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Comment | Looking at the elderly in a different angle

Ageing, for us, has been a process we hardly paid attention to, as we were always occupied with our job, making a living, not even aware that the years had overtaken us. Until recently when this TV Ad sent a jolt to our senses every time the product endorser would say “Naku, mukha na akong matanda!” (Oh my, I look so old!), as if the looks of being old was such a disgrace.

This scripted advertisement has led us to thinking what is meant by ‘matanda’ seeing how distressed the lady endorser looked in that commercial, as if ageing was a dreaded disease!

Could it mean that at my age of seventy-seven and the rest who are above sixty years old are looking like “old hags” portrayed in the old children’s books we read in grade school?

I don’t think we are being over-sensitive in this aspect, but does this generation of scriptwriters think that the seniors who are now told to stay home in this pandemic are all wrinkled and useless?

Maybe with that kind of TV Ad the image of being ‘matanda’ carries with it so much fear of ageing, let alone the growing discrimination for the elderly and the conclusion that we are no longer productive to society.

So many doubts have crossed our mind because of this TV commercial being aired very often. I am grateful to a friend, Isabelita Solamo Antonio, who also happens to contribute a column occasionally for the Mindanao Times, sent her comment on Facebook about Oscar –winning actor, 85-year year-old Judi Dench, the oldest person ever to be featured on the cover of British Vogue on its June issue. The fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Eninful hailed her as “one of the nation’s most beloved citizens” in an instagram post. Thank you, Bel, for this.

No, this observation is not paranoia. Nor are we overreacting. We are just concerned about how most young people regard seniors these days. Maybe a testimonial regarding the product can convince viewers of the benefits derived from this particular product or its effectiveness. But to express dismay over a woman who looks ‘matanda’ at a young age is difficult to accept as far as we are concerned.

We do not deny that our looks have changed with time. But a mere TV commercial is not reason enough to treat us with disrespect.

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