Do you Juana Change too?

It used to be that we Filipinos would take to the streets when we're extremely discontented, angry, and outraged at the government. We've been pretty silent for the past several years, but we've been finding creative ways to release our long-simmering rage, whether through blogs, art, photography, or videos. One of the loudest voices railing against the country's problems belongs to Juana Change (think "want a change"), whose YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/JuanaChange) has garnered thousands of views since its December 2008 launch. The channel features videos starring Juana Change in sad-but-true situations, like dealing with people in government offices who sniff out cash in return for faster service, and a step-by-step breakdown of the Cha-Cha, a.k.a. the hotly debated Charter Change. The videos have spawned a flurry of comments, some from viewers dismissing her videos as too negative, but mostly from fans thanking Juana Change for saying what's on their minds.

Fixer

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The woman behind Juana Change is actress Mae Paner, known for her work in theatre and in TV commercials. We decided to get to know the colourful actress beyond the wigs and the fun costumes, get her thoughts on politics, and get some scoop on her upcoming show, "365 Days to Change." First of all, who is Mae Paner? I'm a heavyweight at 260.5 lbs as of today! I'm a TV commercial director, the actress in the Boysen Paint Ad, and president of a post-production house. I can cook the best sinigang of any kind! I'm also in a wholesome but complicated relationship. The inevitable question: How did you come up with Juana Change? Out of our desperate attempt to get our countrymen to wake up to the harsh realities of our country. My dear director friend Sockie (Fernandez) suggested I play the role para walang bayad and put the videos on YouTube para libre. The scripts are written by Rody Vera and other writers. Is Juana Change simply a character you play, or do you really share her sentiments and opinions? Juana could not have done it with such conviction if Mae believed otherwise! Which issues in our country really, really make you mad? It has to be injustice and corruption, with special mention of GMA and her cohorts! What can you say about our politicians positioning themselves as the Philippines' Barack Obama? Ang kakakapal nila! The temerity to think they can make us believe they're the future Obamas of the Philippines!

Bayani

What can you say about the 2010 elections and the super-early campaigning going on? I believe the Filipino people are learning. They don't buy as much into the lies anymore. No itiks, padyaks, ganito kami sa amins will fool us! Why does it seem like the Filipino people aren't getting angry enough? They think nothing will change anyway, or they're waiting for a hero to make things right. Gusto si God na ang bahala! Habang may lotto may pagasa! Masarap ang magtiis! So what we can expect from "365 Days to Change"? Expect to have a grand time! Two hours of kurot sa puso, tayo ng balahibo, at tawanang nakakapaihi. And because political satire spares no one, expect a few punches in your gut na rin! When's your next video coming out? On the day of the concert, we will show the new video of Juana Change! When will Juana Change be satisfied? I just want to see you smiling and nodding during the show. At sa inyong pag-uwi, sasabihin n'yo sa sarili n'yo, "I Juana Change!"

Sta. Nina

365 Days to Change: Todo Na 'to! will be at Music Museum on May 11, 2009 at 8pm. For details, call 721-0635 or 721-7626. By Lynn Lopez

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