing.

Numerous writers and critics have weighed in, analyzing it for artistry, historical accuracy, and relating it to present-day Philippine politics. Much has been said, and I wish I had some brilliant insight to add to the discourse. Instead, I would just like to say that I’m pleased at how it moved several generations to revisit our heroes, our heritage and our history. It has also inspired a good bit of (mostly) intelligent discussion, and that, in itself, is quite an achievement.

Kalyeserye: Aldub

Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere and haven’t heard about this, “Aldub” – a contraction of the names Alden (Richards) and Yaya Dub (Maine Mendoza) – is an insanely popular segment on a local noontime show. It evolved from the Dubsmash videos that went viral earlier this year. It is arguably the greatest social media trend in the history of Philippine Twitter. It offers viewers a bit of light entertainment: Comedy with some life lessons, and all in all offers a refreshing – and welcome – respite from the traffic-cursed streets of the metro.

Extraordinary stories

This one isn’t really trending, but I’d like to mention it anyway. “Di Pangkaraniwang Kuwento” is a photographic advocacy campaign that aims to help raise awareness for leprosy by highlighting the human aspect and individual stories of persons affected by the disease. Rather than focus specifically on their patient experience, Di Pangkaraniwang Kuwento celebrates life and beauty, and reminds us that just like everyone else, persons affected by leprosy are special, extraordinary individuals in their own right.

Each of us has a unique journey, and therefore a unique story to tell. Maybe some of us (like Aldub and Heneral Luna) just have the gift of being able to tell this story better. At the end of the day, even more important than leading trends and waving to cheering crowds, is living a life that is meaningful. So embrace and enjoy yourspecial journey. It is, after all, your very own. And like they say, “Walang basagan ng trip.”

Vital Signs Issue 80 Vol. 4, October 1-31 2015