Prior to writing this blog post, I must confess: I had no idea who Kyle Patrick is. Which also goes without saying that I also wasn’t aware of the overwhelmingly popular pop band, The Click Five, of which Kyle Patrick is the lead singer.
To his mass of adoring fans in Dumaguete and worldwide, I hope you won’t take my ignorance as an affront. I am, after all, approaching my mid-30’s. I have long ago lost track of which pop bands are rocking the teenagers’ world nowadays. The last pop band I was crazy about was NKOTB (that’s New Kids On The Block for you kiddos). That was ages ago. They’re not so new anymore.
Going back to Kyle Patrick: My mid-30’s self found herself wandering into Freedom Park (which is just a stone’s throw away from our office) last Friday night at around 6:30 p.m.
Kyle Patrick was going to join other artists on the park stage that night for a free concert for a cause – to stop human trafficking. The concert was scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m., but you know how these things work. Concerts don’t start that early, nor do they begin on time.
But the park was already filled with giddy teenagers as early as 6:00 pm. Mostly starry-eyed females. I could almost taste the excitement in the air. Most were already seated on the grass in front of the stage, watching some preliminary videos on the huge AV screens. Once in a while, excited screams and laughter would break out.
On the other side of the park, a long line of teens led to a booth where ballers with anti-trafficking messages were being given away.
There was also a photo booth where concert-goers can show their support for the anti-trafficking campaign by having their pictures taken holding speech bubble placards with advocacy messages colorfully scrawled on them.
I spotted some of the people I knew from Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc., (one of the main NGOs that arranged the free concert). Since I couldn’t stay long (a teenybopper concert really isn’t the kind of scene for a 30-something on a Friday night), I managed to wrangle a brief interview with Marlene Pepino of VF, who told me that Kyle Patrick waived his talent fee to sing onstage in Dumaguete that night.
“We were very happy when he (Kyle) expressed interest to join our free concert in Dumaguete for the anti-trafficking campaign. Visayan Forum covered his fare and accommodation. He already waived his talent fee for this,” said Pepino.
It seems that Kyle has long been supporting the cause to end human trafficking. According to his Wiki page, he is a celebrity ambassador with MTV Exit and has sung in countries like Cambodia and Thailand to generate awareness about human trafficking.
The Visayan Forum has conducted roadshow concerts across the nation for their advocacy, but this is the first and only concert (so far) where Kyle Patrick will appear in.
The teenagers in Dumaguete are very, very lucky.
The Visayan Forum is targeting the youth in their anti-trafficking drive since most they are most vulnerable to fall prey to slavery and human trafficking. “In order to attract the attention of the youth, we hope to deliver our message through music,” said Marlene.
It’s because the young people are easily lured with false promises of easy and big money in big cities. Their awareness level of the monsters that wait for them once they are hired by illegal recruiters is still very low. So the Visayan Forum is hoping to make them more aware about this issue by interspersing anti-trafficking education in activities that appeal to them, like concerts.
It’s such a noble thing what Kyle is doing for this cause. I hope more artists, local and international, would follow what this teen sensation is doing. The issue of human trafficking needs to be in the spotlight more often to shed light on how it’s shattering the lives of young people living in remote villages in the countryside.
It’s too bad that I wasn’t able to stay long enough to see Kyle perform onstage (hence, no pictures of him in this post.) Sorry, Kyle, but this gal is just too old to handle the ear-shattering shrieks that I know filled the air once you stepped out onstage!
Photos of the Traffick Jam in Dumaguete on the Facebook page of Movement of Anti-Trafficking Advocates (MATA).