So the NSP has not gone into hibernation. It is co-organising this seminar entitled “How to Survive the Perils of the Online World?” . Pretty impressive speakers: three lawyers (one an academic, while another is a former president of the Law Soc and former DPP) and Cherian George. New NSP member, Ravi Philemon, ex-TOC chief editor, blogger, do-gooder and social activist is moderating. It should be an interesting, entertaining and educational do. Do try to attend, but make sure you park carefully*.
Traditionally the NSP (referred to by trolls as the “No Substance Party”) falls asleep after a GE, to waken just before the next GE. It happened after 1996 and even after 2001, when Steve Chia became a NCMP. He, and the NSP, didn’t build on that position for the 2006 GE. After the 2006 GE, it went into hibernation to be roused in 2008 by one Goh Meng Seng, who had joined NSP from the WP.
After the 2011 GE, GMS resigned from the NSP (a troll said he is a serial resigner from parties after GEs, having resigned from WP after the 2006 GE: if he set-up his own party, he would quit it after losing a GE.).
The expectation was that the party would go into hibernation what with internal disputes earlier this year.
Well the party has proven us sceptics wrong. It is walking the ground regularly in Tampines GRC. I hear Nicole Seah is doing something in Marine Parade GRC, Hazel and hubbie are wading in the North Western marshes and recreational farms, and Jeannette Chong is cycling (though there are trolls saying she is doing so to lose weight) in Mountbatten.
As befits a party with two scholars (Hazel and hubbie) and a lawyer (Jeannette), NSP is planning to do a policy paper entitled: “My Singapore: Identity, Population and Manpowe”’. To help it write the paper, is doing a survey. The survey format is undergrad stuff but it shows NSP is trying to solicit people’s opinion, not hectoring while ignoring them (PAP). Nor ignoring them, unlike WP.
It holds regular legal clinics to advise S’poreans. After Alex Au’s row with AG on his comments on a legal judgement, I had suggested to a NSP member I knew, and on Ms Chong’s FB wall, that maybe it should use one of its legal clinics to advise netizens on how to avoid upsetting the AG. It would have the additional advantage of getting some PR and goodwill from netizens. So maybe, I should get a bit of credit for this Saturday’s seminar? But easy to propose, organising isn’t so easy.
But more needs to be done. NSP’s website is pretty basic (Rumour is that GMS designed it). As at
time of writing 5th November, it didn’t even advertise ”How to Survive the Perils of the Online World?” on its website: this appeared on 6 November. But it is advertising a 2011 November event, I kid you not. So its online presence is even less than that of the WP or SPP, and miles behind that of the SDP.
The good thing is that with such a low starting point, there is no further downside. Can’t get any worse.
My suggestion to NSP is to anoint Ravi as online Czar, responsible for online strategy and delivery. He did a gd job at TOC, when he was editing the contents: claiming Han Seng Tong’s scalp, getting minister Shan say nasty things about TOC, and making KennethJ angry (Ravi didn’t publish his rants). Against that, Mrs Chiam has said nice things about TOC under Ravi’s editorship.
To conclude, NSP is shedding its “No Substance Party” image and the hibernation habit between GEs. But it has a long way to go in building its cred among voters. Giving Ravi the online portfolio will help built cred online. But NSP should make sure Ravi doesn’t skive when it comes to walking the ground: not because he needs to shed kilos, not juz pounds (he does) but boots on the ground are needed to win a seat (Juz ask auntie Sylvia, and he-man Steve Chia). Every member must do the walking or cycling.
*LTA might not be happy that Ravi is kicking up a big fuss over how LTA exercises its rules when an MP intervenes. He has also alleged that an MP had parked illegally.