Now that the SA Elections candidates have been announced, the pressure on the candidates to campaign and perform well during hustings is intensifying, like the flames of, er… a very hot fire. But fear not! Our self-proclaimed, self-designated, and self-verified team of political analysts here at IGNITE is back to provide a nifty guide.
It goes without saying that this article is, beyond any doubt, scientifically, logically, and morally supported by critical examinations of data and peer-reviewed research. Our team has spent countless sleepless nights (read: two all-nighters) poring over spreadsheets, bouncing arguments off one another, sending passive aggressive emails asking if your part is done yet, Chad, we asked for it last Tues – erm, in short, communicating in a professional manner. In the process, at least two cups of scalding coffee were thrown at two respective heads, and my Tiramisu Twiggie rolled off mysteriously and disappeared somewhere.
But never mind all that! We stop at nothing in our mission to serve the student body, which includes the voters and the candidates. So here’s our comprehensive guideline of etiquette deemed appropriate for individuals in possession of an office-holding potentiality as demarcated by contemporary collective standards. Also known as a list of do’s and don’ts for SA candidates:
DO avoid directly answering questions
As they say on badly-researched, over-glorified cop dramas, anything you say can and will be held against you. Therefore, avoid questions like the plague. This gets harder during hustings, but there are some tricks you can use. Asked about a specific detail on your manifesto? Simply repeat what’s already written there. Faced with a campaign controversy and got called out? Deflect the attention by thanking and applauding the audience for asking such a good question. If all else fails, crying is a sure-fire way to earn the sympathy vote (think of the various reincarnations of the Got Talent franchise). You don’t even need to speak, as long as you look teary and grateful.
DON’T do your research
Some candidates go above and beyond by reading the SA Constitution and understanding the different job responsibilities. Others even have the audacity to learn from previous or current officers what are the challenges faced in the job. Show them how you’re better by being completely spontaneous – it’ll display how you can think on your feet. That way people will be impressed by how you deal with situations while being totally unprepared. In fact, to further demonstrate your remarkable lack of research, you may attend the other candidates’ hustings, and accuse their manifestos of neglecting an area which is, in actual fact, not under their jurisdiction.
DO get aggressive
At some point during the hustings, circumstances may look bleak – especially if your previous mistakes are pointed out, and the tricks to avoid answering questions have failed. The new trick, then, is to walk in there expecting to WIN no matter what, and react badly if otherwise indicated. Thus, when you’re cornered, turn on the asker. Question their question. Take a poll asking if the room agrees this was a bad question. To assert dominance, thump your fists, wave paperwork around vigorously, and yell gibberish whenever someone else tries to talk.
DON’T treat voters like friends
Many candidates choose to portray an approachable image, saying that they view all students as their equals. This is a classic mistake and will result in voters actually expecting you to listen to their demands. Instead, what you want is the force of a charismatic dictator, ruling through a cult of personality. Much like Julius Caesar who, after all, lived to a ripe old age before passing away peacefully surrounded by his ardent followers. Or for a more modern example you may refer to Regina George, whose iconic rule set an example for generations to come.
DO be snarky
On the topic of personalities, make sure to build one which is sarcastic, snide, and shade throwing. Why else do we watch reality TV? Talk trash, talk smack, talk about how their manifesto is crap even if yours basically have the same points. Another classic favourite is to point out their gender or nationality and claim that they’ll get votes because of that. For those who are brave, blame the current state of things on the current SA officers and accuse them of doing a bad job. The crowd will vote you in for your trash-talking abilities.
DO announce your plans with your allowance
One of the perks of being an SA Officer is the monthly allowance – an amount of RM700. Draw out a plan that shows exactly how many McFlurries, overpriced coffees, trendy sneakers you will purchase with this allowance. This shows people that not only are you detail-oriented, but also that you’re hip, cool, and just as much a part of the consumerist culture as they are. It’ll also make it clear that you’re only doing this for the money, and they will admire how you tell it like it is. What you shouldn’t be transparent about is how the SA grant will be distributed. No one wants to hear about funding. Bleh.
DON’T attend Hustings
To save yourself some trouble, just don’t show up at all, and you won’t even have to bother with half of this listicle.
DO obtain votes by any means necessary
As the saying goes, all is fair in love and war and elections. So pull out all stops! Promise them a cleaner lake in a month, a bus trip every minute, more parking and an honest-to-God bridge and effective channels for feedback. The ‘how’ is irrelevant – what matters is what they THINK you will do, not what you actually will. Buy their votes with candy, pizza, subtle threats on their family’s lives! (Paying the writer of this article will also entitle you to ONE  vote. PM for details.) Promise them you will abolish the tolls – oh wait, different election.
DON’T limit yourself
Get creative with your campaign. Trump has popular meme potential, being referred to for two consecutive years now. But why stop there? Send in UNMC Expressions and Confessions posts about yourself to make it seem like everyone is talking about you! Fill in the IGNITE Grills the SA Candidates form with questions like “Why are you so perfect?” to yourself. Appropriate other manifestos or videos for your own campaign! Or have a catchy, motivational slogan that doesn’t say anything but is really just a few abstract words strung together. It’ll sound impressive regardless. Refer to Barney Stinson’s CV video for the tone you should be going for:
This guideline is guaranteed to help you win the SA Elections. After all, you will be the best candidate of all student associations of all universities of all nations of all timelines. We guarantee it. If it doesn’t, well, you probably didn’t follow it closely enough. Maybe you did the “don’ts” and didn’t do the “dos”. Or something.
At the end of it all, it boils down to this: be the candidate that people want. And what they want is someone overbearing, clueless, and outlandish, who doesn’t really care about them. Trust us. We know best. Remember that. And finally, to all candidates: may the votes be ever in your favour (cause that’s all you really need).
Written by Yee Heng Yeh
Featured image from imgflip