The Philopino | Jake CrisologoEditor’s Note: The Philopino is Jake Crisologo’s regular column in Salimbay.
A pseudo-critical analysis of the effectivity of “Ken-vote” as a political campaign label (read in 1 second)
After over a hundred ballots were unfolded, the AIT Student Council Office was filled with much happiness. The droning “Hernando…/Lubi…” announcement for every read ballot, broken only twice by “abstain”, was finally over. To me, the morse-code-esque manner of serious and tedious reading was almost unbearable. “Hernando… Hernando…” It buzzed in my head like static sizzle and I just wanted it to be over. When it finally was, no other councilor was happier than Carl Reyes.
Kenneth Hernando won and now we have a new Mass Media Councilor. As to how he got to where he is right now, let us look back on his campaign. (Cue in sepia-toned memories and nostalgic music.)
(Abruptly cut music)
Sorry but, honestly, I don’t remember much about the campaign. I did not go to the meeting de avance; shame on me for not being the spritely journalist my editor, Paolo Abellanosa, expects me to be. Or so I think.
I hardly read through their tiny handouts with what I assume were their GPOAs and I didn’t really ask too many questions when they campaigned in my classes. But come on, admit it. Neither did you.
So why am I writing this pseudo-analysis? Well because I have been granted a column here in Salimbay and I have self-inaugurated my divine right to enlighten you with my glorious insight on the whole thing. That, or my basic freedom of speech to blurt out whatever nonsense I want (which you can also exercise. Join Salimbay! We’re in need of writers. Please! Nag-plug daw?).
The Approach Chosen
So how did Ken “kembowt” his way into the SC fold?
“Ken-vote” is short and simple and it says all of what the dude is asking for. It also rhymes with “kembot” says Captain Obvious. Though no proper ode to the word “kembot” has been made, it will be proper for this analysis to really expound on the value of the word; in its colloqualism, meaning and operation. With operation I mean Kenneth’s pag-kembot in class, done with such happiness we were kemboting (or “ken-voting”?) inside.
Raise your hand if you’ve taken 151 and/or 153 and this sounds kinda familiar (kunwari naman makikita ko). I’m no Ma’am Badilla but I think the concept of word or name recall is something I can grasp and work with.
In a grammatical sense, “ken-vote” is improperly constructed given the basic action required- “vote for Ken”. “Vote” is a transitive verb, whereby it precedes the object of the action, which is “Ken” (citation needed. Fellow grammar Nazis, maim me with a meme if I’m wrong.) Even if a “ken-vote” is a noun, its dual nature of becoming a verb ultimately becomes negated. So simply, it should be “Vote-Ken”. But aside from the cute similarity with Volkswagen, it’s not catchy enough.
After all, who gives a darn about grammar anyway? The previous two paragraphs might as well be duochebaggery but my point here is simple. To send a message, sometimes socially familiar structures, in this case, wording and grammar, need to be deconstructed and rearranged in a way that people understand and remember.
Benta ang ken-vote kasi masayang kumembot. In a position where making stuff “benta” or accepted by a populace is at stake; Mass Media Councilor to be exact, you might as well sell yourself well in the campaign period.
Pondering on Kembot
The scaly Philoseraptor might ask, what’s with kembot anyway? Kembot is basically a verb referring to the movement of one’s hips (www.duhwehdinga.com). The closest related English term I could find is “swag”, relating to a strut. Maybe there’s a term for it in yoga or dancing or whatever. But despite not having a direct translation, kembot is a word that is very much loved.
“T175? Ikembot mo lang yan.” (with sarcasm)
“Kembot ka nga sa tindahan. Bili ka ng luya.”
“Isang kembot na lang, uno na sana…”
“Aaaaay! Kembot! Hahaha!”
“Pa-kembot naman ng bayad. Salamat…” (in a jeep)
“Ganda ng kembot niya. Pang-fashion week ‘teh.”
The word is so versatile when put into context. Aside from being a word with a conceded definition, it got one leg up over mere “chuva” or “keme” because it can also mean anything we want now- as a verb, a noun, an exclamation, a swardsyllable or even a moan if you’re that hardcore. So with Ken-vote, the campaign rode along with the already present cognitive presence of its template word in our social psyche (which is a douchebaggy way of saying alam natin lahat ang kembot). It was a stroke of genius.
The fact that he did it in class too was appealing, given that it’s practically occult for men, as formally-clothed and purposeful as Kenneth was in his campaign, to kembot in public. The scene, with its strangeness was simply irresistable and stress-relieving. If we cannot relish Kenneth, a straight man (CITATION NEEDED), making kembot in class, amidst all the serious stuff we need to deal with (T175, Claravall, Claravall), then humanity has dived too deep in its self-formed pit of dry cynicism. In short, ‘pag ‘di ka natuwa sa pagkembot niya, wala kang maligayang puso.
To finally part you from this post that may be getting too long, I say congratulations to Kuya Kenneth, but I say kudos, because it’s Greek and it sounds cooler, to whoever coined “ken-vote”, because it made all the difference if you ask me. But you didn’t.
*Note: The effectivity and utility of the word “kembot” or anything that rhymes with it might have been overestimated in this article. Hence the operative portion of “pseudo-analysis” is “pseudo”, not “analysis”.