Bill Clinton in 1984 said “Because I had been preoccupied with the work of the presidency, I hadn’t organised, financed and forced the Democrats to adopt an effective national counter-message”.
This is something that the PAP should ponder abt. You and the PAP might think it strange that the PAP needs to pay attention to communicating with the voters (shareholders), given that the PAP have the money, spin doctors and the “constructive, nation building” media.
But the machine is broken. The default mode or reflex action, (taking the cue from MightyMind perhaps?) is to scold S’poreans for the mistakes of the government and voters; or the government. The people are always wrong, the government is never wrong.
Recently S’poreans got scolded because only a small number reported fake bombs to the police. If they had any brains, the governing party would have spun it: “S’poreans are so confident of the government’s security measures, that only a small proportion reported what could have been bombs. The government appreciates this level of trust, but pls remember that it only takes one careless mistake (and as the SMRT vandalism case showed even a GLC can goof) and there will be death and destruction. Security can always be improved. So pls be more vigilant, less complacent, and be grateful that neither VivianB , nor the Water Minister nor the CEO of SMRT is not responsible for security. Thank you.”
And take the recent bus fare fiasco. Because the spin doctors and MSM were so incompetent, commuters got so upset that a minister had to scold us, “Give the changes a chance before complaining” or words to that effect.
I for one am happy with the changes. True my usual bus journeys cost me 4% more per trip. But because of the way I’m charged, there are a lot of savings. Now I can take a bus to the hawkers’ centre for a quick lunch, and then continue to my end destination, all for the same fare. Likewise for shopping chores. And a quick round-trip to any shopping or eating place costs a lot less.
All the MSM and spin doctors needed to have said was, “Try the system for a while, before bitching”. Instead they told us 70% of commuters will benefit; and most of us found out that we were paying 4% more if we were not changing buses or using a combi of bus and MRT.
And remember that the CEO of SMRT scolded us when SMRT and the authorities were all evading responsibility for the lapse of security at an SMRT depot. We got told that we had to play our part in security? Like guard the train depots?
Going beyond scolding might make us more willing to put up with the mistakes of ministers like DPM Wong (if the “terrorist” floated out of S’pore undetected, Paki terrorists can float in), Mah Bow Tan (not building enough HDB flats, and infrastructure to accommodate FTs) and VivianB (Kiddie Games, welfare etc).
Who knows, it might make netizens more willing to listen to the PAP’s spin?
Scolding us is bad for you, PAP. Time to move on from a habit that is no longer accepted by S’poreans. [This sentence is an update on 22 Nov 2010. Also corrected some typos and reworked a sentence or two to tighten the prose.]