MANILA, Philippines – When Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. declared his presidential candidacy on October 6, Vice President Leni Robredo announced his own candidacy the next day – and many K-pop “stans”, or staunch fans of Korean pop, were also prompted that day to organize the KpopStans4Leni social media group on Facebook.
These stans were basically against Bongbong and for everything he seemed to stand for – as the namesake and only son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Returns are a familiar trend among K-pop artists, but it was a comeback that K-pop stans in this particular circle didn’t want.
“We already know how to mobilize en masse on the internet,” said Majo, 27, one of the internet users behind the group. (Most of the people interviewed in this story asked to be identified only by their first name.)
“We just align it [to] countryside. We have the experience and familiarity with the tools, âshe said.
“Everything is political”
KpopStans4Leni immediately attracted 1,000 subscribers when it launched on October 7th. The numbers continue to climb and on Twitter, the group now has 5,000 subscribers.
Other stans followed suit, rallying to challenge disinformation online, as they called it, and also promote voter education. Suddenly, these stans have become a political force in their own right.
For CJ, KpopStans4Leni volunteer, âeverything is political. Before even being a fan, you are first and foremost a Filipino.
K-pop stars themselves have been involved in politics, or at least some issues, with armies of their fans organized to rally to particular pleas, to the beat of their dance-crazy music.
So elsewhere, like in this country, entertainment can turn to politics. “We don’t recognize it widely, but our fan culture is political in many ways,” said sociologist Athena Presto, who further cited the “need” among young people “to be politically active to pursue their interests. , whether participating in fandoms or in the pursuit of their hobbies.
Fandoms, said Presto, âhave enormous potential to advance advocacy and political causes because the line between entertainment and politics [is] already unclear in the Philippines.
“States of mind”
Of course, not all stans are inclined to politics. âSome of them would say I became a fan for fun and being political is not fun,â said Bella, who created the âLet’s Talk BTS!â Online discussion group. – inspired by the world famous K-pop group. “But we weren’t asking them to accept anything,” she explained.
Yet, in a Facebook post, Bella also reminded members of the group that “to reject politics or turn a blind eye to social issues is to reject the very essence of BTS.”
Journalist and novelist Purple Romero said people like her can help challenge “old prejudices” and “states of mind.”
“So if they can be strategic in that way and engage people, then I can probably do it: get people who are willing to listen, to learn and to share what they know,” she said. declared.
This was the impetus behind his online Twitter forum called “Eleksyonisms,” which is now in its fifth installment since its launch in September.
His goal, Romero said, “is to show people that they have the potential to change the fate of the upcoming elections” by discussing candidate platforms and actually showing up at polling stations.
âYou would be surprised how many are politically aware,â she said. “You can’t just classify [stans as] ardent admirers of people they barely know. To be a fan is to care about what happens to society as a whole. “
Calls to action
Since launching KpopStans4Leni, the group has been promoting Robredo’s background and platforms and posting pink and white calls to action on people’s timelines.
Majo said the group was ready to go on the offensive by hijacking hashtags that defame Robredo or whitewash the facts about martial law to portray the Marcos in a better light.
Some of the group’s current campaign hashtags include #MassReportHour – which reports fake news, posts, videos and tweets every day at 8:00 p.m. – and #LeniSelcaDay, through which they post photos of themselves in Robredo’s signature pink. They also shared documents on its platforms and career milestones.
Some volunteers like Ed bring their own advocacy, like fighting fake news promoting the Marcos.
âMany of my fellow Boholanos still believe, for example, in the existence of Tallano’s gold,â he said, referring to a story that Marcos was paid in gold by a royal family for having been a lawyer for them. âSo I really want to do my part. I believe that as long as [Filipinos] learn the truth, they will be encouraged to discern what is right, âhe said.
But the Stan community is aware that it has a long way to go as a young collective in politics.
âWe are still testing the waters of what we can do further,â said Majo.
It has been said, of course, that a lot is at stake for young people – who are still the predominant demographic group in all databases released by the Election Commission during elections, but not monolithic, unlike regional, religious electoral blocs. and others, eg.
K-pop stans already involved in the 2022 political race are urging more stans to join their cause, or at least, as CJ put it, to convince them to “research the … candidates, … know their platforms , know their priorities and what they can bring to the country.
She said the choice is simple: a better government, a better response to the pandemic and a better chance for the economy to recover.
âIf a vote means a lot during K-pop comeback season, it’s even truer in national elections,â CJ said.
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