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Samantha Boh
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Singapore

Debate over Young PAP video

Samantha Boh | Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The People's Action Party (PAP) posted a response to the video on Facebook:

Many of you might have watched the YP video clip from last year's Party Convention and have been discussing about it.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our YP activist for their tireless work on the ground over the years. We did not expect that our humble (raw and unpolished) in-house production would go viral like this.

We are proud of our YP folks, and what they have been doing on the ground; working hard to serve the people. Their effort was genuine and sincere. It reflects their spirit of activism - to serve our nation and to care for our fellow Singaporeans.

Thank you again YP for your courage, dedication and hard work! The idea was to get the People's Action Party's youth to talk about their hopes for the party and country.


 

Debate over Young PAP video

SINGAPORE - The idea was to get the People's Action Party's youth to talk about their hopes for the party and country.

But their serious messages, captured in a video clip that was produced by the PAP's youth wing, drew some sarcastic comments and sparked off discussions on its effectiveness.

Some netizens pointed out that the individuals seemed to be "reading from a script placed next to the videocam in some shots", while others likened them to "robots".

Titled "Re-ignite the Passion of Servant Leadership", the clip featured Young PAP members from branches across the island, who shared their aspirations for the party and the nation.

Some netizens commented on the way in which individuals in the video spoke in chorus.

Since the five-minute video was shared on Facebook page Must be Singapore on Sunday, it has garnered over 700 shares. It was first uploaded on a PAP YouTube channel three weeks ago.

Political observer Eugene Tan, an associate professor of law at Singapore Management University, said the video "lacks spontaneity, vibrancy and that strong connecting factor".

"If this was an attempt to use the video to recruit members, or if the video was an internal communication tool to motivate members, then it is unlikely to have the desired effect," he said.

The video also flashed the following messages: "Re-establish the emotional connect with Singaporeans" and "Re-enforce our heritage that we are the party for ALL Singaporeans".

But Prof Tan noted that it is hard to strike a balance between capturing the essence of the party and not coming across as a smooth corporate video. If the clip had been produced by an opposition party, it wouldn't have created such online excitement, he said.

Public speaking coach Benjamin Loh said the content was "not written and spoken for the man in the street".

"Phrases like 'balancing market forces and government intervention'... are definitely not used, or even heard, in a usual day-to-day context by the average Singaporean," said Mr Loh.

However, he added that there was "great effort leveraging social media and also featuring the leaders of the Young PAP".

But for some people like polytechnic student Cheryl Lim, the message was lost on her.

"It's too lengthy and I have no idea what the main point is," said the 20-year-old.

The video was produced for the PAP's Party Convention 2013, an internal event held last year.

samboh@sph.com.sg


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