Friday April 26, 2013
Celebrities turned politicians
By Louisa Lim
Some celebrities have gone a long way to rattle the political scene.
HERMAN Tino, Dayangku Intan and Aishah are not the only luminaries to hop onto the political bandwagon. For years, the entertainment elite have used their widespread popularity to wrangle for ratings – and we’re not just talking about TV. Here’s our list of some of the celebrity turned politicians, from musicians to athletes to, of course, the Terminator.
With an impressive Hollywood career spanning a few decades, Schwarzenegger is perhaps one of the most well-known faces to join the political circuit. The transition from Terminator to “governator” seemed to be natural for this action hero icon, who enjoyed tremendous success when he ran for political office in 2003. A Republican, Schwarzenegger was elected as the 38th Governor of Califorinia, a position he served from 2003-2011. As governor, Schwarzenegger is known for his use of motion picture one-liners, promising to “pump up Sacramento, California” and bidding the 37th Governor hasta la vista, baby.
Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao
Named “Fighter of The Decade” by the Boxing Writers Association of America, World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization, Filipino Manny Pacquiao – as he is fondly known among his legions of fans – is an undisputed champ when it comes to boxing. In May 2010, he also reigned supreme in politics after winning in a landslide victory. He was elected to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress of the Philippines, representing the province of Sarangani. But it seems Pacquiao prefers slugging it out in the political arena instead of the ring: he has put his boxing career on hold until September this year to run for executive office.
People snickered when Reagan announced that he would run for governor of California. A washed-up actor who has starred in 52 films, he had not appeared on the big screen since 1957 and his political experience was very limited. But all this changed when a number of powerful state Republicans heard him give a televised speech for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, a prominent Conservative. Having impressed them with his charisma and political views, he was elected, defeating two-term California governor “Pat” Brown by almost a million votes and securing his political seat in 1967. He eventually ran for the US presidency as a conservative Republican and won two terms, beginning in 1980.
Ever since a persistent injury got the better him, the retired Chinese NBA superstar has swapped a career of playing in the court for a career of courting constituents. Last year, Ming was elected to political office as a member of Committee of the Chinese People’s Consultative Congress in his hometown, Shanghai. As the youngest and, at2.3m, the tallest member of the 142-person committee, he is responsible for attending regular meetings and offering political consultation and supervision to the local government. It remains to be seen whether this impressive athlete’s political career will bloom into something more.
It is said that politics was never this Bollywood hotshot’s cup of tea. However in 1984, Bachchan jumped into the fray anyway at the insistence of his childhood friend Rajiv Gandhi. He contested Allahabad’s Parliament seat against H. N. Bahuguna, a well-known politician, and won his MP candidacy by the highest victory margin for a parliamentary candidate in Indian history. Unfortunately, Bachchan resigned only after three years of his tenure as an MP, leaving his term incomplete. In a 2008 blog post, Bachchan explained his reason for quitting: “I felt for 25 years I had tried to woo my audience to love me as an artiste as an actor. And once I had accomplished that I was now telling them to love my politics as well. Not acceptable to me. It was wrong. I was wrong. I was dividing my audience and my fans.”