Monday, 8 October 2007

That's Democracy!

Last night I watched a fascinating documentary on television called Storyville: Please Vote for Me about a group of kids in China who were asked to vote for their next class monitor. At first, this idea was extremely strange to the Chinese kids and their parents, who are used to the one party system, but they soon caught on.

There were three candidates: two boys and one girl. One candidate, who has been class monitor for two years, wasn't about to give up his term without a fight. His dad suggested ways he could encourage the pupils to vote for him. For instance, his father, who worked for a rail company, offered everyone in the class a free trip. The kids had a wonderful time, however, the other two candidates weren't so thrilled because this meant losing potential votes.

It was time for a new strategy - dirty tricks campaign. The kids' parents encouraged them to list the candidate's bad habits. Unfortunately for the current class monitor, he had a list as long as my arm. Apparently his current autocratic method wasn't very popular with the kids. During their debates, the other candidates confronted him about his methods and argued that the class needed a change.

The kids' parents were just as competitive and wrote their speeches. The current class monitor even memorised his speech, which he delivered with flair. At the end of his speech, he offered his class mates more gifts.

After the election, the current class monitor won by a landslide.

It would seem that democracy is supposed to be a fair system for the majority to select people to represent their best interests. Yeah right! More like those who are good at political spin and can offer lots of "gifts" get to represent the people.

Long live democracy!