To be credible, you need to be consistent. And if one is forced to use only one word to describe GetRealPhilippines.com I’d choose this one: consistency. Whether it be in politics or in day-to-day living, we are consistent in our drive to get Filipinos focused on the singular key to a successful life: thinking things through. Because a deficit in thinking remains the single biggest roadblock to change in Philippine society, GRP and its message has remained relevant for the past 13 years.
Are our self-styled “activists” helping?
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Filipinos are amongst the most brand-crazy of consumers on the planet. They are also the most form-conscious and substance-blind of the lot. This is why the Philippines is a brand manager’s wet dream. In the Philippines, logos on products are extra big and extra bright in colour. This is because for the average Filipino consumer the brand is the whole point of the average discretionary purchase. Compare the same make of car sold, say, in Australia and those sold in Manila. You will find, on the average, that the ones sold in Manila come standard with extra fittings of chrome on their bumpers and wheel well edges and are adorned with a bit more faux wood paneling in their interiors.
That’s the Filipino for you. To consider the Filipino voter’s predisposition to vote morons into Congress on the basis of bright-coloured posters and idiotic slogans as the problem to end all reveals an incomplete understanding of the deeper, more fundamental flaw in the typical Pinoy’s thinking faculties. Indeed the Filipinos’ addiction to the “traditional politician” or trapo, thought of as the scourge of Philippine politics, is mirrored by their purchasing habits.
Nielsenâ€™s annual Philippines Shopper Trends Report showed 9 in 10 Filipinos prepare shopping lists before they do their grocery shopping, but 7 in 10 shoppers do not stick to the lists despite strict budgets.
Stuart Jamieson, managing director of Nielsen Philippines, said this shows Filipinos can be easily persuaded to stray from their shopping list when they get to the supermarket.
“Our study clearly identified that the Filipino shopper has the best intention when they leave home but unfortunately when they get to the supermarket, they get persuaded by all the manufacturers’ opportunities. That’s why 7 out of 10 consumers don’t follow their shopping lists,” he told ANC.
One then shouldn’t be surprised if on one hand, supposedly “enlightened” Pinoys would loudly proclaim to harbour the “best intentions” when trooping to the polling precincts to cast their ballot and then see in the results in the aftermath of the counting the same bozos flashing the victory salute.
So in light of all the noise being made about “survey firms” being used as tools by the powers-that-be to play their mind games on the hapless Filipino voters, perhaps stop and consider that such “tools” are really double-edged swords. After all, the emotional context of responding to a “survey” is vastly different from the context surrounding the act of ticking the boxes on a ballot on election day — just like those once-popular “taste tests” have been proven to be weak predictors of actual purchasing inclinations. It is likely that these SWS and Pulse Asia “surveys” are hoodwinking both the voters and their financiers equally. In the end fools are parted from their money and the truly cluey ones are the ones laughing all the way to the bank.
So back to the original question: Have our self-styled “activists” really stepped up to intelligently addressing the real issue underlying the whole notion of “voter education”?
Quite disappointing, actually. Consider the way some bloggers, on one hand, push Filipino voters to focus on “platforms” and understand what their polticians stand for in essence then on another stream in their “social media operations” plug a cornucopia of product brands, many of them non-essential to leading a reasonably fulfilling life.
What’s up with that?
How can one be a credible advocate of making smart choices in politics and encourage idiocy when it comes to making purchasing decisions?
Look no further than the way self-proclaimed “social media” authority Rappler.com embodies this laughable inconsistency…
So much for being the hip bunch of grassroots activists marching under the banner of â€œcitizen journalismâ€. Next time your SMART service disappoints, letâ€™s see if news about that breaks from within the Rappler.com â€œfamilyâ€ of citizen-cum-online â€œjournalistsâ€.
I donâ€™t think Noam Chomsky would approve.
Fact is, for the average Filipino, making the right choices with how they spend their money has a more profound and direct impact on their personal wellbeing than choosing the right bozo on which to hang the title of “Senator”. As such, our renowned “social media practitioners” fail when it comes to “educating” their followers where it is most relevant.
A change in mindset in this regard therefore cannot be domain-specific. The cancer of dysfunctional thinking that Pinoys are world-renowned for cannot be addressed within a narrow field of endeavour. It should be addressed at the deepest cultural level. Thinking when buying stuff mirrors thinking when voting for leaders. Different domains, same dysfunctional brain. The solutions are obvious.
And that, folks, is why GRP is the only real repository of true insight that one can consistently rely on when it comes to the real issues that plague the Philippines. It is because we evaluate things from the bottom up and regard current events as mere emergent properties of the small handful of fundamental dynamics that make up the Pinoy psyche.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.