He styles himself as “The Chairman.” Following Mao, perhaps, or that voiceover dude from “Iron Chef” whose memory always serves him correctly. The edifice at Orense Street stands as a monument to his slogan of “Metro Gwapo,” with footbridges and road barricades and urinals standing as mini-monuments to the magnificence – or perhaps the maleficence – of Bayani Fernando. The Metro Manila Development Authority, at least in my eyes, is The Chairman’s sandbox for urban development; where an elevated U-turn will do no harm, and devoting entire lanes of EDSA to the sheer influx of provincial and colorum and extended-franchise buses will solve traffic.
A sandbox. A game; to be exact, the Games of the Chairman.
Since there’s no such thing as “declaring your candidacy” in Philippine politics, you take to the media to subtly announce your intention to announce your bid. There are infomercials, there are billboards, and yes, there are those funny yellow beads distributed to funerals every now and then. Yet as Technograph tells us, there’s always the game.
Presenting… the Bayani Fernando Flash Game.
The Bayani Fernando Game (yep, BFG) is a simple game similar to O2 Jam, Dance Dance Revolution, and if you know how to play Guitar Hero, you can probably handle this one (I’ve seen Japanese hentai games that follow the same gameplay principle, but let’s not go there). The game puts you into the character of BF’s protegé, where you learn the in’s and out’s of discipline, urban planning, and some quotable quotes from The Chairman himself.
A “Urine Meter” (yes, a Urine Meter) warns you of mistakes in timing and such. Players get to fill out a form to join in the pa-contest part of this game, where the winner receives an Asus EEE laptop.
I have no patience whatsoever for these kinds of games, but I did manage to get past a few violators until I just closed the game and moved on with my life. Maro-Mom would probably enjoy it, though, given all that hoopla with everything from Ravenhearst to Diner Dash… woe be the days she discovers something like, say, YoVille.
I’m sure that, like Carlo J. Caparas films and social justice, the Bayani Fernando Game will teach us more about taking care of our Metropolis, and getting to know more about the policies of the MMDA. I’m sure that the gratutious use of pink and cartoony Flash-rendered urine will get the job done.
Everyone goes “New Media” these days, and BF throws himself into that group of the Tweeting, Facebooking politicos (who will one day have their Plurk timelines and invade the Television Text Chat Channel, speaking in h3lLuR p0wH and HO11A-ese, whatever you want to call that). “New media” politicians who do not make a clear declaration or do not have a clear intent, and market their way in the oddest – perhaps even the stupidest – ways possible. In games that celebrate the “political will” of The Chairman, that highlight our collective lack of common sense, and yeah, Flash-rendered urine.
Maybe it’s funny. Maybe it’s ineffective. Heck, maybe even stupid. Yet you never know the opportunities that present themselves with the Bayani Fernando Game. For us, it’s a chance at an Asus EEE. For him, it’s cheap self-promotion. You can’t get any more win-win than that.
Yet it does give you the sinking feeling that maybe the MMDA – and the sandbox that is Metro Manila – is run in exactly these terms.
* – Image courtesy of Rico Mossesgeld and Kiven Codamon of Technograph