Assoc. Prof. Rogelio Alicor Panao and Dr. Ronald Pernia (University of the Philippines Cebu) published a book chapter entitled, ““Kapwa” and Filipinos’ Fixation with Presidential Jokes” in the book Political Humor Worldwide, published by Springer.

The abstract reads:

When does humor work for a public figure and when does it not? We contend that the effect of political humor varies with citizens’ collective predisposition and its compatibility with the leadership typology projected by the speaker. To validate our conjecture, we examine the rhetorical practices of Philippine presidents from 1987 to the present and show that Filipinos rarely find jokes offensive if they are carried out by someone who conforms to their popular expectation of what a leader should be: sincere, caring, giving, pro-people and anti-elitist. This is rooted in a national character that finds a premium on leadership based on the idea of “kapwa,” a Filipino term widely understood as not simply establishing a relationship but a connection with the collective. Conversely, citizens generally view jokes objectionable when they are performed by leaders who they think are insincere, technocratic, and elitist. No matter how funny the jokes actually are and how well they may have been delivered, they will fail if citizens find the leader politically undesirable. We ultimately illustrate how leaders can engage in comedic diversions as part of their governance toolkit.

Access the chapter here:

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