Celebrity flash mobs

I wrote about flash mobs on October 24, 2005, and before that, I talked about them before the Manila Rotary Club in 2004 (which left the rather unwired members kind of confused, I think, at the time).

The Asia Foundation’s Steve Rood (one of the few readers of this blog to actually give this blogger something for Christmas, the other kind soul being Carlos V. Jugo) was quoted in an article in the International Herald Tribune, responding to what I call the Black Friday Protest Movement’s Frapp for Freedom campaign. He decided to dwell on some of the points he made further, and circulated them; the PCIJ beat us all to the draw and posted his ideas first. Read what he has to say. My only contributions to the discussion are few:

1. Everyone seems to forget the “lightning rallies” periodically engaged in by National Democratic forces. I do not know how old, exactly, that form of protest using only a few people, is; either it’s a subset of the flash mob concept or predates it.

2. The first political flash mobs, in a sense, date back to the anti-Marcos struggle; the Black Friday Protest Movement is simply reviving the effort that punctured the pretensions of the then-Palace puppets.

3. The flash mob as first demonstrated by the Black Friday Protest Movement is a variation of the flash mob concept, but in reality, far different from what the flash mob is supposed to be. If it’s true there were similar flash mobs in Alabang and at the Podium mall, then those were flash mobs; but the 6750 Ayala Avenue one was along the lines of a celebrity appearance and not a flash mob. Flash mobs are supposed to be anonymous, and puzzling to everyone else who isn’t in the know. Instead, the protests were widely publicized. To the rest of the public, they are meant to seem absolutely insane.

The Black Friday Protests will go on. But for what it’s worth, my suggestions for further action are as follows:

1. They should be surprising. Unexpected places, or places and persons identified with the President. Why shouldn’t every person in the movement have standing instructions to carry pictures of puppies and hand them to any cabinet member or crony they meet? Why not play Hello, Garci ring tones whenever you encounter an Assumption nun? Or simply go up to known pro-Arroyo society figures and tell them, “How baboy naman the pig!” That sort of thing.

2. They should be witty. As recounted in my article above,

[A] veteran of the anti-Marcos protests of the 1980s recounted two incidents. The veteran said that when Marcos banned rallies in Makati, “we had to come up with a lot of creative ways to demonstrate.” At lunchtime, Makati workers walked to Rustan’s (at the time said to be partly owned by Imelda Marcos), and “entered the shop and just stayed there without buying anything, then walked back to their offices.” The veteran recalled that perhaps a few thousand participated.

On another occasion, protesters went to the lobby of the Manila Peninsula, ate there and then, on cue, stood up and, with raised fists, sang “Bayan Ko.” The pianist at the mezzanine cooperated by providing accompaniment to the singing. And, according to the veteran, “here’s the bonus: Teodoro Valencia, known apologist for Marcos, happened to also be there at the time. After ‘Bayan Ko,’ the crowd faced him and started singing ‘How much is that doggie in the window,’ including the ‘Arf! Arf!’ Of course, he had to leave. I don’t think he finished his meal.”

3. The targets of flash mobs must include crony companies and businesses and institutions, and not just target the President, but her diehard supporters: it’s obvious not just the President should be criticized. People can enter offices of Aboitiz shipping, for example, and make chicken noises for 30 seconds, etc.

4. They should be easy to replicate so that if there’s a Frapp for Freedom on Friday, the next Friday, other people can Frapp for Freedom while the next group goes on to the next activity. Record “How much is that doggie in the window” and turn it into a protest ring tone.

If sustained, and funny, and slightly crazy, they will accomplish far more to puncture the pretensions of the Palace than any standard protest could muster.

Bayang Walang Gloria


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41 thoughts on “Celebrity flash mobs

  1. use the name Jose Pidal or Garci or JocJoc Bolante at any place where your name has to be announced. I’ve used Pidal in several crowded Starbucks and it’s fun. You can also use those names in places where a public address system is used. Ex. “Paging driver of Jose Pidal” just make sure ou inform your driver before hand. What if you don’t have a driver? Better yet because the paging will go on forever. Just stand there looking pissed.

  2. testing

    “GMA resign” Yellow bands

    i’ve got an idea to show our opposition to arroyo in a non-violent way (and make money at the same time)

    Black-and-White Movement and other blogs can advertise and sell it at their site.

    Why not make and sell GMA resign Yellow bracelet/bands (like this one).

    Lance’s yellow band wins mag design award

    The grand prize in the inaugural Bottom Line Design Awards from US magazine Business 2.0 went to the buck-a-throw Livestrong wristbands, beating off competition from Virgin Atlantic’s Upper-Class Cabin, Apple’s iMac G5 and Motorola’s Razr V3 cellphone. Lance Armstrong’s wristbands, kicked off with support from Nike, sold so well, one of the judges in Business 2.0’s awards said the campaign was “the most successful viral campaign in a decade, perhaps ever.”

    Up to 33 million yellow Livestrong bands have been sold to date, with proceeds going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation…

    Of Lance Armstrong’s wristband, Business 2.0 said:

    “Sometimes design simplicity—in this case, a $1 yellow rubber bracelet—is all it takes to make an emotional connection with consumers.

    Not only is this pretty much a non-violent way to protest the arroyo admin, but you’d look cool wearing it too (and i’m pretty sure the guy selling this would make tons of dough) 🙂

    Ito pa: Bracelet mania: Armstrong’s yellow wrist bands have become cultural phenomenon

    Here’s are photos of the LiveStrong bracelets.

    Of course, kapag nalaman ito ni Arroyo, I wouldn’t put it past her to order the police to conduct raids on the factory (or hire a few thugs to break inside the factory) making these Yellow bands and steal their merchandise. LOL. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d stoop this low, LOL.

  3. the band idea, better if it was black.
    sana naman the b&w people can make their protest w/o making sabit others that have to come out a press release denying being part of the protest.
    a protest risk to be corny if protesters have to hold it in croweded places where they can have a ready made captured audience.
    why don’t protesters just go in the middle of a football field & set a bonfire & we can be sure that the people around beleave in the cause.they can also serve local batangas coffee to show a minimum of nationalisim insted of patronizing a starbucks that makes zillions while coffee planter remain poor.
    sana naman protesters don’t adapt the tendera ng palenke style of going where the crowds are to sell their wares.

  4. The term “apologist” is used quite a bit these days. I’m confused as to when a person is an apologist. Is it when the person is trying to be “discerning” so to speak? Is it used only when a person appears to be taking views in favor of the administration?

  5. I’ve been a silent bystander for so long… but the Frapp for Freedom idea was the last straw. I dunno whether to laugh or be insulted that you guys took this idea seriously. It really shows how pathetic the opposition is.

    I don’t mind a credible opposition that stands up to the powers that be, but if armbands and hangin’ out in starbucks are the best ideas you guys can come up with, you won’t have me coming out to rally against this government anytime soon.

    And let me join my voice in this call:
    I am utterly flabbergasted that you still do not get it: we already responded to your calls, and our response has been very clear – we chose not to heed your calls to go to EDSA or to Fort Bonifacio not because we do not love our country or our freedoms or our rights, but precisely because we love our country even more -from one among the silent majority, forwarded email.

    And no i am not an apologist, just someone who has a different opinion.

  6. The natdem “lightning rallies” of our time were more active than the Frappucino protest. Among the things we were told (or dared?) to do by our political officers was for about 20 of us to suddenly unfurl a banner and block traffic in Sampaloc, then disappear just when the cops show up. The best lightning rally we did however was when UP under O.D. Corpuz decided to ask the diktador to give the graduation speech (and I think also to honor Ms. Piggy with an honorary PhD). The regime surrounded the graduate class with “faker graduates,” all military trainees with clean-shaven heads and wearing togas. Then they littered the audience with plainclothesmen, while the outer limits of the graduation ground were practically covered with soldiers. Many came in dressed up, with the women hiding the banners under their skirts, pretending to be pregnant. When the signal came, banners were unfurled, propaganda materials distributed and activists among the ranks of the graduates shouted “Marcos, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta!!” then melted among the togas. Only one activist was arrested; the other two were undergrad history majors who collected some of the manifestos for — rightfully — posterity purpose but were immediately pounced by the regime’s security.

    The militance, I think, is what set those natdem “lightning rallies” from the “softer” protests at Rustans and Peninsula (places where the aktibista-looking and the unwashed are not welcome) and today’s Frapuccino protests.

  7. The Black & White Movement has a pair of black & white wrist bands (they’re also called baller bands, I think) that are available to those interested. M, have been to and fro-ing with John Marzan on how to get them more popular. And Jon, thanks for the grade!

    ManuelBuencamino, what an absolutely great idea! Am thinking of trying it out in Greenbelt soon. They have this really loud public address system. We also have a great copy of “How Much is That Doggie in the Window”. Will try to make a ring tone out of it. We are overflowing with “tutas” again, anyway.

  8. How about a pin that women can wear saying: “Thank God I’m not Gloria Macapagal!”

  9. or a pin for boys: “I’m not Jose Pidal” or “I’m not Joc-Joc Bolante”

  10. All street protests are not allowed! What else can protesters do? They need to be imaginative. A+ for B&W.

    yeah. bawal na ang mga anti-arroyo protests.

    but if armbands and hangin’ out in starbucks are the best ideas you guys can come up with, you won’t have me coming out to rally against this government anytime soon.

    the yellow bands are a cool idea, i think. as for starbucks, i can’t even afford to have coffee in starbucks.

    but i admit the opposition today are not as aggressive, ruthless and efficient.

  11. You serious Jon? Street protests are not allowed? But I thought she’s lifted the SOE? Aren’t the mayors empowered to issue protest permits?

    What other pakbet is Gloria cooking?

  12. From Yuko of Tokyo:

    “The song is made to the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”


    Bayan kong sawi
    ay labis na ang hirap mo
    Walang malasakit ang pekeng nasa puwesto
    Nakaw walang humpay kurakot walang puknat
    Makapal ang lambat.


    Gloria Gloria umalis ka na
    Taong bayan sa iyo’y ayaw na
    Sinungaling na’t magnanakaw pa?
    Walang ‘ba kundi ikaw.

    Gloria, Gloria Mandaraya
    Gloria, Gloria Mandaraya
    Gloria, Gloria Mandaraya
    Mandaraya si Gloria.


    Kuroshiteru Kokumin no seimeiwa
    Nise daitoryo no jininsuru koto
    Aisuru firipin no tame ni
    Ikkoku mo hayaku
    Sassa to dete ike

    Gloria, Gloria Mandaraya
    Gloria, Gloria Mandaraya
    Gloria, Gloria Mandaraya
    Ikkoku mo hayaku
    Sassa to dete ike

    “Tuloy ang laban! Igiit ang karapatang batikosin ang mga kurakot sa pamahalaan.

    DiYumu Yuko

  13. Nice song, though I’m not that familiar with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

    The Frappa Friday is not an entirely bad idea, but I still have that concern that it will isolate its participants from those who cannot afford to go to Starbucks or some other high-class venue.

  14. The future depends on what we do with the present.

    After the declaration and lifting? of PP 1017
    the so-called STATE OF PERSONAL PANIC

    The Nation stills hungers for the TRUTH.

    Hello Garci is still an issue, 2004 Election
    still peppered with question marks, Fertilizer
    scam still stinks. Can we still seek redress
    with this grievances, when what GMA gives us
    SENATE dig deeper on the issue with EXECUTIVE
    ORDER 464 ? Can the MEDIA perform their ROLE
    with PP 1017 ?

    We got our answers from GMA – CPR, EO 464, PP 1017

  15. Some people are writing and speaking in BEHALF
    of the MIDDLE CLASS, the question is …


    Eversince GMA stole the PRESIDENCY, the GAP



  16. Psst…the so-called coup threat wasn’t really what it was. The gov’t had planned to stage a coup, but majority of the soldiers did not want to join. That’s also why Querubin gave it “all” up instead of going along with the GMA boys. GMA then had to declare PP1017 in case the coup went the other way (i.e., to oust her).

  17. Any society that will give up a little liberty to gain a little security would deserve neither and lose both.
    — Benjamin Franklin

    Bagay sa T-shirt.

  18. Gloria must have her own t shirt

    My husband’s mistress is a smuggler
    My husband’s golfing buddy wants control of its rival port
    My husband gave away land that is why we are pro agrarian reform
    My husband was in Sulu last May 2004 and he…….

  19. Atienza’s Rump

    Before I thought that no strings attached means a string attached to an elephant..an elephant too tired to struggle, even the thinnest string is not worth the effort.

    Pinahirap ko pa madali ..strings pala is for puppets…
    puppet show lang pala with the puppet dressed in a Hawaiian shirt.

  20. My suggestions:

    1.Put up a huge poster of GMA. On the side, sell ripe or semi-rotten tomatoes at P20 apiece and P5 for the privilege to pelt the poster with tomatoes. Call it Fund Raising Drive for the Tomato Growers of the Philippines.

    2. Poster-making contest- the objective: any interpretation of GMA the president; any medium, any size. The most malevolent gets first prize; the most gentle torn to pieces.


  21. For those Ass-umptionistas who are obvious ass wipes:
    (Not all of them, mind you..)

    And so it goes,
    Chump-chon nuns spawn
    -you guessed it.

    Chump-chon chics.

    And for as long as the Chumpeen poster girls stays in the Palace;
    all that the people and this nation are left with is:

    -Chump change.

  22. what creative minds we have here. ok sali ako sa tomato- bato-mo-sa-poster-ni-GMA drive okey yan gusto sa edsa at maraming camera at dapat marami din tayo para paghinuli at kinulong masaya. hahaha. kailan ‘to, dadating ako.

  23. “You serious Jon? Street protests are not allowed? But I thought she’s lifted the SOE?”

    anna, matagal nang bawal mag-hold ng anti-arroyo rally sa kalsada, whether sa mendiola o sa makati o sa edsa.

    there was no problem sana with the rallies that were planned at edsa on feb. 24… it was meant to celebrate edsa 1986. but when arroyo heard na baka maging isang anti-arroyo event ito, he declared SOE and cancelled all rally permits.

    “Aren’t the mayors empowered to issue protest permits?”

    most of the mayors in manila are pro-arroyo, so they refuse to give permits to the anti-arroyo groups to organize rallies.

    si mayor binay anti-arroyo nga, pero pinagbawalan naman ni arroyo na mag-issue ng rally permits.


    In a virtual imposition of martial law, President Arroyo yesterday ordered that Makati City will no longer be a place for rallies by the political opposition.

    The Chief Executive’s order rams the consti-tutional rights of a local chief executive, in this case Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, an opposition leader and among those calling for the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo.

    The President’s order would automatically nullify any permit granted by Binay to any group.

  24. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it that mayors (or anyone) can’t deny permits? That once an application is made, the permit will be automaticaly granted after 5(?) days? Even if the proper authority doesn’t act on the application?

    At the same time, isn’t it normal in democracies — even in the most progressive democracies — that there are certain designated areas that are off-limits for rallies/demonstrations?

    Isn’t it reasonable to think that the country’s main business zone is not a good place for having disruptive (to traffic, business, everyday salarymen) demonstartions? There’s certainly some logic in that thought. I would think that even the rallyists would see that it doesn’t help their cause when they greatly inconvenince those who they are trying to win over…..

  25. How come the Supreme Court is taking SUCH a long time in deciding petitions that question the legality/constitionality of several of GMA’s acts/orders? Such as:

    FLAG’s petition questioning the constitutionality of the calibrated preemptive response (CPR) enforced against rallies and the “no permit, no rally” policy under Batas Pambansa Blg. 880.

    IBP’s petition to declare EO 464 unconstitional.

    The Roque and Butuyan Law Office’s petition seeking to nullify House of Representatives’ junking of the impeachment complaint.


    Has the Supreme Court ruled on any of these yet? I believe we should also task the Supreme Court for the excessively lengthy (and suspicious) delays in the resolution of these cases.

    Based on these infos, any chance that they’ll rule soon on the Proclamtion 1017 case? It seems highly unlikely.

  26. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ccdbm/message/3844

    From: “Rimidalv Alamo”
    Date: Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:12 pm
    Subject: Re: WTF? Protest in Starbucks Cafes? draculites
    Offline Offline
    Send Email Send Email

    Think about this… maybe Dinky Soliman is actually a GMA Agent! She is like a “Trojan Horse” placed in the opposition camp whose purpose is to make them do things that would make the Anti-GMA camp look extremely ridiculous.

    Dinky would gather all the pansies, geeks, laughy-smiley weaklings, pa-sosyal, pa-itellektwal, Starbucks drinking nerds and email/text freaks and put up a freak show in places like Starbucks, Aristocrat or Baywalk. She would paint the Anti-GMA camp in that pathetic light!

    GMA, oh Georgetown U Alumnus, you are a genius! Go Hoyas!

    — In [email protected], “genmadrigal” wrote:
    > Talaga nga naman ang mga Pinoy, talagang sa lahat yata ng lahi eh
    > Pinoy na ang gumagawa ng mga pinaka “ridiculous” na bagay sa mundo.
    > Kaya walang asenso at pinagtatawanan na lang ng mga ibang lahi. I came
    > across this on the Internet… this “Black Friday Movement” and their
    > Starbucks protest. And get a load of their slogan: “Patalsikin na, now
    > na!” How dumb! How do they think they can threaten GMA with these
    > lamebrained actions? If I were GMA, I would not even call a single
    > policeman or soldier to stop these people. I would just get a janitor
    > from Malacanang to chase them away with a broom and they surely would
    > disperese! … Now Na!

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