Please Vote for Me is a surprisingly tense documentary about the election of a class monitor for a 3rd grade class in Wuhan, China.
Whilst I didn’t find it as riveting as Grant Watson did, and you can find his review here, it was astonishing to see how brutal this election campaign was. There was very little restraint in these kids, and dirty tricks a plenty.
The fascinating aspect for me was how much the parents of Luo Lei, Xu Xiaofei and Cheng Cheng invested themselves in the campaigns. Xu Xiaofei was the most reluctant of the candidates to begin with, and her mother did not seem to be pushing her as hard as the rest. The parents of Luo Lei and Cheng Cheng on the other hand… Oh boy.
At one point I asked the housemate I was watching Please Vote for Me with who exactly was running for election, the kids or the parents?
The latter was particularly evident with Luo Lei’s parents willingness to pork barrel his campaign – a monorail ride as a free class excursion, and “gifts” (on election day no less) to the entire class for the upcoming mid-autumn festival.
Ultimately the scariest part of this documentary is just how familiar the dodgy deals, back stabbings, and pork barreling are. It seems that the darker side of democracy is a shared trait of humanity everywhere.
Thanks to Grant for lending me his copy.