How to Spot a Bobotante: An Election Reflection
Over the years, the Philippines has been a breeding ground for a rare and endemic virus strain which can make everyone stupid.
The Bobotante Virus has been around the Philippines for more than 20 years, infecting thousands upon thousands of Filipinos from Luzon, Visayas to Mindanao. The reason for the strain remains unknown. It was speculated that it developed from the Agent Orange proliferation conducted by the US Army to end the Vietnam War, its aerial residue slowly drifting to the Philippines only to cause mild cognitive degenerative problems to the inhalants. Others say China has been behind this all along, like the rest of the typhoons and communist insurgents infiltrating the Philippines, its HAARP is set on destroying on southeast nations vying for the ownership of South China Sea (THE West Philippine Sea). A more probable theory is the widespread poverty which continues to infest the country simply cuts off the Filipinos’ ability to think and so, they continue to gorge themselves on the phantasmagorical worlds of teleseryes and variety shows to forget about their lack of access to nutrition and education. The strain easily spreads from one person to the next, especially if people live in shanties in a close-knitted communities or rural underdeveloped areas where P500 for every vote is considered normal if not eagerly anticipated.
The Bobotantus strain may sound harmless but its symptoms lie dormant for a long time, only to resurface in full throttle when the election comes. During this time, the Filipinos exhibit a kind of stupidity in which the whole world has never seen. The worst thing is that it may infect one person without even him knowing it, so it’s very crucial to recognize the signs especially before the actual voting. Here are just some of the recognized symptoms of BOBOtante Syndrome. If you recognize some of the symptoms as your own or to a friend/relative/loved one who’s going to vote, please refer to the statements found at the bottom of this page for further instructions.
SIGNS OF THE BOBOTANTE SYNDROME
1. A BOBOtante would always choose the patok na jeep because he/she craves to be with the larger crowd. Easily dazzled by the glamour and strange lightings and rap beat-box music, he/she rides on a patok na jeep even if there are already enough passengers inside to stage for the Guinness Book of Records of Most People Fit together in a Jeepney. Yes we all love the patok na jeep once in a while, but the BOBOtantes would go as far as having the same attitude in voting. For him/her, the majority is the winning side. For this, he/she will rely on survey ratings of suspicious institutions like SWS and Pulse Asia whose results remained eerily consistent throughout the election period. People also repeatedly complain that not even once in their fully-functioning lives have they been asked by these respective institutions.
2. A BOBOtante is someone who VOTES on-the-spot. Never mind the homework or research. Because of slow lapse on brain neurons, he/she can only derive memories from vague TV ads, campaign posters, commercials where the President Himself endorses the candidates and annoying campaign jingles.
3. A BOBOtante utilizes no strategy in voting. And by no means he/she will waste his/her votes to unpopular candidates. This is loosely related to entry number one. It is a game of popularity over platform. Para di masayang ang boto. Therefore, the BOBOtante is a pragmatic voter, only a little bit twisted in his/her beliefs.
4. A BOBOtant is easily captivated by the candidates’ names. Insert ‘anak of a former mayor’ here or ‘wife of a prominent senator’ there and the BOBOtante loses all major cognitive functions and casts his/her votes like a catatonic patient.
5. A BOBOtante is easily amused by dance numbers, slogans, taglines of no real basis, and candidates appearing as special guests for his/her favorite shows, no matter how inappropriate. As long as you can make him/her happy, their votes are on you.
6. A BOBOtante exhibits a strange kind of amnesia on the voting day where he/she conveniently forgets the achievements or even the misgivings of a certain candidate. He/she easily grows tired of recalling all the important issues surrounding a candidate and usually votes the first names he/she sees. Experts recommend strong and honest visual devices to be put up in all precincts showing the candidates’ history and advocacy for the BOBOtantes so they can be reminded again on who to vote and what for.
7. A BOBOtante is an emotional voter rather than a rational one. Campaign managers often tap this defect to solicit emotional appeal for the candidates so they can vote for their clients. This major symptom can be shown in the last Presidential Election 2010 where in the recent death of a former president and democratic icon, people urged her son to run for office despite his poor performance in governance back then. Still, the results of 2010 elections must not be blamed for the people who voted for him, BOBOtante or wise voter alike. There is sadly a lack of better candidates to begin with.
8. A BOBOtante abhors the thought of change and he/she carries this on voting. He/she avoids new candidates like a plague and often sticks to the names he/she is familiar with. He/she is perfectly content with re-electing mayors/governors/etc. even though his/her town is constantly submerged in floods or crime such as gang rapes, drug trafficking, snatching, etc. is almost a normal thing in the neighborhood. It was theorized that this symptom is derived from a behavioral and cultural aversion to taking risks on the underdogs or gambling over a new prospective candidate. Absurdly enough, the case is different when he/she is about to engage in regular gambling pastime such as BINGO, tong-its, Mahjong, Horse races, sabong and other money-related activities.
9. As much as it is easy to get a BOBOtante’s vote, it is amusing to note that he/she will complain about the officials they voted years or months after the election. For him/her, it is perfectly a natural mechanism to blame the ones in government even if he/she is the one who put those officials there. Researchers are in the midst of dissecting through a psychological angle on this queer behavior but because of the lack of neuro-psychological facilities and research studies, they have so far come up with nothing.
10. A BOBOtante naively votes and expects the government to help him/her as much as possible without changing him/herself for the better. He/She will continue to live a mediocre life without monitoring the performance of the leaders he/she elected, whether they came true to their promises or not. As such, the BOBOtante has a narrowed view of what you call democracy. They fail to understand that democracy isn’t about freedom, but of accountability. And that sense of accountability starts with their votes. By not living up to the responsibility as the citizen of the state, they will continue to suffer and wallow under this form of governance for years to come while they are slowly being eaten by the virus.
At present, there is no immediate cure for the strain and it can only be remedied through continuous exposure to education and literature. Sadly most of Filipinos are out-of-school and can only rely on traditional media and hearsay as basis for the selection of their leaders. They lack any available means to identify their candidates properly and the virus will remain to take hold of them until who knows when.
Anyone who finds him/herself infected with the symptoms mentioned above should:
(1) Recognize the importance of the elections and how their vote matters to the future of the country
(2) Start to think critically and fastidiously for the candidates they will vote. They must squash the urge to vote out of emotion and use their brains for a change.
(3) Be vigilant of the electoral processes and have courage to report any violation/vote buying in his/her communities
(4) Start to think about the future of his/her children for the actions of these leaders will affect the lives of the new generation
(5) Make a list of candidates prior to the election. Constant reviewing and revisions of candidates may lead to a good set of leaders.
(6) Treat the elections as something as serious as taking up an examination. He/She must avoid cutting classes (skipping the elections)
(7) Not be a ningas-cogon and forget about this message on the actual voting.
(8) Be part of the change of this country. Democracy is about having to participate for the well-being of this country. He/She must remember the word scheme: With Participation comes Responsibility build upon Accountability as a citizen of this nation.
So what are you waiting for? Will you forever remain a BOBOtante?
Photo courtesy of: Thinking Class of the Philippines https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thinking-Class-of-the-Philippines/375179605892585?id=375179605892585&sk=photos_stream
Posted on May 6, 2013, in Filipino, It's More Fun in the Philippines, My country, rant, reflections and tagged 2013, BOBOtante, Elections, Filipino Voters, May 13, Philippines, Voting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.