Not Taylor-made

DEMAND AND SUPPLY - Boo Chanco - The Philippine Star

Can’t figure out why my friend, Cong. Joey Salceda made an international embarrassment of himself by criticizing Singapore for monopolizing the Taylor Swift concert in Southeast Asia.

Sounds like pure sour graping – so unlike the intellectually sensible Cong. Joey we know.

Cong Joey is just one in a handful of representatives who are intellectually capable of doing something significant to address the dire state of our country and our people. He has front loaded some key initiatives that have started to make the House look like the better chamber. I guess the usually inane speeches in the chamber are boring Cong. Joey. So, the 60ish bachelor congressman decided to sound Millennial, Gen X, Y or Z by taking the cudgels for frustrated Pinoy Swifties.

Pero naman, Cong. Joey. You of all people should know we cannot handle Taylor Swift’s concert. It is not just a problem of venue but access to the venue. A concert venue must be accessible via mass transit. Neither MOA nor Philippine Arena are.

Perhaps MOA and the Philippine Arena can be forced to accommodate record crowds beyond their capacity but how do the fans go to and leave the venue? Some weeks ago, BBM had to be airlifted to the Philippine Arena in Bulacan for the Coldplay concert.

This was widely criticized on social media because ordinary folks suffered hours of madness trying to get to the venue and go home after.

Yun nga lang mga Popes, we have to declare a public holiday when they visit. It was so bad that Duterte cursed one Pope for causing traffic mayhem in Metro Manila.

But we should blame our politicians for failure to address NCR’s horrible lack of ability to move people in normal times. What more if a celebrity like Taylor Swift comes around?

Singapore, on the other hand, is Taylor-made for Ms. Swift. They have adequate road infrastructure and venues that could accommodate sell-out crowds. They are also naturally disciplined to assure fewer headaches for security.

The Singaporeans didn’t have to give the token amount for exclusivity because the handlers of Ms. Swift would know soon enough Singapore is the only place they want to be in.

With tickets at prices unheard of, only the truly rich could afford attending the concert. And they could afford a short hop to Singapore. Last I heard, Filipinos topped the list of foreigners who bought a package of concert ticket plus hotel.

I was in the US when the Korean pop group BTS held a concert in Los Angeles. Pinoys from Manila filled up PAL flights which was difficult to do then because of COVID-19. Manila couldn’t have handled a BTS concert then and not even today. Same reason: inadequate infrastructure.

Cong. Joey, the economist, must have been salivating about the shot in the arm our GNP could get from a Swift concert. She has single-handedly boosted the economies of every city her Eras tour visited.

But Singapore’s Channel News Asia reports mixed business results at the micro level. High-end establishments experienced a decline in sales. A sharp 80 percent fall in business was observed by staff members at high-end restaurants next to the stadium.

Many regular customers cancelled bookings upon hearing about Swift’s Eras Tour, having anticipated the large crowds and difficulties in parking. Most of the concertgoers are younger and do not have the spending power to dine at a seafood restaurant before or after the concert.

On the other hand, cheaper hawker fare was a hit among the younger concertgoers.

Food stalls at My Kampung food court at Kallang Wave Mall saw an increase in sales that they have never seen before. But for the three bars at Kallang Wave Mall, business was slower than they expected.

Our handling will likely be chaotic because of inadequate infrastructure causing the international perception the country could suffer and causing a negative externality that our tourism sector must bear.

But if we want to run this kind of event, we have to roll up our sleeves to make that happen.

Let’s start with Clark. It is a good venue for special events like this. It is far away from NCR to affect flow of business in the nation’s business center. There is a train system with easy access that’s being built. And foreign visitors can fly directly to Clark and not worsen the crowding at the already clogged NAIA.

The sports venue built for the SEA Games at Clark can be upgraded to handle other events like concerts. We have to shoo away events that attract huge numbers of people to Manila to protect the sanity of guests and residents alike.

So, Cong. Joey, don’t sound like a frustrated teenybopper fan accusing Singapore of being an unfriendly neighbor.

Far from being unfriendly, Singapore is the Philippines’ top source of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, with investments in key sectors including renewable energy (RE), infrastructure, healthcare, manufacturing and information and communications technology (ICT). It is also the Philippines’ seventh largest trading partner globally, fifth largest export market, and sixth largest import supplier.

Actually, Cong. Joey has better things to do to relieve boredom…like prodding DOTr to fast track the Bicol Express. It is one infrastructure Bicol badly needs and may fall through the cracks for lack of funding.

As for the Taylor Swift and similar concerts, we simply are not Taylor-made for those now.

Boo Chanco’s email is bchanco@gmail. com. Follow him on X or Twitter @boochanco

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with