With the SA Elections up and on its eager feet, we’ve employed a team of political analysts to assist in an exhaustive investigation and research on the candidates who are running, have ran, had run, had ran, were running, and (most contentiously) have had run for a post ever since the establishment of the SA. Some harboured lofty dreams of bringing in less than substandard cafeteria food, or of finally solving the issue of parking, wilfully denying 37.2% of the student population a source of inspiration for their daily complaints (based on this study). Others are perhaps less ambitious, harbouring dreams of getting through their term without once being lambasted on UNMC Expressions (though that in itself is an impressive feat).
However, through the meticulous and rigorous application of the scientific method, we’ve managed to concatenate the primary data and produce an extensive frame of reference for the categorization of potential office-holding personages in their natural habitats. Or one may call it ‘a listicle of the types of SA candidates’. Which goes a bit like this:
Young, fresh-faced, and optimistic, these are the candidates whose souls are not quite yet crushed, squeezed, and wrangled completely by years of impossible deadlines and bureaucratic demands. Believing wholeheartedly in the wisdom of the people and the integrity of the system, they campaign with bright hopes and a burning determination. However, the Fresher is typically forced to evolve quickly to survive in this ruthless jungle that is Semenyih, which brings us to…
One may identify this specific species by their wise, weary eyes, their inexhaustible list of contacts, and the perpetual smell of coffee (or Red Bull ®) on their breaths. The Veteran has seen it all, done it all, and survived it all. They do not revere the system, but nor do they fear or hate it; it is something one must simply put up with, they know, like a pet cat who abstains from viciously scratching you in exchange for its daily meal. Despite their haggardness, their words carry a certain gravity that one can’t but help be persuaded by.
These are simply Veterans who possess a superhuman immunity towards burning out, and are constantly equipped with enthusiasm, excitement, and event proposal forms. Their CVs, uncut and formatted in a 12-point font and single spacing, can take up to 32 pages. To be an Overachiever, it is customary for one to have been a club president and the organizing chairperson of two major events, acted as a course representative, be on the Dean’s list, taken part in an international competition, excelled in at least three sports, participated in every charity event, and be able to make a mean omelette.
The Candidate of the People
These are the ones who use the populist approach, the ones who are the everyday woman or man, the ones who know so many people it takes them 27 minutes just to get from the Core to F1 for the sheer amount of people they have to stop and make small talk with. Without an appeal that can’t not be denied to be not unlike Trump’s (yes, it’s a law ever since his inauguration that every article must mention his name at least once), they pledge to bestow the power of decision-making back to people, and to take back the SA from – who again? It doesn’t matter. Their hustings are notoriously difficult for IGNITE writers to cover, as the often-unprecedented volume of cheering and clapping have been known to make the roof fall down. Literally.
The Ingenious Marketer
Now and then comes along a candidate whose campaign is so infectious, so breathtakingly original, it wouldn’t be a far stretch to call them a genius. With irresistible catchphrases, pop culture references, phenomenal photoshopping skills, and even vote-gaining tactics (these are the ones who, too, like to live dangerously), they challenge conventional thinking, push boundaries, and take campaigning to a whole new level. They may or may not win the votes, but their contribution to our understanding of the possibilities of marketing will never be forgotten.
Characterised by erratic behaviour, outlandish comments, and a penchant for stirring up controversies, they delightfully toe the line between the virtuous and the unforgivable. Social media is the environment most conducive to their survival, allowing them to air absurd statements and make voters question whether they are actually running for a post. In more extreme cases, Jokers have been known to organise bank robberies with clown masks, kidnap and blow up mayors’ love interests, set fire to large piles of money, and wear the uniforms of nurses.
Easily detectable from a mile away by way of their grand, sweeping statements, the Promiser’s manifesto is also visually distinct, containing noticeable vagueness and worrying loopholes upon closer inspection under a microscope. In sterile lab conditions, a prominent epidermal marking also emerges – a pattern which spells out “I Don’t Actually Have A Plan”. Usually caught out during the intense questioning of the hustings, they also have the capability to evolve beyond their kind, through effort put into researching and surveying, as well as a resolve to actually commit to the post.
If you find that you don’t exactly fit into any of those categories, consider perhaps that all of us are three-dimensional, multi-faceted beings, who cannot be crammed under a single label. I regret to admit that this thrilling exposé is, after all, not actually a serious piece of investigation. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental. Or just, you know, based on a biased perception and gross over-misinterpretation of internet search results.
Regardless, in all seriousness, it takes an incredible amount of effort and commitment to even run for a post. God knows I’m barely able to muster up the willpower to put on socks in the morning, so all the more power to those who are willing to take on such a big role. And let’s not forget the fact that, here in UNMC at least, we’re allowed to critically discuss the candidates’ policies, the SA constitution, and the voting process, without getting arrested.
Finally, good luck, all the best, and may you be well and happy, to all candidates: past, current, or future. And again, remember: if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t force it on.
Written by Yee Heng Yeh
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of the editorial team at IGNITE.