An over-analysis of the year rep re-election

Marx says that history repeats itself, first time as tragedy, second time as farce. And here we are, facing our second year rep election in a year. This is an accomplishment recently surpassed only by the Cabinet of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 

(The article is a satyre, it is only meant to be funny, not to offense anyone. Thanks for your comprehension.)

This by-election emerged as a result of the departure of our former sovereign Qiu Jiayi, whose passionate populism propelled him to power last year by a landslide of 7 votes. 

Nonetheless, without his leadership the campus has managed to continue prospering with stable WiFi, a bountiful vending machine and reliable CAS system. We thus have little to complain about. However, he did promise to have the GP on campus more often; today we have no GP at all. He promised LGBTQIA+ rights but the gender-neutral toilet is explicitly discriminatory towards invertebrates. After failing to deliver on his ambitious list of promises, he has fled to the Sorbonne to study literature. The bar has been set for the new candidates, and it has been set low. 

But it is not the time to be optimistic. There is no reason to believe the candidates will be sound. Quite simply, the most capable specimens would have been elected (or selected — SPK 👀) to various clubs and student associations or as head librarian. They would not have the time to occupy another important office. This leaves us scraping the bottom of the barrel; instead of the creme de la creme we have the merde de la merde. 

But enough speculation. If we wish to slander the candidates, we must slander them on their own merits (or dismerits). So who are these candidates? 

Brought to you by the Ecosoc major in particular and the continent of Asia in general, they are, in alphabetical order:

Eeshan and Moyu, who, running as a pair, embody Sun Tzu’s principle that “the wise warrior avoids the battle”. He also said that “the whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent”, which perhaps explains their inexplicable donning of onesies and suspenders on the campaign trail. 

One must admire their ambition. To secure joint office they must first win the first ballot (that we have joint year reps) and then the second (that those two year reps will be them). This can be best represented by a Bayesian equation:

P(A | B) = [P(B | A) • P(A)] / P(B), 

where A = Moyu and Eeshan are elected as year reps, 

and B = the option of joint year reps is chosen. 

But their point is that they work better as a pair than individually (or to put it negatively, they’d better hang together or have to hang separately). They say they are, like Ronaldo and Messi, incomparable. The analogy is unfortunate. Ronaldo has just been served a 2-game ban and Messi lost to Saudi Arabia. But I digress. Teamwork is the theme of their campaign, and that shows in their list of promises, which are mostly about how they will get other people to do things (Health Ambassadors, Safety Taxis, 3A contacts). 

Next up we have Tracy, who promises to govern efficiently — on the few days that she’s not in Etretat or Rouen — and deliver on standards befitting a world class university. Chief among them is improving the sub-par facilities. Her technical difficulties in setting up her slides proves her point. She promises more information and resources, thus adding to the abundant depth of reading material that our students here so dearly wish to expand. She also promises efficiency and openness, but as a Singaporean, she ought to know that the two are in contradiction to each other. And as an economist, she ought to know that efficiency is best left to the invisible hand. Administration is the beginning of the road to serfdom.

She is on firmer footing when making the calculated promise of renouncing revolution and only pursuing realistic proposals, which is just a fancy way of describing pork-barrel tactics. Poncho loans and functioning facilities are all essential, but just substitute those with “fixing potholes” and “building highways” and read that sentence again. It remains to be seen whether the gains she makes from the pragmatic, mature (or unimaginative, risk-averse) voting bloc can make up for the losses of the ambitious, visionary (or naive, entitled) bloc.

While Tracy has pursued a strategy of under-promise, (hopefully) over-deliver, our final candidate, Pavi, chose the opposite path. He has presented himself as just a simple man (on a motorcycle and with a guitar — though not both at the same time, I hope) who just wants to get things/shit done (he does not specify how), much like the Sociology poster that I had the great fortune to do with him last semester (in the interests of transparency but without prejudicing any candidate, I will say that it was done. That is all I will say).

Proudly showing his national flag — because Malaysia is known for its robust leadership, democracy and getting shit done — it is surprising he has not already declared that he has enough votes to form government, given the developments of the recent Malaysian general election. But do not doubt his confidence. He has already lost both the BDA vote (by spreading libel about them, right in front of them) and the SPE one (by proposing MORE printers), yet he does not appear the slightest bit disturbed. He was also the most confident speaker, dominating the Q&A segment to the great ire of the moderator. Still, he was the only candidate who presented bona fides, by presenting to the audience an impressively comprehensive and outdated file on partner university vacancies (and in the process boring the Dual Degree students to death).

And so there you have it, the four horsemen (or horsepersons, to be politically correct) of the election. Since it is fashionable nowadays to talk about diversity, I will end this piece with some woke analysis.

The groupthink of an all-Ecosoc candidate pool is very obvious. Most of them promised the same things, such as healthcare and access to information. But if we had a Polhum candidate, for instance, we could reasonably expect the promise of replacing the psychologist with a psychiatrist steeped in Freudian analysis; one who could accurately diagnose the source of discontent on campus as the desires of the id — the great reservoir of libido — being repressed by the superego. On similar lines, the needs of the student body are really just false needs created by capitalist society; it is no surprise that our economists are blind to this reality. Likewise, a Polgov candidate would probably rise beyond petty issues and policies, and instead articulate the constitutional identity that a year representative is supposed to articulate. Every individual, every sect, has their own partisan interests, but the representative of the sovereign must rise above all that.

But life is not fair and we must play with the cards dealt to us. Come Friday, the kompetenz-kompetenz will vote for who they think is the most competent. There will be the illusion of choice, but we already more or less know the outcome — it will either be a brown man or a yellow woman (or both).

Fang Yiyang

Credit photo: Maëlie Phompraseuth (core pictures) – Imme Koolenbrander (featured image)

Author: Le Dragon Déchaîné

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