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K-pop fans vs Duterte’s Philippines: Why young voters want change

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11.10.2021

Filipino K-pop fans are more politically discerning than you might think.

Our capacity to mobilise, strategise and mount campaigns are crucial for sparking voter education and triggering discussions to help young people realise how much power they hold in influencing not just the outcome of the 2022 presidential election, but also the future of the Philippines.

Just as K-pop stans (super fans) like myself mobilise to vote for our favourite idols – be they solo artists or members of a group – to win music contests, we can also marshal other stans to register and vote.

As one 22-year-old Filipino graphic artist and K-pop fan tweeted in early September: “If you can vote for your idols, you should also vote for your country too.”

She had participated in an online voter education session which I co-organised to discuss with young people why they should vote and convince others to vote in the May 2022 election.

Mayora, my co-organiser, and I call these sessions #Eleksyonisms, a term which combines the Filipino word for elections (eleksyon) and the suffix -isms, used by Filipino millennials as a playful way to describe a state of mind, circumstance or situation.

We believe that it makes sense to enlist fans in voter education. Today, more than half of registered voters are young and K-pop stans tend to be young.

The online presence of Filipino stans is significant – the Philippines ranked fifth for unique users discussing K-pop on Twitter in 2020 and fourth when it came to tweet volume, after Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and the United States, where K-pop stans claimed to have hijacked a Donald Trump campaign rally in 2020 to engineer a low turnout.

If stans in the US were able to do that, then in the Philippines, fury and discontent with the poor response of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s government to the coronavirus pandemic and the brutal........

© Al Jazeera


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