Saturday, June 16, 2007

The "Embassy" Show

The Independence Day celebration in Riyadh last Friday was the most less-attended celebration I ever attended. If I have foreseen that it would be boring and time-consuming, maybe I could have shifted to my other priorities of the day.

Since the new ambassador assumed his post early this year, there are many community-serviced organizations who were disappointed with the restrictions that the new embassy administration imposed.

Dati, halos mapuno ang Liwasan ng mga tao linggo-linggo para manood ng shows, tournaments, atbp., Pero dahil sa mga restrictions, nawalan tuloy ng paglilibangan ang mga OFWs sa Riyadh.

The embassy is the only place where Filipinos in Riyadh could feel that they are not bored, homesick and alone. It could also be the place where men and women can talk and have fun freely.

If an organization will stage a quality entertainment show, kailangan nila ng mahigit 20,000 SR (240,000 pesos) para sa gastusin sa sound system, stage, costumes, embassy charges ( yes, nag charge sila for janitorial, electricity, etc.).

So with that big amount, of course kailangan ng isang non-profit organization na gumawa ng paraan to raise funds. Unlike sa Pilipinas, most establishments/companies in Saudi Arabia do not give financial support when they are being asked to sponsor shows. They can only give free products. Likewise, selling of tickets is now prohibited by the Ministry, kaya nahinto yong bentahan ng admission tickets sa loob ng Embassy Ground.

It was during the time of Ambassador Rafael Seguis, now DFA USEC, that the Filipino community in Riyadh started to enjoy their stay in the Kingdom because he made it sure that the Filipinos will have some recreations and gatherings at the Embassy always. And that made him a well-loved ambassador. He opens the embassy to Filipinos. Dahil para sa kanya, ang embassy ay para sa mga Filipino. This kind gesture of a Filipino public servant continued up to the administration of Ambassador Bahnarim Guinomla, albeit the complains received from nearby Embassies about the too much crowd and noise. The two ambassadors had won the support of OFWs.

Lately, we have experienced some misbehavior of Embassy officials and staff. Kung may mga tiwaling government employees sa atin, meron din sa Riyadh.

We have experienced sarcastic treatment from the Building Administrator, Guard and other low-ranking employees. Para bang sila ang may patakbo ng embahada.

I remember one lady employee who hates Filipino coming to Embassy na hindi siya pinapansin at hindi siya tinatawag na Ma’am. Kailagan aw ganoon palagi ang address sa kanila because they are working at the Embassy.

I just hope somebody will be brave enough to complain this matter to higher authority.

Going back doon sa show last night, although napagtiyagan naman, we cannot control ourselves to mock those performers na talagang aliw na aliw kami. Lalo na yong opening nila na halos nag mukhang show ng Bellestar dancers.. There were more technical problems, lalo na sa microphones.

We were impressed by the new talents of RAGI, pero mukhang nakakasawa na rin yong mga dati nilang members.

The show started late and since it was Friday, marami ang umuwing maaga dahil sa work kinabukasan.

As usual, Cyndy dela Cruz stood out during the first part of the program with her rendition of Dakilang Lahi. Cyndy is now a member of Asosasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mang-aawit (APM).

'Dakilang Lahi' - Cyndy dela Cruz

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