Dr Tony Tan has been elected Singapore’s seventh President, winning by a 0.34 per cent margin, or 7,269 votes.

He secured 744,397 or 35.19 per cent of total valid votes, while Dr Tan Cheng Bock received 737,128 or 34.85 per cent of the valid votes.

Anyway, many Game Theoretic applications and takeaways from this presidential election; from the initial (hidden) structuring/framing/gerrymandering, the subsequent announcements of candidacies, the drawing and redrawing of OB (out-of-bounds) markers during the campaigning, and finally to the actual voting and results tonight.

Like an auction-based signaling process, similar to the theory of Conjoint Measurement applied to event arbitrage outlined here:

Sigh, a bit sad.
Wrongly played by the anti-Estab crowd…what a pity.

2 thoughts on “0.34%

  1. I think TKL spoilt the party for TCB. People who voted for TKL are likely to be anti-TT.

    Most of TKL’s 4.9% would have been split between TCB and TJS and none to TT. Enough to swing the Presidency to TCB. If TKL hadn’t stood, TCB would have won by a margin of 2% or more, I reckon.

  2. Hi TS,

    Yes, that is one likely scenario. However, apart from an IF…THEN ELSE binary consideration of conditional events, where the choices appear to be clearly delineated and the progression from cause to effect natural and obvious, perhaps real-world events ocurring in real-time (or what in Numerical Analysis are called non-linear systems, especially of higher-order ‘unsolvable’ functions without real and distinct roots :P) are less black & white and rather more greyed and blurred with unclear boundaries.

    [now that I’ve got the bleahful and smart-alecky thing out of the way… Apologies! I ask for your full Senpai/Senior forebearance for this wayward junior.

    For instance, if TKL had not stood, perhaps then, in the mysterious way in which Cause & Effect work itself out in our real and Complex/Chaotic world, these changes in ‘initial conditions’ could have engendered subsequent effects which in turn will take events towards a wholly unexpected end, and very different from the expected outcomes.
    [for eg: if TKL’s candidacy and the words he spoke and the issues he raised during his campaign had not materialized in the first place, perhaps TT’s positioning and portrayal as the ‘govt-sponsored’ candidate would had been less acute and more undecided swing voters who eventually plumbed for the centre-of-the-road TCB, could had been swayed towards TT, resulting in an eventual (and still!) TT win of a larger margin than the razor-thin 0.34%.]

    What is really interesting to consider (but also entirely fanciful), is how given the chess pieces and board position we had from the outset (ie. the four candidates’ eligibility and nomination), can a strategy be weaved and moves taken in order to achieve what I thought would have been THE singular objective of the non-Govt-sponsored camps: to prevent the Govt-sponsored candidate from being elected as President.

    Perhaps, after the well-played move by the Powers-To-Be to issue certficates of eligibility to all four candidates (read: to dilute the expected high voting share against the govt-candidate, as evident from the May GE results and sentiment), the non-Estab camps should have clarified their objectives more. If indeed they had held a common objective to prevent the Govt-candidate from being elected as President, then careful deliberations could have been be made to achieve this.

    I have several in mind but all are of course, fanciful and contrived. For eg. TKL could have still stood and campaigned and said what he said to force the other candidates to adjust and position accordingly. Then withdraw, and leave the door just that slightly wider for the non-govt candidates.

    But again, trying to map and add probabilities across conditional events is a fool’s game…

    To make it really clear, I find the pro-Govt’s position and flip-flopping arguments that,
    (1) TT’s experience as GIC Executive Director is crucial for the Presidential role as custodian of the country’s reserves and
    (2) his deep (very deep and familial!) banking experience and mathematical+finance trained mind to be ideal for a President in helping Spore navigate tough seas in the gobal economy,
    to be without merit and selectively self-serving.

    Basically I find the idea of having a current senior officer of the sovereign fund managing our reserves, serving as the custodial/veto power of the very same reserves, to be absurd. If TT has been so effective as ED of GIC, then perhaps the country would be better served for him to remain at GIC.

    And this is not even addressing the transparency and accountability issues of the reserves for current and future generations of Sporeans.

    [But strangely, many Sporeans seem to be rather passive abt this issue. I had a hard time explaining to a friend, who normally would be very tenacious about his financial position and affairs but is uncharacteristically ‘trusting’ abt our national reserves, on how the transparency and accountability of the reserves should be central.

    I used the analogy of how the Norwegian SWF with its publicly disclosed audits and balance sheets, is behaving like a publicly listed company, or at least a private firm but with audited books fully available to shareholders/constituents.

    But our national reserves managers are behaving more like a closed-end private equity fund, with only a handful of GPs or general partners privy to the going-ons, and with the LPs or limited partners who are every single one of the 3 million Spore citizens, remaining painfully clueless. The saddest thing is that every dollar of these billion-dollar funds is funded by the ordinary limited partners/Sporeans whose investments/wealth transfer comes without a redemption clause, and the only (occasional) dividends received are paltry fractions of a penny on the dollar.

    And we know how the structure of PE firms work: benefits and rewards flow and accrue to the few General Partners; and the long-term result for funds which do NOT produce outsized returns to make up for the structured benefits flow favoring the GPs, will mean that the capital will eventually be drawn down and transferred TO the general partners FROM the limited partners. And if this is the case for real PE firms with real HNW sophisticated investors/limited partners investing with open eyes and with the benefit of expensive financial advice and with access to audited fund statements; for ordinary Sporean citizens who have no say and worse, no clue about these institutionalized and legislated processes, then…

    And for argument (2), you had the pundits and govt apologists in the national newspapers argue that, TT’s banking and finance experience is ideal for a President in helping Spore navigate the gobal economy, then just as quickly flip-flop to the other side to restrain the other candidates who were calling for a more independent and involved president, that actually under the constitution, the President has no executive powers and beyond the few limited custodial and veto roles, is purely ceremonial.
    Heh…too funny…

    I guess the only real observation we can make of the proceedings of this past month, as a paraphrase and bastardisation of the familiar chinese saying:
    Three unskilled cobblers are superior to one Zhuge Liang,

    is that:
    Three smart and meritocratic Raffles boys, will always still lose to a smooth (slickly Brylcreemed!) and well-connected Josephian.

    just jesting lah…

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