THE TV DEMOCRACY

The Philippine movie industry is in a slump, but many actors have adapted nicely to the crunch. They've landed roles in another high-profile, if less glamorous, field: politics.

Learning From The Estrada Embarrassment

For two and a half years I have traveled with a secret embarrassment: I have dreaded being asked the question "Are you from the Philippines?" Not that I was ashamed to be a Filipino, but I did not relish the inevitable follow-up: "Your president is That Actor." I didn't need to be reminded that my president was a big-haired action star who drank and gambled, hung out with lowlifes, kept several mistresses and seemed proud of his lack of education.

Save Us From Saviors

Although it's been many years since I've had to ask my parents for movie money, I still fall under the general definition of "youth." This makes me one of the people the anti-smut crusaders in the Philippines are trying to save.

It's Bigger Than America

I don't know anyone my age or younger who hasn't seen "Star Wars." No, wait, I know someone who claims not to have seen a single "Star Wars" movie, but I suspect she's lying in an attempt to be cool. "Star Wars" is beyond ordinary notions of coolness.

Deconstructing Imelda

I KNOW IT'S FASHIONABLE TO SAY MEAN things about Imelda Marcos. She and her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand, took away the rights of Filipinos and treated the national treasury as their piggy bank.