Sepotong Kisah Dangkal Mengenai Kedangkalan dan Pendangkalan (A Superficial Story of Superficiality and Superficialization)

Originally published on my personal Facebook (friends only).

Months prior to election. Aspiring legislators in the capital are campaigning. “Even though it’s only one spot, it’s the best. I guarantee your billboard will be the talk of the town,” Hendra brags. Surya responds, “I trust your gut, Hendra. My political debut will be amazing.” “You came to the right place,” Hendra assures Surya as he shows the aspiring legislator his billboard ….
“Doesn’t it look fantastic?” Surya falls silent. Puzzled by Surya’s silence, Hendra asks, “What’s wrong?” Darkly, Surya replies, “Uhm, there’s … “
“… there’s a typo,” Surya’s voice is cracking. “It was supposed to be ‘kontrol’ (control) but it spelled ‘*ontol’ (penis) instead.” We’re dead, think the two.
Everybody’s protesting my campaign, Surya thinks as he watches the TV, everybody but this street mafia. Surya turns his TV off.
Surya ponders, “Truth be told, I only wanted this so that I can broadcast my pretty face everywhere. But now, they’ll see me as a dashing airhead! Argh!” Surya’s phone rings.
It is Surya’s party chairwoman, who calls him to office right away. There, he sees Hendra.
After half an hour of cold shoulder, Surya tries to come up with a solution of re-publishing. “It’s overbudget,” replies Hendra simply.
“Anyway, how the hell can this even happen?!” yells the chairwoman. “Didn’t you check it before printing?” She sighs. Surya and Hendra dare not to open their mouth. “Well,” suggests the chairwoman, “with this budget constraint, there’s only one solution”.
“A very public statement,” says she. “What?” Surya is lost. “Just follow the plan.”
D-day of press event. The chairs are full. Surya hesitates, but with the chairwoman’s nod of approval, decides to begin.
“Good morning, my beloved citizen. I am Surya of PMS. My campaign tagline has been an open talk quite recently.”
“Perhaps you all want to hear my apology. However, I am not here for one!” The crowd goes wild.
Gotcha, thinks Surya. “I am proud of the controversy, because then  I can see that you care. You see us, aspiring legislators, as human beings who make mistakes, too.”
“This is the first time in history when a local election goes viral and makes headlines. The usually apathetic youth now plays a huge role. Without even realizing it, everybody participates. The people have found their voice.”
“So, is my tagline offensive? Perhaps. But is it effective? Without a doubt. Raise your voice, people. Vote for Surya 2014!”
The crowd cheers, praising Surya. Many of them agree. The chairwoman gives Surya a thumb up.
She’s right, Surya thinks. Last meeting, she says that confidence sells more than logic. The people crave variation and any confident wild stunt will come off as visionary. It’s easier to play along than redesign, as the mistake is caught red-handed. Seeing how cost-effective it is, Surya agrees.
As the chairwoman expected, I make it to the Parliament with a landslide. What’s even weirder, people see me as a pioneer of catchy election taglines. It’s now very trendy.
Maybe it’s best that nobody knows the reason behind that typo. I was focused only on how I look (which was amazing) and not what was written next to me.

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