It has been proclaimed many times that the Internet is a great leveler that has the power to eliminate barriers and inequities in this world. While this ideal notion has yet to be fully realized, we've seen a few instances where it has ably demonstrated its enormous potential.
I won't go far as I cite the case of the Philippines. As emphasized several times before, the country wouldn't have found its niche in e-services without the phenomenon of the Internet.
A whole new industry--made up of call centers, software developers, animators, medical and legal transcriptionists, just to mention a few--has sprouted across the nation, all tracing their wealth and strength back to the Internet. Call them modern-day sweatshops, ridiculed at times for its odd working hours and seeming ephemeral nature, but it's hard to imagine where the country would put its thousands of graduates without the local outsourcing sector.
That said, I feel there's this side of the Internet that has not been fully appreciated--that being of an extraordinary global mass medium. For the Philippines, the past year was particularly groundbreaking, with YouTube contributing a great deal.
It was in 2008 that Filipinos, known for their singing prowess, made use of and benefited immensely from the video-sharing Web site. Two of the most inspiring stories that have been retold over and over again are the cases of child singer Charice Pempengco and new Journey frontman Arnel Pineda.
In both instances, ardent fans who uploaded the singers' videos on YouTube were responsible in their astonishing rise to fame. Before long, talent scouts located an ocean away were viewing their performances and would soon be knocking on their doors.
The diminutive Pempengco's powerful voice took him to the U.S. and gave highly praised appearances in American talkshows hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey. Pineda, meanwhile, was formally offered to take the lead vocals by Journey and would go on to make an auspicious debut in the band's worldwide tour.
But, YouTube was not only instrumental in exposing the Filipino talent to the world; it also helped discover local talents.
One such example is the zany duo of Moymoy Palaboy (loosely translated as Moymoy the Wanderer). The male pair uploaded their home-made videos that featured them hilariously lip-synching various ditties. It wouldn't be long before a local TV gag show, Bubble Gang, would take them in as a mainstay.
All thanks to the borderless reach of the Internet.
Happy new year, everyone.