164: Some thoughts on #RP612fic

My friend Paolo Chikiamco, aka @anitero, came up with the #RP612fic Twitter fiction idea as a way to celebrate the Philippine independence day. I was a participant when Paolo first introduced it in 2009 and I’ve been taking part annually ever since.

Every year #RP612fic only gets bigger. This year, the hashtag got a record 150,000 tweets, enough to send it trending for a brief time worldwide. All well and good for an idea that’s gone viral.

However, I’m none too happy with the entries this year. In its original incarnation, the entries gave us the kernel of a story that could be developed further. They were works of satire, alternate history, wishful thinking, and political commentary with a dash of trademark Pinoy humor.

This year, though, the tweets were almost all memes, or more accurately, poor attempts at memes. Lost in the multitude of “baes”, “beshes”, and “huhubellz”, they were barely even intelligible. Worst of all, they weren’t even funny.

#RP612fic also shows the glaring deficiencies in our grasp of Philippine history. Based on the characters in the tweets, it almost appears as if Philippine history began with Lapu-Lapu and ended with Jose Rizal with a big black hole in between. This year, because of the movie Heneral Luna, we do have more of the feisty general but that’s about it. This is sad because it tells us that our history is shaped mostly by popular culture.

There must be a few good entries in this year’s #RP612fic. I’m looking for something in the vein of its early years. Unfortunately, #RP612fic may be the victim of its won success. Good luck finding the gems in a dung heap of 150,000 other lousy attempts.

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Dom Cimafranca

Teacher, writer, project manager, and all-around nice guy.