When in Manila, we appreciate a good sense of humor. People crack jokes even about serious matters. News articles would merit teasing comments, including witty one-liners or memes whose origins we can rarely track.
A meme that gone viral is that of “Ms. Nene,” which even has a Facebook page. Perhaps it’s her huge and contagious smile that makes a funny story even funnier. Because of the captions and jokes that have accompanied her photo, people have come to know her even more and associate different anecdotes to her.
Recently, an article claiming that the girl in this photo has already been dead for two years circulated online. An episode of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho disproved this when they tracked her down to interview her. It all started when Mr. Eduard M. Riparip, the girl’s teacher, posted about her on his Facebook account.
Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho revealed more about her story. Her real name is Mariel Villegas. She is an English major and is descrbed by her teacher as “intelligent, diligent, and creative.” Mariel graduated salutatorian in high school and is now a scholar in college. She has been a consistent honor student from elementary.
She narrated how the now viral photo was taken way back in 2010 and was uploaded by a friend. She and her friends all laughed it off at first. She didn’t mind her friend uploading it on Facebook, because she saw it as a way to commemorate memories of her childhood.
There were a lot of judgemental posts making fun of her. But what was “below the belt” for her was an article claiming she already passed away. As an English major, the first thing she noticed about the article was its headline, “This Girl is already passed away 2 years ago.”
She read comments of people being guilty for making fun of a dead girl. But for her, it wasn’t right to bully in the first place–regardless of whether she was dead or alive.
She acknowledged that there’s not much she could do because of how powerful the Internet is. She woudln’t be able to stop the spreading of her photos either way. But she chooses not to be affected by these, especially now that she is about to become a mother.
For her, the brighter side of the whole experience being able to make others laugh.
You could watch her interview in the video below:
What about you? What do you think of this? Would you consider her experience a form of cyber bullying, or simply good clean fun? Have you ever laughed at any of the memes bearing her face?