Monday, 5 January 2015

The Real Singapore (TRS) Says that Neutral Singaporeans are Getting Tired of Anti-PAP Opinions


Compared to a year ago, opinion pieces slamming the PAP government would easily garner hundreds of likes and Facebook shares. It would also be widely commented. While I do not have the luxury of creating a comparative spreadsheet, a simple bit of investigative work by any curious reader will prove my point. Why is this happening and what does it mean?

It appears that after some time, TRS readers have grown tired of reading the same sort of anti-PAP articles, and while popular opinion pieces by the likes of Leong Sze Hian and Roy Ngerng continue to garner relatively more attention, anti-PAP article viewership has fallen evenly across all segments. This is not to say that the pieces written today are worse off than before, in fact I would say that they might even be better, more informed, more articulate. It is only a case of human nature to slowly turn off to the same things day by day. However, it's noticeable that scandalous articles such as those about Jover Chew or corruption cases or city harvest will still continue to receive very high readership. This is something we all know and can understand why. Additionally to clarify, if readers think I'm a PAP supporter or have some agenda writing this, please understand I'm only making an observation. Back to the topic, what does this all mean?

First understand that voting is emotional. Prior to elections, political parties fight hard to win the hearts of the people. If Singaporeans are at this stage seemingly apathetic to anti-PAP articles compared to a year ago, this would mean a harder time for the opposition to gain support. Note that I'm not saying they won't get support, but it will be decreased to a certain degree. I also want readers to note something equally important. TRS articles are read and shared by many more, possibly even 100 times more, than the people who comment on those articles. People who comment on anti-PAP articles are largely supportive of the writer. What these two things mean is that while TRS viewership continues to command the support of die hard opposition fans/anti pap fans, the significantly larger number of swing voters are becoming increasingly indifferent.

At the end of the day, these swing voters, which could easily make up 30% of the voting population, are going to vote based on their heart. They may be aware of the good and the bad of the PAP, but few of them possess the analytical and technical know-how to really decide which party has better and viable policies and services to offer, not just the nice-sounding ones. What this means is that they will vote based on whatever captures their heart in the last 3-5 months leading to the elections, with stronger emphasis being on the last 2 weeks. If TRS readers are, in general, growing apathetic to anti-PAP articles, the influence that these articles have on swing voters hearts will be diminished. To bring up a simple example, if Election Day was held during the Roy Ngerng saga, I'm quite sure that the PAP would have lost more votes compared to if it was held today. Hype plays a large role. Add to that the fact that the PAP are coming up with all sort of nice things to appease voters. While we cannot say what the election outcome will be, all these factors will play a part, even if in a small way, to diminishing the number of opposition votes.

Make no mistake that it can be very easy to believe that anti-PAP sentiments are high, higher than before, by reading TRS and the hateful comments being posted. The fact is that most of these anti-PAP commenters are usually the same people. To name a few, Ken Lau, William Lee, Allan Tan, Haziq, Vto PAP, etc. I doubt there's more than 50 regular PAP flamers, perhaps not even more than 30. That's a very insignificant number in the voting population. Of course it's also true that there are anti-PAP readers who don't comment, and perhaps don't even visit this site regularly. But compared to the number of swing voters which could easily number 1-2 million, I don't think we should hastily conclude the PAP is losing support by what we read on TRS. Take the xiaxua vs gushcloud saga for example, those articles were blasted left right and centre and liked/shared tens of thousands of times, many times more what anti-PAP articles usually get, and I'm saying to simply to show you that there's a very huge reading population out there that our anti-PAP articles do not seem to have gotten in touch with or captured yet.

Many TRS articles, in my opinion, have lost credibility because they come across as one-sided ranting. A large number of people usually skip these articles, not because they are bad articles, but because they've already seen these kinds of articles before. They know its just going to be another article that badgers the PAP. Such articles used to be popular because of the notoriety and empathy it had. People who hated the PAP needed such articles to feel understood and validated. Not anymore. For TRS anti-PAP readership and support to improve, writings must begin to take on a non-biased value-adding format. This means articles can be written by people who argue that the PAP is a lousy government, but must show that they are impartial and even-handed in their reasoning. They cannot carry on to give all-con-no-pro type of writings.

Additionally, such articles must value-add to readers by telling them something they didn't know before. It cannot be purely opinionated. These two things will serve to bolster the credibility and meaningfulness of the articles and keep viewership and support strong. Lastly, the community here needs to be more respectful to one another. A large number of commenters here seems to be enemies with everyone. PAP supporter they shoot, anti-PAP supporter they also shoot(but not as often), people writing about their hardship they shoot, people writing neutral articles also they shoot. When a person complains about losing a job, instead of showing encouragement, they say he deserves it for voting the PAP. Even commenters shoot themselves. And by the word 'shoot', I mean ad hominem attacks like calling the person stupid, no guts, insulting his father/mother, vulgarities, calling them Paul Lampards, without actually respecting his views and opinions and disagreeing in a polite way. And also calling the writer a coward for not revealing his identity when he posts something(There are of course, a few exceptions where it is justified). All in all, the culture and atmosphere here needs to change to one that is positive, intellectual, understanding, and mature.

We all know that elections are coming soon. I encourage anyone, whether a PAP support or opposition supporter, to take things to the next level by doing what you can to make sure that your party wins. And also please share your thoughts about what I have written in a friendly way. Good luck.

A Concerned Citizen

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