You cannot ‘educate’ Filipinos to vote wisely while encouraging them to buy stupidly

filipino_brand_loyaltyTo be credible, you need to be consistent. And if one is forced to use only one word to describe 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?

Ating alamin.

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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.

Nielsen’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 embodies this laughable inconsistency


Corporate sponsorship.

So much for being the hip bunch of grassroots activists marching under the banner of “citizen journalism”. Next time your SMART service disappoints, let’s see if news about that breaks from within the “family” of citizen-cum-online “journalists”.

I don’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.

12 Replies to “You cannot ‘educate’ Filipinos to vote wisely while encouraging them to buy stupidly”

    1. Well it turned out to be that Aquino is even dumber than Homer Simpson. Although, calling Aquino stupid is an insult to stupid people.

  1. Homo Politicus – profile of filipino politician

    Motivation – self-interest and maximisation of personal wealth

    Habitat – gated communities, blacked out SUV’s, and makati restaurants

    Family – multiple, and innumerable illegitimate children

    Mating habits – kept secret in darkened KTV bars

    Mating ritual – wailing and thrashing of arms to music

    Interests – young tv entertainers of either sex

    Clothing – garish colored t-shirts

    Language – motherhood statements and slogans, and bad english

    Education – rarely

    Character – criminal intent

    Friends – no. Only mixes with same tribe

    Religion – cult worship, and the dollar bill

    Ambition – a house in los angeles

    Natural enemies – motorcycle riding gunmen

  2. Yes Benigno, for me it’s all related. For years I have said between our love for the noon time variety shows and the main network newscasts with intonation that resembles professional wrestling ringside it is a complete stretch to expect good choices to manifest itself in the ballot box. You are correct.
    As for brand conscious. There is the other layer of the people who buy fake brands but pretend they have the real thing. Which of course is another layer of dysfunction.

    We are constantly sold garbage so that is what we will continually buy. Garbage in garbage out is a universal truth. Even here. Dumb is as dumb votes to paraphrase Forrest Gump.

  3. The False Asia Survey of Aquino; with his Media propaganda machine of Lopez ABSCBN. You got the Filipinos by their Balls(if they have any). Aquino does not have any Balls. Bakla siya. Takot sa Luneta Hostage crissis. Takot siya sa Sabah crissis.
    Just look at the Political family dynasties. Filipinos do not have any brain, in voting for their leaders. They will vote even for the Katulong of any political family dynasty, if they ever run for public offices…

  4. too many idiots with voting cards that are paid for by the who gives then p 200 on election day.and even if they did vote for someone else, the election would be rigged.
    Just face it, there is only one way to change what is going on, and it is not voting.
    the Virtual Vigilante knows what time it is, where is he when we need him?
    Yo Yo, V.V., where you at Mang?

  5. Culturally Filipinos indeed are so fascinated with with whatever huge, brightly-colored,beautiful speeches and most of all “what most people want or do”.

    Even in engineering construction. Because traditionally most people design their houses to have pitched roof, most engineers tend to adapt it even if its more expensive.

    Typical example are the containers for the instant noodles: just look at how huge are those, but look at the contents, not even one-third of it.

    Also consider what I believe is the most irresponsible milk advertisement I’ve watched which insinuate families that their milk can replace foods in the food pyramid. To the young mind, this would encourage them further never to eat vegetables which are far more nutritious and contains less harmful ingredients.

    Voting wisely is way too tedious to the mindset of Filipinos much more buying wisely.

    Basic Filipino culture is “eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow, ‘bahala na'”.

  6. This might be a late comment and most of all a little out of the context being discussed here. This is not a comment. However, please allow me to share my appeal to those contributing to this forum what we can contribute to the Philippines as a nation.

    I sincerely believe that most, if not all, who are sharing their views here have the capabilities and resources to help in disseminating to their neighbors, associates, friends and employees information that could be of great help.

    My appeal is, if we can help open the eyes of the majority of Filipinos to the reality that whatever minute resources this country have is being just squandered by the political leaders, government officials down to most employees, solely for their personal interests.

    In most developed countries every last month of the year, the eyes of most of their citizens are already focused on their government’s declaration of the following year’s budget.

    Upon declaration of their government’s annual budget most businessmen and even some ordinary citizens make celebrations (literally).

    The budget declaration of the government means new projects of new infrastructures like bridges, roads, schools, hospitals and even government buildings. Or continuous maintenance contracts for government facilities.

    However, since the beginning, in the Philippines culture nobody seems to care about this at all. The saddest thing is that perhaps nobody is even aware of this fact.

    The government is supposed to be the major source of employment for its citizens because of the never ending new development projects on infrastructures and other much needed facilities, and maintenance contracts.

    It’s sad to say that anywhere in the Philippines the malls, sidewalks, parks and whatever favorable/unfavorable place to hangout are full of “just loitering” jobless Filipinos.

    The saddest thing of all is that whatever allocated government annual budget just evaporates with almost NOTHING EVER DONE at all!

    My appeal to all of you is to help in disseminating this awareness to most, if not all, of the people you can possibly reach about this fact. Through this it would serve as a wakeup call to Filipinos which would hopefully open their eyes and start demanding regarding new tangible infrastructures and projects that the government has correspondingly spent each year’s budget with.

    This might be just like a pebble dropped in the middle of the ocean. But we’re hoping that it would make a ripple effect.

    Here’s hoping that during this coming election, Filipinos may have something to demand from all the presumptuous and contemptible politicians for their votes.

    Thank you in advance for your great help.

    God bless us all.

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