Cover Why are colours associated with your political stance? (Photo: Prince Abid/Unsplash)

Pink? Red? Are you thinking of sporting a colour this upcoming Halalan 2022?

In the Philippines, the phrases "paint the town red" and "follow the yellow brick road" are perceived differently; for years, the country has been confronted with political differences that divided the nation in the guise of colours. 

For instance, bright and burning red is often associated with the family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, while the warm and bright yellow has been linked to the Aquinos.

In 2021, as election season draws near, the phrase "on Wednesdays we wear pink" (a dialogue from the hit chick flick Mean Girls) gets a new meaning too as Presidential candidate and incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo officially adopted pink as her campaign colour.

But why do politicians love to string themselves with colours anyway? And why do their followers wear it like a badge of honour? Is the act rooted in everybody's constant need for belongingness? Or is it merely a way for people to express their beliefs without the use of words?

See also: What It Was Like Registering to Vote For the First Time... During a Pandemic

The Psychology in Colours 

Different hues represent different feelings, just take it from Disney Pixar's Inside Out: Sadness was colour blue, Joy was yellow, Anger was red, and Disgust was green. Generally, our memory associates colour to specific events and things because they are present in our environment and daily interactions. While perceptions of colours are somehow subjective, there are some hues that have universal meaning.

Warm colours or those with the hues of red evoke emotions ranging from warmth, comfort, passion, anger, and hostility. Cool colours or those with the hues of blue, purple, or green, on the other hand, represent feelings of calmness, sadness, or indifference.

Even people in the marketing field have learned to pick this up. Commercials and product appearances are carefully crafted to match colours that correspond to the desires of their consumers. The ever-popular McDonald's fast food (or local chain Jollibee), for example, both use red and yellow for their branding as these hues are usually associated with being happy and active.

Wearing Your Colour

It's a safe bet that key figures in Philippine politics use colours to evoke emotions - this but the nature of appealing to the public's shared memory. Supporters also don colours to heighten belongingness and amplify their candidate's impact during campaign rallies and public appearances.

According to the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), the gap between the Philippines' rich and poor sectors could widen further after the pandemic. This means that in the coming elections, the country will need to vote for a progressive leader with empathy for neglected sectors. 

This humble piece cannot preempt what colour fills the streets on election day. But what lies in the hands of every voter is a social responsibility and a big decision that will shape our immediate and distant future. 


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