17 December 2007

Hady did Singapore proud, part 2

Interesting political angles from Hady Mirza's Asian Idol victory. Full essay.


mr.udders said...

Just a comment on the "freak elections" thing you mentioned.

In Communitarian Ideology and Democracy in Singapore, Chua Beng Huat writes:

"During this brief period of confusion [after the 1984 general elections, where the opposition secured 37% of the total votes], a very significant characteristic of the PAP was disclosed or rather confirmed; namely, its deep scepticism towards common peoples’ ability to make rational choices. This was made explicit in the emergence of the concept of ‘freak elections’.

Lee Kuan Yew read the election result as indicative of the electorate using the vote to push the PAP government without the risk of toppling it (Lew, 1989). He then raised the ‘fear’ that such a strategy could produce a ‘freak election’ resulting in less than able individuals being inadvertently elected to govern, thereby threatening national welfare. The term frames and interprets votes for opposition as irrational: as the opposition is not worthy, relative to the PAP candidates, voting for it in earnest is irrational and consequently all votes for it are to be read as ‘protest’ votes based on emotions rather than reason. Within this frame, an election in which opposition parties come to form the government is presumed to be unintended by the electorate, it is therefore a ‘freak’, rather than a considered and rational choice.

Since then, the term has become part of the vocabulary of Singapore politics and fear of its possible realisation has become embedded in the consciousness of segments of the population". (22)

So maybe you may want to consider not propagating the idea of a "freak election", because it only reinforces what the state has been saying.

Anonymous said...

Viewed from a different angle, I think reason #5 would still apply even if the voting result is based on each country's percentage.

Judges' and media's favorites were contestants from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines. Knowing this, an Indonesian voter would not cast her second vote Malaysia's or Philippine's contestant, as they're considered as threats to her idol. Out of Vietnam's, India's, or Singapore's, she would most likely choose Singapore's due to combinations of Hady's good looks and race. Same thing for Malaysia and Philippines. Thus, Hady's position as a non-competitor has in fact become his greatest asset.

That's a non-political hypothesis of Hady's win. A political one is that Temasek owns a large part of Indonesia's Telkom :P

BTW I'm Indonesian, glad you like Mike's performance :)

The said...

Yes, agree with the above post. Whether it is by percentage or by absolute numbers, Reason #5 would be the most logical one for Hady's win. Not tactical voting - more like strategic voting. I reproduce my comment in your earlier piece below:

That Hady was a long shot was evident, even Hady never in his wildest dream thought he would win.

I don't think he deserves the win. YB also didn't think Hady is number one, although he is kind enough to rank him number two.

Hady won because of the voting system. Each voter is required to vote for 2 countries. So, how would a rational "patriotic" voter vote? One for the participant from his/her country and one for the the participant deemed to be the least threat - in other words - the lousiest and the worst of the lot. So, Hady ended up collecting all the second votes from all the countries because he was seen to be the "safe" bet - no chance of upsetting their own countryman.

Hady won by default. I think Asia Idol should change the voting system, otherwise this will happen again and again.

Just my $0.02