Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Powerplant is my little side of heaven on earth. Watching a date movie there is superb; your girl would want to bring you home to her daddy afterwards. Although I complain about the monotony of restaurants at the basement (I can’t afford the more expensive ones outside the mall), I’d pick that small mall in Rockwell over any other mall anytime. You can walk around outside because there are only a few cars moving about, unlike in Ayala Center where the traffic is so bad you can make out in the car. You see a forgivable amount of people who also go there to chill out and for the same reasons as I have mentioned above unlike the army of families and people in Megamall swarming its floors with most of them buying hardly anything. The mall smells good, as well as the people. Although I don’t, at least I don’t smell as bad as the people who herd the rundown malls of Isetann and Farmer’s Plaza. And I am awfully sure that it would take forever for the anime polo guy from Barangay Cembo in Makati to reach Rockwell, if at all they have the cash to commute to JP Rizal; if at all, the guards will allow them to enter. Hey, don’t get me wrong now. You know who’s side I am fighting for. For smelly ones of course. The unwashed and all other derogatory adjectives you can ever think of. But I am writing this piece purposefully to highlight the contradictions of culture. As with music, the elite also builds it own centers of culture and commerce, different from that which is available for mass consumption. Powerplant is a temple of urban opulence and excess in much the same way that Cubao is the haven for the marginalized and penniless wanderers, shopping for their aluminum can of biscuits to bring home to their relatives in some god-forsaken town. Powerplant makes you forget that your boss won’t promote you until you sleep with him. AliMall makes the poor chap forget he hardly has any money at all. Powerplant makes you drool over the Charioll bracelet worth 10k. Isetann makes the probinsyana Guzman Tech student fantasize about the 50 peso earrings in one of the tiangges in Divisoria. Powerplant makes you want to buy the herbal exfoliating soap by Lush. The full-time kasama even has problems buying a decent soap that lathers easily. All that I am saying now is that as the interests of the exploiter and the exploited are conflicting, so is the culture that they live by and the cultural institutions that they embrace because the class concept of culture is enmeshed deeply in the socio-economic conditions of the class. Yet, it is the ruling class which creates the cultural code in which the ruled people of a society conduct the affairs of culture and it is the people who will have to contend with that culture without substance, idiotized by the mass media that serves as a mouthpiece to prevent the masses from embracing a culture deeper and more liberating than what they now know. There was a need to create Powerplant as a watering hole of the elite. Glorietta was getting too crowded with people different from their own as had been the case of Megamall and Galleria before. To see themselves with these poor chaps would be dragging themselves to the level of the uneducated and the landless and the unemployed.

Then the social divide worsens as a result of blatant distinctions like such and the contradictions get highlighted further. But I hope the people have not been duped that much by culture and TV to believe that the contradictions are non-existent anymore.

I’d still visit Powerplant when I have the time to do so. To watch a good movie perhaps. It’s a stuggle, I know.

tulad ng sinabi ko sa iyo, kailangan mo ring maranasan ang mga ganyang luxuries dahil naipanganak ka sa ganitong klaseng lipunan at para malaman mo kung ano ang mas babalikan mo.
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