Monday, 4 August 2014

Wrongful allegations by pro-PAP Facebook groups.

Look! Who's that getting chummy with Lim Chin Siong?
I believe most people in Singapore are aware that propaganda is used here to legitimise the current government. But there's nothing so wrong in that. Propaganda is used in every country to varying extents to bolster a sense of nationhood. Actually, credit ought to be given to our current government for being more subtle than the earlier governments about promoting nationalistic feelings, and for their willingness to accept that, for Singaporeans to remain smart thinkers, some relaxation of control towards more freedom of thought is necessary.

However, as the title of this post suggests, some erroneous views put forward online are threatening these positive efforts. It's time to put a stop to the plain wrong information being presented as "facts" by the pro-PAP camp, lest we go one step forward and two steps backwards.

Here's the case in point. Recently, the pro-PAP groups have started criticising Ariffin Sha, a 17-year old, who has been vocal about his dislike of the PAP. Notably, he was a speaker at several protests at Hong Lim Park. They accused him of various things, disregarding the fact that he's just a kid. (But of course, it can be argued that since Ariffin put himself out there to speak up, he is expected to take such criticisms in his stride.)

In particular, there have been a few posts lately in which FLOP (Fabrications Led By Opposition Parties), perhaps in a deliberate attempt to justify its harsh criticisms of an outspoken kid, started associating Ariffin Sha and people in the opposition camp with Communism.

That's not all. They subsequently linked Communism to Terrorism. One of the posts even tagged the Singapore police and ISD, as if the ISD are not busy enough monitoring the pressing issue of spillover effects from the Mid-East conflicts.

I suppose Hong Lysa's meaningful post about the efforts to reconcile the left-wing with LKY's faction in the PAP has not been read enough. It looks like the pro-PAP camp are years behind in their understanding of Lee Kuan Yew and his party. This is an excerpt from Hong Lysa's blog post about the riots in Singapore in the 1950s.

The book referred to is this one, which includes a foreword by the man himself, Lee Kuan Yew. It is presumed that the ever-careful "Lao Lee" (Senior Lee), as he is called by the Chinese-educated Singaporeans of the older generation, would've checked the book himself before allowing it to be published. Therefore, the views in the book should be close to the official party line. 

Although the book makes clear that Communist sympathisers were involved in the unions, it is self-evident to any reader that the violence that took place was not engineered beforehand. It was, like the Little India riot in 2013, a situation that went out of control, too fast and too furiously.

If FLOP claims that what it presented is the factually correct version of events, then what does that make the different version of events given by LKY himself? 

It is in light of LKY's own ability to look beyond the prejudices of the past that makes the continued stubbornness of his party supporters to adhere to old narratives a surprise. 

Has propaganda been too successful? So much so that people in Singapore are now unable to move away from old modes of thinking, even when some members of the PAP have moved on? Or, is the PAP regretting the leeway that it gave to the former detainees and trying to do a backtrack via its "Internet Brigade"?

Far from providing a balanced point of view, like they claim to do, the pro-PAP camp is driving a deeper wedge in Singapore society. It is likely these people have been "conned" into thinking that their actions are legitimate because they are trying to balance the mis-information provided by the pro-opposition side. Yet they do not realise when they themselves have veered into the nebulous territory of half-truths, nonsense arguments and baseless allegations.

In what, to me, is something shameful for someone purporting to be a great supporter of our "founding father" Lee Kuan Yew, the relatively young founder of Fabrications of the PAP admitted that he cannot sing our national anthem. He doesn't seem to think that it's a problem. It is understandable that many older folks who were educated before anthem-singing became a norm in local schools may not be able to sing it, but the founder of the pro-PAP page does not belong to that older generation. In the same week, he went to find out obscure information about the personal lives of people close to the PAP, such as when Tony Tan's wedding anniversary is. And he posted about it with a touching celebratory note as though it were his own wedding anniversary, yet he neglected to celebrate Singapore wins earlier in the Commonwealth Games, such as our gold medal win in shooting.

It begs the question of whether these people who are speaking up for the pro-PAP camp are loyal to Singapore, or if they are only defending government policies to curry favour with the PAP and gain the benefits and prestige that come with supporting the party in power. Would they still support the PAP if it lost power? Would they still stay in Singapore if we were at war?

When I questioned why the wins of local athletes were not shared and celebrated, I received a snide reply from someone who works at A*STAR. Something along the lines of whether my comment meant that the pro-PAP group should be expected to post all the wins by Singaporeans in less important areas, such as winning the EVO, an international Street Fighter video game competition. (Singapore was the champion last year, but lost this year to Japan.)

Let me tell you this, it's the little things that matter the most.

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