Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make. I, your obscure yet more or less frequent columnist, am in love with Ms. Shaina Santiago. This article is partially an ode to her person, a wonderland of prettiness and kind humor that the university might soon have a share of, in the event that she wins as USC chair in the upcoming elections.
As a friend, I have known Shaina for quite a while now. Beautiful and extremely nice, she’s basically a breathing specimen of likability. As a third year representative, she’s done her work quite efficiently in the required text brigades and as for her being the institute representative to the USC, well I don’t know much about that.
Before I go on to the next snappy paragraphs of this post, I just want to set the record straight that this is not black propaganda against her. I personally know this girl and I have quite an idea of what she’s capable of.
But given the prospect of her running and actually winning, let me just say that I have my doubts. Though there are many valid reasons as to why one would vote for her, as an AIT student, here are certain premises that are too simplistic come the time that we actually have to vote for a USC chair.
I will vote for Shaina on the premise that she is my friend.
I will vote for Shaina on the premise that we come from the same college and it will be something we will be collectively proud of.
I will vote for Shaina on the premise of needing to prove a point- that a minor college can have a voice in the USC.
I will vote for Shaina on the premise that she is the beautiful underdog in this race.
Come on guys, she deserves better reasons than this.
What am I saying? Nobody should vote on these premises alone, at least when we’re being rational. Of course everybody is entitled to their own private or public standards when they vote and maybe friendship is a valid premise. Hey, people can even vote according to gut feeling or the appeal of a charming speaker or some actual or imagined relationship with the candidate.
But given that there is much more at stake than our feelings, say legitimate student representation in the context of the university and beyond, should we really stop ourselves from questioning a candidate’s capabilities based on our relationships and feelings?
Actually, not questioning them at all would be the worst thing we can do. The Shakespearean paradox says it all: “I have to be cruel to be kind.” When we just let them be even if we know that something is wrong even at the get-go of their campaigns, there is a possibility that we might be hurting them in the long run — we leave them ignorant when there are issues that could have been tackled and strengthened their platforms. Or maybe I’m just the insufferable idealist.
Let the light shine on Shaina’s campaign
So how will Shaina’s campaign go? I don’t know yet but she better do a good job. Here’s why.
In her past positions, she hasn’t needed any votes outside AIT. Sure, everybody knows her in the institute but even our solid votes would hold little sway in the numbers game for the whole university. Even yellow colleges might be hesitant to vote for her without active endorsement from the party itself — though this is something KAISA would obviously do.
It’s gonna be a game of increasing influence and having a great image. Shaina’s got the looks but has she got the wits to survive the heckling and debate? I hope so. Her views on salient issues will come out and she will be judged in each classroom that she goes into. And that’s if it’s a good day. There’s nothing worse than being forgotten.
KAISA also needs to campaign smarter this year. If you go back to the petty premises earlier in this article, I decided to write them down because all except the last were used in promoting Chorva David in AIT in last year’s elections. For me, these premises were very annoying because they didn’t really talk about how capable Chorva was as a leader, but that ultimately we AIT students should have voted for him on the basis of sentiment.
Another hurdle are obviously the other candidates running for chair too. Aman Melad under Stand UP, Martin Loon running independent and Heart Dino under ALYANSA , as far as I know, are incumbent USC councilors. Heart was first in the number of votes and Aman was 6th. I simply don’t know anything about Martin Loon, except that he might divide the STAND UP votes, giving either Heart or Shaina a window of opportunity.
This is difficult for Shaina again because her present influence in the university is superficially more unclear compared to that of her opponents. They already did university-wide campaigns. In terms of affiliations, Aman has his fraternity, APO, which is considerably prevalent in the university. Heart has UP Babaylan, an organization that is holding itself up quite gloriously in fighting for the causes of the LGBT. Shaina has UP Red Cross, which, though a household name and with many worthy causes, hardly deals directly with obvious political and student concerns.
Why Shaina? Well, why not?
Maybe KAISA simply chose her because she showed a lot of potential in the party. Maybe the university will see this too. It might — again through a well planned and executed campaign. Maybe she will win because her platform will be flawless or at least ass-kicking enough to actually work in getting what our university wants. Maybe the idea that she is quite an unknown would have its own appeal — that she’s the shining yellow option over the others that were tried and tested yet were unsatisfactory.
Saying all this stuff, will I vote for Shaina? Let’s just say that I need more convincing. After all, I don’t need to fall in love with the next USC Chair. Or have I?