Sunday, August 28, 2011

FPTP and Information Loss

I hesitate to draw the conclusion that the majority of Singaporeans do not want TT as their president. This is akin to holding a contest amongst friends for the most-loved person and concluding that the losers are hated. 

The information provided by a FPTP vote is binary in nature. Each vote only tells us who a candidate most prefers, and nothing else. Perhaps he approves of all or some of the other candidates, just slightly less. Perhaps he disapproves of everyone, but he hates his choice the least. But such important information is destroyed and irrecoverable with a FPTP system.

My preference is for approval or Condorcet voting.

Entry Barriers and the Singapore Presidential Election

The spoiler effect may well have been the cause of Dr. Tony Tan's victory in the recent 2011 Singapore Presidential Election. I do not wish to comment much on this, apart from making the point that First-Past-The-Post voting systems have several disadvantages as compared to other more complex preferential voting schemes.

What I do find interesting is this: It is known that there are very high entry barriers to running in the Singapore Presidential Elections; these entry barriers manifest themselves first in the high standards required to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, and second in the hefty election deposit. High entry barriers act to deter and perhaps to impede alternative candidates from participating in the elections. Yet from this election it appears that allowing more candidates to participate actually improves the chances of victory for the establishment candidate.

Lowering the entry barriers allows more candidates to participate in the elections, and increases the fragmentation and splitting of votes (though tactical voting will limit the effect, but I despise the very idea of tactical voting). However, at the risk of adopting a binary view of the political system, I speculate that the establishment may be assumed to be sufficiently disciplined to put forth only one candidate, and hence is less susceptible to split vote effects. 

Therefore, I wonder if the governing party would be more advantaged if there were actually no entry barriers erected in place.

Idiot Spam

A bunch of idiots spammed my mailbox. Basicially these morons replied to all, when all was the entire student cohort. Below is the correspondence, their names are replaced to preserve their anonymity.

I am not sure why I got this mail. I guess there was a mistake in the mailing address from the sender.
Sorry, but guess I received the mail by mistake as well.
Please do not reply to all when u respond! This is for all those who at gonna potentially respond that "this mail is not meant for me"
So you mean I shouldn't hit reply-to-all when I wish to reply to the original sender?
That was really informative! =D
I'll be sure to send that to the original sender.
Best Regards,
Can we stop replying all? Thank you very much!
Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, August 14, 2011


"Is it even necessary? Everyone's a hypocrite, attempting to create some semblance of justification for what is, fundamentally, a series of arbitrary choices. Why the cowardice? Why the inability to act without having some rubber-stamp of approval?

Don't even begin to defend yourself. You can try, surely. But no matter how deep your defense, how much time you have spent imposing rigor into it, there must be flaws- unless you are arrogant enough to believe that your view, above all others, is supreme. Ludicrous.  The fact of the matter is that people don't act according to their principles, but that principles are created to justify their acts. They may believe otherwise, the self-serving creatures we are.

Discard those flimsy notions. Have confidence in your preferences, not because of some ridiculous reason created retroactively, but because they ARE your preferences. Nothing more is required."


Wednesday, August 03, 2011