Cos-Politics? Really Now?

Okay, now that the dust after the post-DAF chaos has settled, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the season of anime Japan has prepared for us. Or maybe not. There’s another event on the horizon, one that used to be in cahoots with KKO. I’m talking about Tokyo Fiesta.

By the way, I’ll also be telling a bit about the community dynamics here in Bali. I’ve been holding it in for about 4 years now, and I feel that it’s finally time I let it out bit by bit.

Clash of Communities

Cosplayers in Bali should be familiar with the two major cosplay communities present in Bali: BCC and DC (find the names out yourself, noobs). There used to be BCC only, but after some internal strife that caused its founder to go MIA, it split apart into BCC and DC. There’s also a new community that has recently opened up, known as HapCos, but since they’re new, I’ll leave them out of the picture for now.

BCC and DC have been locked in some sort of cold war with one another ever since they split up. BCC guys are more conservative and reserved; they like to keep things small and not be in anybody’s way. Their events are simple, not too gaudy, not too shabby. They try to strike the perfect balance with quality and budget. On the other hand, DC guys are rather rash. They aim high for big events, sometimes being reckless in the process. The division is even visible at the individual level; you can easily identify who is with whom.

And there’s the factionless, like me, who stay neutral and opt to go solo.

But we don’t talk about that in public here. It’s just like all things religious; it’s too sensitive. Besides, it’s fucking meaningless. And let me just stop there for now.

Politics and Cosplay

Let me now bring your attention to an event that is to be held by DC. It is called Tokyo Fiesta, and it marks the anniversary of DC. It has been held last year, and it is now in its second year.

First of all, happy birthday, DC. May you guys advance in cosplay.

While the first Tokyo Fiesta was a rather small event because it took place in a mall, it was nonetheless a smooth success. However, the second Tokyo Fiesta has hit several speed bumps along the way. As I have mentioned before, it is managed by KKO and we all know how fucked up KKO is right now. The event was originally scheduled for August 16, but it was postponed till the end of October, after DAF. But after the whole DAF incident, in a flurry, DC immediately terminated their partnership with KKO, leading to the uncertain fate of Tokyo Fiesta. Anyway, it has been announced that Tokyo Fiesta will commence on November 1. Here’s the poster:

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Now, I have noticed two peculiar things about the event from the poster alone.

First, did you notice the small, yellow logo at the center-top? The one with the two faces. Now, it’s rather hard to see in detail, but I’m pretty sure that it is the logo of a regent candidate in Bali.

Let me explain. It is currently regional election time in Bali, and political candidates are running for regent. There are several regencies in Bali, and this one seems to be from the Badung regency. The event is said to be organized by both DC and this particular candidate.

While I do like the idea of politicians supporting local artists and craftspeople, despite the craft not being an indigenous craft of Bali, I would only feel confident if it were supported by an incumbent. That’s right, not candidates, but incumbents.

Why, you ask? Because, if you’re quite acquainted with Indonesian politics (or politics in general), this is how candidates appeal to the people: patronage politics. They identify a potential voter segment and infiltrate them to understand what they like. Then, they appear to provide support to the people so that they’ll vote for the candidate. Next thing you know, the event will be riddled with people from the candidate’s supporting fanbase or it’s gonna be piggy-backed by a political rally.

Of course, it could be genuinely altruistic. The candidates may genuinely give a fuck about cosplay and just want to support it. But it’s fucking politics. I’ve learned not to trust anything politicians say, unless it’s in writing and drafted as a local bylaw. Besides, the sponsor is a fucking candidate. The guy’s not even incumbent yet. And they just happened to support cosplay during election time? Nothing wrong here, move along now.

Secondly, I noticed the slogan of the event, “Bagus Berkarya”. It is suspiciously similar to the candidate’s slogan, which I have seen on the road as I commute to work. It’s practically everywhere. Now, this is just me speculating, but it’s kinda weird that for an event held by a community celebrating their birthday, they would let external parties be involved this much.

Really Now?

Okay, so that’s about the politics of an event. It’s all speculation, by the way. If you wanted legit evidence, well there’s none right now.

I have several questions for DC right now.

One, what is your vision and mission? Do you guys really want to make progress in cosplay? Or is it just about having the bigger dick in terms of event scale? The way I see it, they really should consider who they partner with. There’s one thing I learned during my time in a small NGO. It is: don’t be a sell-out. If your NGO or community has a vision to become an altruistic community for people of the same hobby to come together, be themselves, and contribute to the zeitgeist, then partner up with people with the same passion. If you’re running an orphanage or a charity related to health, don’t fucking ask for a sponsorship from a cigarette company! I know those assholes make a shit ton of money, but to think that you’re supporting your children with blood money… is disgusting. The way I see it right now, DC is just a visionless community for snobbish people to flaunt events. It seems that along the way, they have lost their way.

Two, Tokyo Fiesta is your birthday event. Do you really want it to be held with other people’s money? Where’s the pride in that? What’s the use of having a community that can’t chip in for a birthday cake when it’s their birthday? Also, do you really want external parties subtly controlling how you should celebrate your birthday? It would feel more meaningful if say, I were in charge of my own birthday. I’d be happier celebrating it with my own money and in my own way, like say a cheap dinner with my girlfriend at a pizza place.

It used to be about cosplay. But now, it’s just a show-off of who has the bigger wallet. I am sad.

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