Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Complete Cebu Thriller Compendium

Jawo asked me why I didn't have the Cebu Thriller Youtube here. I said (my mind was screaming, OMG, I saw that more than two weeks ago), well, everybody saw it na. Then while waiting for a friend in Victory Cubao (long story), I watched Jessica Soho's take on the Cebu prisoners. But first, here the video:
Then here's the UK Guardian story. Guardian na ito ah.
It began as a fitness routine for old lags, but inmates in the Philippines have become a worldwide phenomenon and added a whole new dimension to jailhouse rock.
Hundreds of prisoners decked out in orange jail-issue jumpsuits are the latest stars of the internet with video clips of their routines going down a storm on YouTube.

More than 1.3 million viewers have downloaded the prisoners' performance of Michael Jackson's Thriller, one of nine clips posted on the video-sharing website.

Another classic in the inmates' repertoire is Queen's Radio Gaga, with Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" slated as a forthcoming attraction at the Cebu detention centre.
The surprise internet hit is the result of an unusual programme designed to keep the inmates in shape and banish boredom as they await trial or serve out their sentences.

All 1,600 inmates - apart from the elderly and infirm - must take part. It started last year with marching to Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall and has grown to include a whole series of dance routines.

It was the brainchild Byron Garcia, a security consultant for Cebu's provincial government, who saw it as a way to improve inmate behaviour.

"Using music, you can involve the body and the mind," he said. "Inmates say to me: 'You've put my mind off revenge, foolishness or thinking how to escape'."

Mr Garcia posted the first clips on YouTube to share with colleagues in the penal service, but they quickly became popular around the globe.

Now the inmates find a huge source of pride in the dances and are always eager to know the YouTube viewing figures for their latest efforts.

Soho talked to the star dancers of the video. Both are on drug charges and were dancers in their free time. Other than Garcia, Soho talked to the choreographer Vince Rosales who was quoted as saying, "Tinapunan ako ng tsinelas nung una (They threw their Havaianas at me)." Well, he was, like Pigeon Lobien, stuck in the 80s (some of the dancers were stuck since the 1980s) and now he has a captive crew to worked with. The 1,600 prisoners danced for Channel 7, Sister Act's I Will Follow Him and Michael Jackson's Beat It set in the prison mess hall. They also showed bits of the Algorithm Dance which is also available in YouTube.
And didn't you know that the Youtube was only a practice? As a Cebuano once sang it, "It's just a trailer. Trailer night." Yes! I was in University of San Carlos in Cebu that summer when Thriller hit the Philippines hard (delayed because Sony had some legal wrangling).
They performed also the complete one with rolling coffins and the star dancer in the red jacket lent by Andy Zapata. "You've got to admit, the fluorescent orange does add a nice sense of uniformity to the routine," said Washington Post's Express (kind of Inquirer's Libre). Come to think of it, why no story on this in the major Philippine newspapers?
Atin atin lang ito a, but this wouldn't happen in the US, for example, because litigations for human rights would be rammed down Garcia's throat. We already have too many HR violations in the Phil so I will stop. BUT wouldn't it be better if we have Estrada and Jalosjos or the mayor with the heinous hairdo to participate. I know there are some sons of Dolphy somewhere or even Hubert Webb or to make it more Cebu, the cono suspects in the Chong sisters slay case.
And I heard that Cebu is not only planning to put this in the Guinness under the category, Most Dancers Dancing to Thriller at The Same Time. And the government is also thinking of including this in Wow Philippines! Tourist attraction.
"Uy did you buy you otap na? Let's go watch the dancing prisoners. They'll be doing Dayang-Dayang."
"What's today ba? Sunday? No. It's Sister Act."
"Hinde. I heard Sonny Osmena would be making a guest appearance. It would be the world premier of their "It's Raining Men."

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Blogger The Nashman said...

It had good column inches in all the three major UK broadsheets, The Times, Guardian, and even the Tory Daily Telegraph.

I don't know how the USA press covered it but surely they must have some nice footage of Abu Ghraib or Camp Orange Guantanamo...... their prisoners forming a human pyramid wasn't exactly a hit...

7:52 PM  

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