“Kababawanan” and the sudden Lea Salonga hatedom.

It was during the height of the weekend AlDub vs Showtime Twitter war when Lea Salonga posted a tweet that was quickly noticed by local Twitter users:

Lea, being from Showtime’s network, may have been seen as dismissing AlDub. (If she were from the opposing network, many AlDub fans would probably have embraced it as a criticism against Showtime.) Fans of the show reacted in droves, calling her condescending for dismissing kababawan.

That was despite her stating in her tweet, “Okay lang sa akin ang kababawan”.

Was it really a subtweet against AlDub? We’ll never know. Subtweets (subliminal tweets) being what they are, one cannot tell for sure what they are about. We can only make guesses but the author can always deny it, even if we guessed right. Subtweets are the ultimate passive aggressive attack in Twitter because they allow the author to dodge and slip away when confronted about what they wrote.

However, given where Lea was when she tweeted it (in the US, rehearsing for an upcoming play with George Takei) and how she doesn’t have a show in ABS-CBN that is directly in conflict with AlDub, is it really reasonable to conclude that she was directing it at the kalyeserye itself? Or was she merely commenting on the Twitter phenomenon where both the kalyeserye and Showtime were competing on who can out-trend the other.

As early as after midnight last Saturday, fans of AlDub began flooding Twitter with the #ALDubEBforLOVE hashtag (the official hashtag for Saturday’s show) despite the kalyeserye airing at noon. The Showtime fans were doing the same thing (but to a significantly lesser extent; they were easily outnumbered).

The Twitter noise was crazy.

Maybe, instead of the show, Lea Salonga was complaining about that: the noise.

Was she condescending? The inclusion of #NagtatanongLangPo at the end of the tweet may be too much. It came across as sarcastic. But beyond her tone, does she have a point?

There had been several criticisms directed at the AlDub fandom. Many have slammed the show and its fans for being “mababaw”, adding that there are “more important” issues people should mind than a kalyeserye. To be fair, many of these criticisms did come across as elitist and divisive.

Yet more than the show itself, the way it was made popular through official hashtags and forced Twitter trends is also worth paying attention to. The AlDub trends in Twitter has easily eclipsed other discussions. In a forum as ephemeral as Twitter, a flood of tweets can make it difficult for other post to be noticed. The AlDub trends are indirectly causing other topics to be sidelined.

And maybe that was Lea Salonga’s point as well.

Lea Salonga

I admire and respect Lea Salonga as an artist (and not merely an “artista”); I need not list her achievements that made fellow Filipinos proud. Even more than that, I admire her for being very vocal about her support for various social issues like women’s and LGBTQ rights. She is one of the Filipino celebrities who speak publicly about issues few other celebrities would even mention. One arguably condescending subtweet does not affect my admiration for her.

It’s sad how, for many AlDub fans, her tweet was seen as a declaration of war.

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