By: Purple Romero
On her twenty first birthday, a Filipina fan of Ok-Pop teams BTS and Mamamoo who gave her title as Len signed as much as volunteer for a bunch fashioned on the identical day – referred to as “KPOP STANS 4 LENI” to marketing campaign for presidential contender Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo.
“I volunteered as a result of in the present day is my birthday and Leni has given me a present by working,” she stated. “I wish to assist make a change to the nation, judging from the presidential candidates, Leni is the very best candidate in comparison with everybody else.” Robredo is up towards a formidable scrum of contenders together with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., massively widespread boxer Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Panfilo Lacson, and 93 others of various gravitas.
She and the 365-odd different members of KPOP STANS FOR LENI have thus joined a curious worldwide nexus of politics and Korean pop music. If that sounds unusual, it’s a phenomenon that has prolonged so far as Kansas Metropolis in the USA, the place on June 19, 2020, 1000’s of Ok-Pop followers famously disrupted a rally by President Donald Trump by reserving seats on the occasion and leaving the seats empty, ruining the president’s greatest post-Covid-19 rally and outraging him towards his marketing campaign workers. Among the best-known Ok-Pop controversies — starring Taiwanese member Chou Tzuyu of South Korean Ok-Pop woman group TWICE — highlighted the “One China” battle between mainland China and Taiwan, setting off a furor in China
It’s unsure how Ok-Pop and politics met. However these “stans,” ardent Ok-pop followers are identified, quantity within the tens of millions for various teams, each within the US and past, now together with the Philippines, in numbers large enough to be a magnet for publications like Time Journal and Wired. With tens of 1000’s of Koreans dwelling and dealing within the Philippines, and a whole lot of 1000’s – till Covid-19 – coming for prolonged stays, Ok-Pop has made the island nation house.
A working pupil and a contract graphic designer and author, Len stated she may help contribute to the group by creating publicity supplies. She is simply one of many volunteers who joined the decision of KPOP STANS 4 LENI, which was fashioned on Oct.7, the day Robredo introduced she would run for president in nationwide elections due in 2022.
Ok-pop, which emerged from Korea within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, is peculiarly oriented towards this type of politicking as a result of from the beginning it explicitly relied on the web and social media and the cultivation of fandom, social scientists say.
“Why don’t we make the most of that ability [in making things trend], our personal platforms as Ok-Pop stans to advertise a candidate who we all know will uphold our rules?” requested a stan who gave her title as Ai.
The group, she stated, will thus make use of tried-and-tested methods in selling their idols — they plan a cup sleeves occasion, which followers use to have a good time the birthdays or accomplishments of their favourite artists by having their faces printed on designed sleeves positioned on drinks at chosen cafe venues. Additionally they intend to make photograph playing cards and edit fancams, the instruments which have helped catapult their idols to the highest of the trending lists.
Other than this, nonetheless, KPOP STANS 4, Leni says, additionally goals to counter disinformation on TikTok, Fb, and Twitter, which they stated have been a hotbed of “pretend information.”
Majo, a kind of who based the group, stated this got here within the type of “both historic revisionism, or all these superlatives, that are however a joke time,” pertaining to how Tiktok movies, for one, undermined the abuses and human rights violations dedicated beneath martial legislation in the course of the time period of then-president Ferdinand Marcos, whereas additionally praising the interval of his rule because the nation’s “Golden Years.”
On October 12, the group called for mass publicity of so-called troll accounts which put up disinformation. One other Ok-Pop stan, in the meantime, proposed that followers counter the unfold of disinformation by additionally reporting accounts on Fb and Twitter.
A younger lady nicknamed Mayora, a pseudonym that means feminine mayor, a fan of the Ok-Pop woman teams Women’ Technology and Pink Velvet, stated that if followers can block and report accounts which troll and lambast their idols, then they’ll additionally do the identical to scale back election-related disinformation.
“Ok-Pop followers dedicate their time defending their idols by reporting pretend and hate tweets – that made me notice that perhaps, with sufficient encouragement and the best avenue, we might assist win the combat towards disinformation,” she stated. She has helped to arrange voter schooling discussions amongst numerous Ok-Pop fandoms.
Utilizing KPOP fandoms as marketing campaign automobiles may be contentious, nonetheless. Not each Ok-Pop fan is snug with having on-line areas initially created for stanning similar to accounts on Twitter getting used as platforms for discussing politics.
“There are some followers who wish to simply stan the teams only for enjoyable however after all there are followers who flip every thing political. The unhappy half is Ok-Pop serves as a type of respite for some, however they’ve been labeled as “privileged,” which hurts since politics is poisonous and really annoying. Some are making political consciousness and their stance as their character already,” she defined.
It’s a difficult steadiness. ARMY BAYANIHAN, a stan account for Filipino followers of the worldwide phenomenon BTS, initially stated in June they wouldn’t again any political candidate or group after they urged ARMYs to register for the 2022 elections. However when Robredo filed as an impartial contender, they modified their profile photograph on Twitter to what seemed like a pink lightstick, Robredo’s marketing campaign shade, a departure from the yellow motif for her 2016 marketing campaign as a Liberal Social gathering candidate.
The stan account group, which has over 6,000 followers, added that their help for Robredo is extra seen of their particular person private accounts. ARMY BAYANIHAN consists of a core group of younger professionals of their 20s, whereas they’ve volunteers who’re of their 40s too. One other Military stan account, Project0613PH, additionally believes that endorsements and promotions of sure candidates may be finished extra on a person foundation.
The nuanced present of help for political candidates and the circumspect navigating that include it stem not simply from the truth that some stans are extra snug with protecting on-line fan accounts as platforms for discussing the actions and songs of their idols, but in addition from the consideration that they are not looking for politics per se to be linked with their idols.
Noelle Duterte, niece of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte however a vocal supporter of Robredo, is an ARMY who is aware of the ability and capability of stans like her to mobilize for causes which BTS additionally help too. Partisan politics, nonetheless, she stated, is the place they draw the road.
“For probably the most half, ARMYs are likely to avoid partisan politics, and help common advocacies similar to human rights and gender equality, ending poverty, the local weather disaster, even encouraging vaccinations like JHope did on the UN. Unsure how being ARMY may be useful within the PH elections, particularly since something ARMYs do will ultimately mirror on BTS. I wouldn’t wish to do something that might damage BTS,” she instructed Vice in a Fb non-public message on Oct. 2.
What’s extra becoming, she believes, may be voter schooling, because it’s extra aligned with the stance of BTS too.
“I feel voter schooling — why it’s essential and what this implies for the nation’s future — is suitable as an advocacy. Collaborating in civic actions is in step with the BTS message of being a voice for his or her era.”
Each Project0613PH and KPOP Stans 4 LENI have gotten some unfavourable reactions – when Project0163PH’s put up about voter registration was retweeted by Jose Manuel ‘Chel’ Diokno, a former senatorial candidate beneath the Liberal Social gathering (he’s working once more in 2022), they had been accused of being “used” by the candidate. “How a lot had been you paid to do that?” some netizens requested.
However the Ok-Pop stans stated these accusations and criticisms received’t cease them. “I’m a KPOP fan however I’m additionally a Filipino citzen,” Aila from KPOP STANS 4 LENI stated. “Why can’t we use this as a platform to really care about our nation?”