Apr 15, 2008

Online Election Campaigning Leads to Corruption. Huh?

Here's PM Lee spouting mysterious words again:
ST April 14, 2008
Laws must keep up with changing new media, says PM
But any loosening up will be handled cautiously, he adds

THE new media is changing rapidly and Singapore's laws must evolve to keep up, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

But any loosening up will be done carefully.

Otherwise, misinformation and extremist views could proliferate.

Politics might also become tainted by graft if parties have to spend large sums to campaign online, he warned.
I wonder what that is supposed to mean.

It is very difficult to see how one can spend large sums of money campaigning online. In Malaysia's recent elections, the Internet played a huge role in influencing voters. Yet practically all the Internet activity took place via Blogger, Wordpress, Youtube and other completely free Internet platforms.

Contrast this with campaigning offline. You would have to spend money printing and distributing posters; placing advertisements in traditional newspapers; hiring lorries and drivers to ferry candidates around the country to meet the electorate; and making large-scale logistics arrangements for election rallies. That won't be cheap.

Anyway, suppose we accept PM Lee's strange logic - that politics might become tainted by corruption if parties have to spend large sums to campaign online. It must then follow that since traditional, offline campaigning costs much more money, it is even more likely to lead to corruption.

Then we wonder - how come this seems to be an issue in Singapore only? After all, election campaigning occurs in every democratic nation on this planet. In fact, campaigning is a necessary part of the democratic process. Yet no one ever seems to says that democracy breeds corruption.

No one except PM Lee, that is.
Current laws disallow the making and distributing of party political films.

During campaign season, political parties are not allowed to put audio or video-casts on their websites.

Mr Lee warned that Singapore would suffer if elections came to be fought through expensive online films and advertisements.

'If a party needs money, many people are willing to donate, but these political contributions never come with no strings attached. After you win and come into power, the donors will turn up politely to 'collect their dues',' he said.
Oooh, I see. PM Lee is worried about expensive online films and advertisements.

So, hypothetically speaking, suppose an Opposition candidate merely uses his own cheap, lousy video camera at home to film his own speech, and then he posts the video on Youtube, where it is widely viewed by Singaporeans. PM Lee shouldn't be worried about that, should he?

Heheh. Well, think what you like. And draw your own conclusions. Mr Wang is only here to encourage you to think.


Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

Don't you know the danger of using YouTube to post political messages. You know YouTube is owned by Google. When you post video on it, you must be grateful to Google. When you get elected, Google will come and ask you for favour you!

How boh dou Mr Wang, can you a law trained graduate from a top rate local University not see the logic? Huh. Can't you see!

After all these training we PAP have given you and you still don't understand the greatness of our policy!

That's why we have a top rate World Class University trained with a helicopter visioned PM who can see such a danger!

Anyway we PAP will never be corrupted by foreign MNC agents, despite them sponsoring our party through their investment in factories and businesses.

You see we only give them seats in the National Wage Council so they can influence our workers' wages but never the Party's government pay pocket. That's why the PAP government is incorruptible!

Anonymous said...

When one is paranoid, and doesn't matter who you are, all kinds of strange thinking, reasoning and speech happens. Nothing to be surprised, it is part and parcel of it.

Anonymous said...

'the donors will turn up politely to collect their dues'.

Have those donors of the PAP Successes all these years finish collecting their dues? Are receiving Parties obliged/obligated to return favours? How are favours justify and what are their extenses?

I asked, but will I have answers?


Anonymous said...

Joker Lee opt to keep his bloody mouth shut if his father will to continue to leave a blissful life through exploitation of citizens. Otherwise in no time, LCY will die of heart attack.

LCY: Son, stop rambling rubbish. I thought I senile enough, but you talk worse enough. Just take your million dollars paycheck and stuff your fuc@#$king mouth and don't be talkcock, sing song again ! You be the death of me in no time !

Clown Prince: Father, It's me again. What to do ? It happened.

Now let disprove any of following lies.

Lie #1:
"Current laws disallow the making and distributing of party political films."
Really ? When election come near, you always see PAP using mainstream media and TV, radio boardcast the history of Singapore and how PAP buildup Singapore. Full force of propaganda at work. Promising small carrots to citizen and they themselves taking big carrot out of citizen after election.

Lie #2:
"During campaign season, political parties are not allowed to put audio or video-casts on their websites."
Really ? Then why is the LKY, LHL keep appearing and similing in the TV most of the time when election near and then threaten the citizen of their own self-made relevation ? Why this clown keep appearing ? Please ask them to get out of my "elite uncaring face" during election

Lie #3:
"Mr Lee warned that Singapore would suffer if elections came to be fought through expensive online films and advertisements."
Really ? Now Joker Lee really affirm and admit that Singapore = PAP = government just like he affirm that he is going to be PM for next 13 years ! Yes, he is talking about PAP as Singapore will suffer great-time after all only the coffers can use our hard-earn money to squander on their propaganda shitty resources

Lie 5:
'If a party needs money, many people are willing to donate, but these political contributions never come with no strings attached. After you win and come into power, the donors will turn up politely to 'collect their dues',' he said."
Really, many people are forced to donate with no choice and with no voice. They are collected as price hike through GST increase, ERP gantries to fund PAP's propaganda activities. How true he is saying about his party of collecting their dues through GST increase, salary increase, Tax and More TAX.


Mercia said...

I seriously wonder how many people would have read that article in one breath and decided it actually made sense. That's not so much a rhetorical question - if someone didn't reflect on the article, would it be that hard to accept it at face value?

How difficult is it not to buy into the government's rhetoric? Would a reasonably intelligent but uninformed member of the public find the article's logic appealing in some way?

alex said...

sorry mr wang, based on PM Lee's sayings, your blog is fallacious and distributing wrong info to Singaporeans. shut it down!!

"Mr Lee expressed concern on how Singaporeans are using the new media to disseminate news and information without sufficient understanding of the political motivation of the sources."

Kaffein said...

Another fantastic piece of analyzing. In the past (30 years ago?) where information sharing is so remote and uncommon, semi-educated people tend to accept such speeches. After all, what do farmers, labourers and fishermen know?

In modern day politics, such a speech will immediately be 'gunned' down by the oppositions and published throughout the internet community.

I'm quite sure he's not ready to accept the power of the online world. With such words like these, how to have credibility? There are so many loopholes and disconnect in his speech that I was amused (as written in p65 blog comments).

How can you reach to millions of people if not by internet (or other medium in near future)?Offline campaigning is so much more expensive, does he not know? Oh I forgot, he has billions to spend.

Even record companies, movie-makers all publish their trailers and 15-sec songs to capture the wide audiences. Is he or his scholars thinking at all?

The truth is the government is not prepared for this new medium. Just like the GE2005. They were not prepared oppositions are using podcasts, etc so they use the 'let's clamp it down' method. Couple of years down the road, you would have thought they would understand the power of the online world (with your nextdoor neighboour as a very good recent example). And you would have thought too that the scholars and MPs have gotten their acts right in using this powerful medium for better and effective communication and interaction. I mean we paid for their education right?

Ah the irony of it all. It's another case of mee-siam-mai-hum.


Anonymous said...

Said Mr Lee: "In fact, if we test people's understanding of policies, I think even news workers and PAP MPs might not pass."

you people won't understand.

Anonymous said...

Stupid remarks void of logic and relevancy. Only shows they are getting desparate trying to demonise any counter arguments to their immorality on the internet. The whole system has to be over-hauled and the process will be long and arduous. Come on Singapore, we need to Think before we vote.

Dennis said...

PAP leaders sure been acting and saying strange things and presenting weird logic to the people. From Vivian - two meals a day is enough, to WKS - Mas Selatan escape, to LKY - complacency of all citizens and now this from LHL. What gives?!?

They have only 2 strategy for the public now. In recent years it is either no-comment state secret classification silence or the current illogical statements from them.

Either they can't think straight (which I don't think they are) or they are so out of touch and arrogant that they expect us(the public) to swallow anything they shovel around blindly.

Alan Wong said...

Again he is not being smart by making such illogical comments.

I just wonder where does PAP's funds for election campaigning comes from.

Is he speaking from his own real life experience eg. such as bailing out failing financial institutions ?

I think he owe us a further clarification, not just matter-of-fact comments.

Anonymous said...

Bro kaffein is right. Another case of mee siam mai hum. The Ministers don't write their own speeches. They just verbalise them.. Its the FIHL educated elite Admin Service chappies who do the drafts apple polished up by the DS/PS what ever ass... Were that this was a deliberate sabotage. Incidentally, this must have been one of the scintillating gems to surface from the detailed post mortem of the recent Malaysian GE.

A Gong on the Dock said...


Sorry Mr Wang, too funny!

Ok ok so expensive elections campaigns will lead to corruption is it?

So last few elections, PAP spend only SGD500 each? Hehe how much is defined as "cheap" and "expensive" lah?

Maybe PM will want to release a list of the donors to PAP camapigns, and get CPIB to look through these people's files to make sure they have not gotten any Government and GLC/TLC contracts for 5 years after the election (full term mah). Like this then is confirm no corruption. PAP all white one, no scared you check.

Sorry ah, but his logic just escapes my unelite face, er, brain.

Anonymous said...

Lately he has been making somewhat unwise spoutings eg about his own MPs not understanding policies (but how does that make them able to explain policies to voters I wonder?).

His warning about having to spend large sums to campaign online shows he is somewhat out of touch with reality (but that has already been proven with his 'mee siam mai hum' analogy). But, having said that, I think he has something up his sleeves to better 'managed' or 'tightened' the online campaigning in the next election, having seen what happened up north. You can expect his people to come up with a reason to do so, no matter how ludicrous.

recruit ong said...

Mercia: I seriously wonder how many people would have read that article in one breath and decided it actually made sense.

as an undergraduate, i find reading the local media a painful thing. Especially when it comes to reporting on PAP politicians and the things they say. I get the feeling the reporters are trying very hard to make sense out of nonsense. In marketing there is this saying - all the PR cannot save a bad product, hahaha

The other thing of interest let slipped by the PM is political funding - it just reflects back on the PAP and begs the question of how is the PAP being funded? Corporate donations? A monthly contribution from members? Apparently PAP members are paid for doing party work. So where does all the money come from? When a party controls the gahmen so tightly for decades, will there be instances where state resources get channeled towards party agenda? Where are the checks & balances?

In malaysia they call this money politics, i suspect the situation in SG may be the tip of the iceberg. Just thinking...

yamizi said...


You're cheeky sia. =)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Alan Wong that PM Lee owes the public further explanation to the following:

1. How did PM Lee perceived the graft (corruption) to come about as he had said? Is it through his personal and/or Party experience in the past? If so, did he or the PAP accepted such money and had reciprocated to those donors in deeds or favours?

2. Did PM Lee or PAP received any donation whatsoever, knowing that were likely to lead to graft? If so, then why did he or PAP accepted such donations? If not, then why did he make such presumptions?

onekell said...

I find propaganda in the news increasingly insulting to the intelligence.

Besides that, the insidious message is that they are planning to clamp down on bloggers soon.

I wonder what bloggers can do to preserve their civil liberties and freedom of speech online.

Anonymous said...

'If a party needs money, many people are willing to donate, but these political contributions never come with no strings attached. After you win and come into power, the donors will turn up politely to 'collect their dues','

NEVER WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED! NEVER! Straight from the horse's mouth. Just wondering who their donors are.

Gary Teoh said...

...not singapore would suffer... but instead pap would suffer if online campaigning is allowed.This PM has so low mentality how to be an effective leader, I wonder who appraise his performance ?

Anonymous said...

Mysterious words indeed.

We are not that dumb.

Anonymous said...

This bunch of highly paid politicians have been making all sorts of weid claims. They must be desperate and out of their depth.The shock of Mas Selamat escape followed by the ruling party disastrous showing in the recent Malaysian GE have scared the shit out of them.

Anonymous said...

we need to analyze what LHL is trying to say.

1. He knows there is a lot of anti-PAP blogs around.

2. He knows he'll never manage to have an many pro-PAP blogges as the anti-PAP ones.

3. So he must have thought about this with his advisors and they must have said something like, "if we can create a critical mass of pro-PAP media on the net, we'll just legalize online political advertising so that we can throw money on this thing and create a wide online exposure."

That's my take on what he's trying to do.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang is correct to say that we should start thinking. Especially for those who value and appreciate other viewpoints.

PM Freudian slip is ominous. Perhaps, he has not figure out just yet how to deal with this internet bogeyman. He may have hinted the possibility of some more drastic form of ban on internet usage. Or a new "drift net" law on internet bloggers/uploaders.

We should indeed start thinking. Hopefully, the openness afforded by the internet is not so easily curtailed by political self-interest.


Anonymous said...

One party
One mind
One voice
One way

Nuff said.

Miao said...

Our politicians are afraid of the power of the Internet. One who has substance and talent does not need to fear.

Anonymous said...

Here's something I'd really like to share, a story concerning Sen. Barack Obama's meeting with Marc Andreesen, cofounder of Netscape, way back in early 2007:
The Coming Digital Presidency

Frankly, I think this trend is inevitable, and that the prospect scares our dear leaders a great deal. The last thing they want is that information is easily and openly exchanged by the population on a large scale, especially during an election cycle.

Trial balloons have been going up every once in a while now as they search for a politically acceptable way to legislate against this.

Pkchukiss said...

The odds aren't in the PAP's favour if we're talking about campaigning on the Internet. Just go to Sammyboy's alfresco cafe, or any current affairs forum at a Singaporean site, and you can see a lot of things that don't speak favourably of their party.

Even their secret campaign to "right the misconceptions" about the party doesn't appear to be working. The Youth PAP blog posts rhetoric and arguments that don't make sense, and the recent electoral upset in Malaysia has left the PAP executive nervous about a possible "perfect storm" that would rock their grip on power.

I infer from the article that, rather than take the chance with democracy, the PAP would rather go all out to attempt to discredit the Internet platform as a democracy tool, hoping to reduce the impact of non-government controlled news and opinions. If they can manage to keep the bulk of campaigning to the "nation-building" local media, they are better able to control the news that is shown to the electorate. It's their home ground! To make it even harder for Internet campaigning to take root, they introduce rules under the appearance of "wanting fair elections".

Anonymous said...

George says:

Verbal diarrhoea - first on Tibet, now this - after the deafening, quiet as a mouse silence over the Mas Selamat Escape.

Is he really the local PM?

Humiliation of the green Peesai said...

Internet campaigning will have little effect on the vote for the next election at least. The bulk of PAP supporters, the "pre-65ers" are still very much alive and shunning the internet.

The new voters are split fine along "for" and "against" the PAP. In a compulsory voting system, the PAP surely win hands down with the internet agers split while they retain their non-internet home ground advantage.

Their worry will be 10 years later when many of their hardcore "pre-65ers" mostly non-internet core passess on. Their advantage will be servely reduced. Their vote count will probably come to 50+% instead of the current comfortable 60+%.

Malaysia was because the home ground non-internet core was more passive this time, and did not go to vote. While the internet savvy guys organised themselves better and got supporters off their asses from the screen to vote. The difference is huge.

But still for the next 2 elections, I don't think the PAP will lose any seats. Singaporeans, heh.

Gary Teoh said...

it is good to have a 2 party system so that pap would not be arrogant.So may be in 2011, we vote in 10 to 15 opp MPs, and 2016 vote in 30 MPs to deny pap 2/3 majority and then 2021, to have 2 party system.That is what we want to see.

Conceicao said...

This so-called internet storm is over rated. When the next election comes, all that the PAP needs to do is to enact a few more legislations to prevent competition, and once more it will be returned to power. And then what can citizens do about their right to vote being stripped? Since unlike the Malaysians, we are too afraid to even join peaceful protests and speak up for our rights, no change will come. While I am not suggesting people should then take to the streets, the gist remains that the answer lies not at the ballot box, because surely the lightning party foresaw that freak outcome and have contingencies in place. Then how, leh?

Deja said...

Seriously, we can all talk about 'voting in some opposition' as much as we want. How many of us, really, are in a position to do so? Take myself for example, should my house suddenly fall into Marine Parade 'Constituency' once again, as I live relatively close to MP, then guess what? No chance to vote again because of walk over. With the constant re-drawing of the GRC boundaries, and the existence of such a ridiculous system in the first place, the PAP will never lose the crucial seats they need to remain in power. The point is not about topping the PAP, but to remind them that they are not bigger than the nation. Looks like by the next election, as a Full Singaporean Citizen, I will once again not have a chance to 'vote with my feet'

I oso Peesai said...

Mr Wang, PM's words and logics, claims are easily checked.

Just send a little invite over to Sin Chew Jit Po or New Straits Times. Let them ask their opposition members who conducted the "internet revolution". How much funds did they spend on internet campaigning? How much do their counterparts not on internet spend on non-internet campaigning?

From there, the results will be very clear. So, instead of the scholarly debate and hypothesis of whether internet campaigning is more expensive or actual campaigning is, let's get the real world facts.

Then we will know for sure, whether PM is indeed wise. Or he is indeed talking cock.

Anonymous said...

Ah, well. I suppose "embrace change" is yet another concept that applies only to the unwashed masses, but not the ruling elite.

DOM the Clown said...

He had low blood sugar!!! Someone get this horse a bucket of sugar cubes please!!!

Anonymous said...

This comment only shows one thing - that PM Lee is disconnected from the realities on the ground.

Since when did online content become expensive to produce? Who told him that, or gave him that impression?

Is it because he has been up in the ranks for too long to understand what's happening at ground level? I wonder if he knows how much a pack of rice currently costs?

And I don't see how a connection can be made between online advertising and graft.

Usual Suspect said...

I'm appalled. This is simply atrocious and I won't stand for it.

'...but these political contributions never come with no strings attached.'

tsktsktsk....double negatives in a sentence. Hahaha...

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. Would T.T Durai happened to be one of PAP's donors in the past? (wink)

Anonymous said...

[Since when did online content become expensive to produce? Who told him that, or gave him that impression? ]

I am guessing he got his advices from the wise people of Temasek. You know... those same geniuses who threw away billions into 2 ailing banks recently...