In Voting

House Committee elections – they are often not discussed widely. At best they are a brief topic of conversation over meals in the dining hall, mainly casual spikes in interest in the selected candidates. Neither do they generate too much excitement within the House; they are set motions that each House has to go through. House Committees, mainly concerning themselves with small-scale social activities, may appear insignificant to some.

Yet, like beams of support, House Committees are fundamental to the structure of our college. They set the tone and shape the culture of the college by engaging the student body on the ground, on a daily basis.

The attendance for the elections this year has been uneven across Houses. For the Houses with lower voter turnout, it might be that indifference remains a normalcy – an attitude yet to be altered. As for the Houses with higher voter turnout, perhaps the awareness on the fundamentality of House Committees has materialised. Regardless, it seems that bits of apathy (particularly, its unthinking strand) still lingers subtly in evolved forms.

For those who attended the elections as members of their House, this might have been you, the one who utilised his/ her vote:

You listened.

There was a sequence of speeches, each began with personal descriptions of selves, personalities and qualities. Intrigued, you were all ears. Then, followed by the declaration of promises and fulfilment of roles. The first candidate seemed promising. The second was pretty good, encapsulating all that the first had mentioned. The third, similar to the first two, was still bearable. The fourth, you probably already tuned out.

Unless your friend was speaking, surely you had to show some support.

You pondered.

You thought about the one who was most confident, oozing charisma and gusto. You remembered the friend you had already promised to vote for beforehand. You considered the awkward, relatively less convincing speech you heard.

Some of you might have contemplated over “bigger” issues like the dynamics within the team, the true potential of the individual, and possible future initiatives…?

Perhaps, you skipped this step all together. That’s fine; you are your own person.

You voted.

With decisions made, your next House Committee was a done deal. Your vote went to the one with the best-articulated speech, with the loudest applause or, maybe, it went to your friend. Perhaps, you voted for the candidate who looked the most accountable. Whichever the case, congratulations on a fruitful House Committee election.

These are a few common markers of capabilities used by voters at this year’s House Committee elections: confidence, appearance, friendships. They are qualities that could influence our perceptions extensively, causing us to act almost unthinkingly. There isn’t a right or wrong to deciding which markers one should adopt. All markers of capabilities are, in their own ways, valid yet different – a difference that is of degree and not kind.

However, a vote is essentially an indicator of choice and hence, an extension of you. Like in every act of decision-making and choosing, you reveal something about yourself – character, preferences, and expectations. As an extension of you, was your vote authentic? Was it a vote grounded and guided by your own character, expectations and sense of rational judgement?

Were you your own person?

Decision-making chapters are aplenty.

Albeit differing in scope and purpose, these decision-making chapters share in essence: an(other) opportunity to be your own person – whatever this may mean for you.

Thumbnail image by Norman Ng.

About the Author
A molten, malleable mishmash of things one too many. Eunice is very much a work in progress.