Society killed Marlou.
Yes, Marlou Arizala is dead, and society is responsible for it.
It was in 2015 when the guy first went viral on the Internet, along with his group Hasht5, as their photos and videos circulated the Web. The reason for their sudden fame, however wasn’t because of good publicity. In fact, they were ruthlessly bashed and called many names. One of them stood out from the gang.
Marlou — with his bright red hair, his dark skin, and his face that people would soon exploit on memes and funny posts.
I would admit that at first, I myself also took a swipe at the guy because of his braggadocio and his rather uncommon facial features. But after watching an interview with them a couple of years ago, what I saw Was a young guy with an unrelenting drive to reach for his dreams, and a person who was trying to hide his insecurities by creating a strong facade.
The growing hatred for the guy was the inception of a grand scheme to assassinate the man — his character, his dreams, his ambitions.
Society killed Marlou.
His Facebook posts would always elicit hate comments from people who had nothing better to do. He would be the subject of online ridicules and cursing from people who wished him dead. Yes, others would even go as far as to tell him to just kill himself.
Society eventually succeeded in killing the young man.
Last night, his transformation from Marlou to Xander Ford has finally been unveiled on national TV. And the Internet exploded with posts and tweets about his new identity, garnering mixed reactions from netizens.
Finally, people have something good to say about Marlou, albeit skin-deep and superficial.
The people’s reactions reveal the kind of society we live in. They show that people’s respect for one another is based on how one looks, what he wears, or what his skin color is. Society has forced Marlou to grab the opportunity to change what people hated about him. He was made to believe that his worth and identity will improve greatly if his face and his name would change. Marlou was forced to leave his old self — even if it’s just the face that changed — if that’s the only way to escape the razor sharp criticisms that he has probably grown tired of.
“Matagal ko nang pangarap ‘to, ang maging guwapo,” he would say, which actually reads, “Matagal ko nang pangarap ‘to, ang mahalin at tanggapin ng mga tao.”
Alas, when his new face was finally revealed, some even questioned why he couldn’t be content with what God has given him. I am pretty sure that he was perfectly fine with how he looked, until society turned him into a laughingstock.
We live in a bipolar, double-standard, hypocritical society. And we have permitted this culture of shame and bullying to permeate our collective minds and psyche.
Inside Out Transformation
What Marlou and all of us needed was not cosmetic surgery. What we all need is an inside-out transformation — a change that starts from within.
Beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive, the Bible says; making it an unwise basis for people’s worth and identity.
If only someone had told Marlou that his worth as a person is not based on his outward appearance, but on his inherent value as a human being — created in the likeness and image of his Maker. If only he was told that the opinions of people about him don’t diminish his value as a person; because to the One who sees the heart, he will always be fully pleasing. If only he was told that Somebody thinks he is so valuable that he was actually worth dying for, he would’ve embraced who he really was, and enjoyed his uniqueness as a person.
What Marlou needed wasn’t a name-change in order to change his identity. He needed a rebirth from the ashes. Changing his name from Marlou to Xander Ford will not erase his former identity. What will change his identity is when he exchanges his old life for the new life that Jesus offers. That if anyone is in Him, he is a new creation. The old will pass away, the new will come.
What Marlou and all of us needed is not a face surgery, but a heart transplant — the removal of the wicked, depraved heart and the placing of a new, clean heart.
Let us start spreading this message. Let us overcome society’s lies with the life-changing truth that we are deeply loved and fully pleasing, for we are fearfully and wonderfully made by our perfect Father in Heaven.