Karaoke Culture and the Evolution of Personality Politics
Chapter 5: From Propaganda to Pop Culture: The Philippines and the Rise of the Southeast Asia Media Stars
5. From propaganda to pop culture: the Philippines and the rise of the Southeast Asia media stars INTRODUCTION Southeast Asia’s changing political landscape and the technological developments that have come hand-in-hand with globalization, have led to a sea change in mass media and communications in the region. No longer merely a tool of national government, the media in much of Southeast Asia is enjoying a period of burgeoning growth, emerging self conﬁdence and gathering power. Even before 9/11 and the Bali bombs of October 2002, these developments were not lost on the elites in the region. They contest and claim the media space, with a resulting boom in the public relations industry, and celebrity status for increasingly inﬂuential media faces. It is this celebrity status that, as the domains of politics and entertainment converge and the citizen becomes political consumer, is being turned into votes, as name recall by the public becomes a major key to electoral oﬃce. This chapter examines these changes with a particular focus on the Philippines, and what they might mean for democratic pluralism in Southeast Asia more generally. Asia is in thrall to celebrity. Across the region, from Bollywood to Canton, from The Ginza to Ramsey Street, there is an obsession with the image that revels in an escape from the humdrum drudgery of modern urban existence. Caught up in the world’s embrace of mass media and entertainment, screens and their images are now the places where we not only access aspects...
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