THAT THE Philippine media usually fail to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality in science fiction (sci-fi) tells so much of the country’s appreciation of the sciences.

The genre of science fiction is a hit among people who are fond of stories dealing with futuristic technology, DNA mutation, cloning, virus infection and zombie apocalypse as revolving themes. It is true that such story arcs, coupled with advanced cinematography and state of the art ensemble of visual and sound effects (in the case of cinema), really are attention grabbers.

Meanwhile, scientific concepts once regarded as fiction and existed only in movies and novels, are starting to materialize in highly equipped laboratories around the world—when experts digressed from the traditional ways of “doing” science and entered the era of molecular biology—where they play with genes and proteins to probe on the unfathomable complexities of life.

Sci-fi movies and television shows seem to entice a large number of viewers, including Filipinos, in a similar fashion as classic fantasy stories. The only difference is that the plot in most of these science-themed programs presents scenarios in a realistic manner, based on factual and realistic principles.

However, the Philippine media seem to be having trouble conveying accurate scientific principles in their television shows or movies to their audiences.

It probably owes to the Filipino’s general lack of interest in science. In terms of entertainment, they usually prefer dramas with themes of infidelity, vengeance, violence, complicated family set ups and anything but science-related themes.

But occasionally, primetime soap operas inject some science in their plots, but in these rare instances scientific truths are often distorted or riddled with inaccuracies. Of course the oft-repeated complaint about Filipino movie and television dramas is that they have badly written scripts. In this, part of the reason they’re badly written is that they’re badly researched. (That is, if research is done at all.)

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This is the point when writers fall short in telling their tales and bring nothing but confusion to common people who do not have inclination toward the sciences. Instead of introducing existing scientific discoveries and possibilities to the public, they present viewers with dim-witted plots.

Unlike in the Philippines, people in developed countries, such as the United States, are well-inclined toward the sciences—the reason why sci-fi shows are logically written and well-orchestrated so as not to draw much criticisms from the viewers.

In print media, the readership of science magazines in the country is not as high as compared to consumers of lifestyle and showbiz magazines.

While the Department of Science and Technology publishes a quarterly magazine about recent updates in science and technology in the Philippines titled S&T Post, no magazine is really dedicated and sold to Filipino consumers like Scientific American and National Geographic.

It is also unlikely that Filipinos will patronize a science magazine, given that many of us prefer to read issues about our favorite celebrities rather than the latest advances in science and technology that may help the country’s development.

In short, the Philippines just does not appreciate science and technology more than it should.

Fortunately, the Commission on Higher Education identified “priority courses” that our industry needs in the coming years, some of which are science courses. Similarly, the schools adopted the K to 12 education system, aiming to reinforce science and technology education among the students.

In this lawyer-dominated society, it is about time for us Filipinos to appreciate more science and technology which may actually benefit us rather than sticking our noses to celebrities’ business. Otherwise, we may not be living up to the label “developing country.”

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