OTP Series* VI: Why Are Netizens Always Against Us?

Why are netizens always so against PAP, YPAP Chairman Teo Ser Luck lamented recently.

Highlighting a few examples, Teo said that a Facebook post by a member of an opposition party garnered “a lot of likes and hero worshipping” but a similar message by a member of the ruling party would result in criticism.

Such instances, he said, came down to how different groups of supporters view the PAP in a different light, with some looking at the party more than the individual, reported Today. However, the negative feedback could also be a reflection of feelings on the ground as some policies could have adverse effects on Singaporeans, he said.

Mr Teo, here’s three reasons why:

1. You suppressed the heavy criticism of the PAP in the mainstream media for 50 years. Don’t believe me? The evidence is all there on websites that compile the unpublished letters to ST Forum.

But suppressing something doesn’t make it go away. Now that we have the Internet– something you can’t suppress– why are you surprised that such heavy anti-PAP feelings exist?

You’ve tried to deny it, you had Goh Chok Tong even taking well-meaning critics like Catherine Lim to task, and now you wonder why people “like” opposition and not PAP.

2. I do not know what is the “similar” message that you claim will have different reactions if delivered by PAP and “opposition” members. But I’m pretty sure “opposition” members have never called for more foreign “talent”, million-dollar minister pay, more crowded trains and buses, etc. So it is unlikely they would deliver “similar” messages.

Notwithstanding the above, I do agree with you that the PAP member is more likely to be boo-ed online while the “opposition” member would more likely be cheered, even if they delivered “similar” messages.

Why? Because PAP is perceived as serving its own interests and not the people’s interests, of being “deaf” to criticism, dishing out “hard truths”, never having to take responsibility for “honest” mistakes and “learning experiences”, and always wanting to “move on”.

3. Why are you surprised that critics “look at the party more than the individual”? That’s the whole essence of politics!

If we had a balanced political system here, you will find that there will be enough critics to go around all the parties, PAP won’t have a monopoly. Believe me, in the US there are as many anti-Republican as there are anti-Democrats, whether online or otherwise. Ditto, there are also as many pro-Republican and pro-Democrat supporters battling it out in online forums.

But because PAP has refused to allow deep, genuine criticism to manifest itself in the mainstream media for 50 years, what you’re seeing online now is 50 years’ worth of bottled-up criticism.

PAP has no supporters online because it has refused to allow a proper feedback mechanism to develop. As a result, its party leaders have become disconnected, and alienated the population.

The only reason PAP is still in power is because the “opposition” has not yet been able to put together a strong team to challenge the Cabinet. People have voted PAP not because they love PAP, but because they have had no viable choice.

That is why PAP has no friends online, and that is why people do not go around “hero-worshipping” PAP members online.

*OTP = Out of Touch Party. This is an occasional series to provide commentary on how PAP is out of touch with Singapore

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Someone who sees beyond PAP and "opposition" in Singapore politics. To understand more please see the Top 10 link below.
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