Monday, August 6, 2007

Filipino Respondents

It is not new for a number of people around the world to sign up for studies and surveys to earn a little cash. In the Philippines however, a similar practice is taking a slightly unconventional turn.

Two days ago I had a chance to watch Jessica Soho’s show on Philippine television. One of her features was about how some Filipino individuals, families and entire neighborhoods consent to becoming prospects or respondents. This is not anything like American controlled-double-blind-placebo stuff kind of studies. Prospects here in the Philippines allow their teeth to be extracted by dentistry students and their faces to be exorcised of acne by neophyte aestheticians. Some use different kinds of whitening lotions on each of their arms to see which brand is more effective. One respondent lost all her teeth and is now a respondent recruiter. She performs the task with great alacrity for less than half a dollar per recruited respondent.

There is nothing really inherently wrong about this kind of practice. Sadly though, it is another picture of how much people have been pushed to desperation. While officials entertain ASEAN foreign dignitaries to a culinary extravaganza that probably cost millions, people who practically live in hovels subsist on pennies that they earn by losing all their teeth, having their faces practiced on and coloring their arms differently.

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