Monday, November 02, 2009

Quick thoughts on PAP Party Convention 2009

If you all have been paying attention to local news, you all should be aware that the People's Action Party (PAP) recently held their 2009 Party Convention.

And to an observer of local politics such as me, one of the most interesting announcements that came out of the Convention would evidently be Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong's announcement that the PAP has already identified a slate of new electoral candidates who are mainly in their 30s and 40s and of whom some have the potential to become office-holders or Cabinet ministers.

This announcement by PM Lee is interesting on two levels.

Firstly, in light of how the PAP leaders have repeatedly said that the PAP's next candidate for Prime Minister after PM Lee will ideally be an individual in his/her 30s during the next election, it is highly likely that someone in the abovementioned slate of new candidates will be groomed as the PAP's next candidate for Prime Minister.

Hence, I suppose that when they are revealed to the public, Singaporeans, the media and political observers will again indulge in a guessing game to guess who amongst this slate of new candidates will become the PAP's next candidate for Prime Minister. Of course, I too will most likely participate in such a guessing game when the time comes.

Secondly, although the next election can be held latest by 2012, this announcement by PM Lee regarding a slate of new candidates can arguably be interpreted as a suggestion that the next election may be held earlier than 2012.

Indeed, combining this announcement by PM Lee together with his remark about PAP party activists having to be prepared for more contests during the next election, it does appear as though an election will be occurring soon and the PAP is already getting ready for it.

Hence, seen in this light, the prominent utilisation of the new media during the Convention can arguably be interpreted as a "dress rehearsal" by the PAP to employ the new media as part of their campaign strategy during the next election.

[Aside: Talking about the PAP's use of new media, I must say that while I acknowledge the effort put in by the Young PAP team to produce their recruitment video, the video still nonetheless, in my opinion, seem to be an unimpressive adaptation, if not mimicking, of the original video.]

Finally, PM Lee's remark about the "symbiotic" relationship between the PAP and the NTUC, as reported in this 《联合早报》/Lianhe Zaobao article, also got me raising my eyebrows as I read it, especially since I have doing some reading up on state-union relations in Singapore for a term paper I have been working on.

Specifically, in translation, this was what PM Lee reportedly said:

"If one closes one eyes, it is virtually impossible to distinguish between whether it is NTUC delegates or PAP members who are speaking. This is because the PAP and NTUC speak in one voice."

"A lot of those who are in the PAP are also in NTUC. Eventually, many of those who are in NTUC will also become PAP members."

[Note: In his original remarks, PM Lee referred to NTUC delegates as "those wearing 'U' polo tees", with 'U' being the logo of NTUC, and PAP members as "those wearing all white attire", with an all white ensemble being the standard "uniform" of the PAP.]

Evidently, while the above remarks by PM Lee may be benignly interpreted as just PM Lee enthusing about the closeness of relationship between the PAP and NTUC, I cannot help but wonder if it is healthy that one cannot differentiate between the voice of the PAP and NTUC if one closes one's eyes...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My family severely regreted our purchase of insurance from NTUC INCOME due to their spendthrift ways. See for what I mean

My parents also regret voting for PAP. The PAP admin has let so many foreigners in such that I can't afford a flat while PRs speculate with HDB prices.

My view? Bring on the election, I will support any opposition all the way. PhD is not needed. I would vote for a Primary school grad if he has a heart.

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