The Tin Pei Ling Incident is a Storm in a Teacup

Since I first wrote this, Tin Pei Ling’s gaffes have gone from bad to worse, and she has become serious political deadwood to not just the Marine Parade GRC, but all of PAP’s contested wards in the upcoming elections. I’ve since made 2 edits to my article below in red to reflect my more informed stand.

Overnight, Singapore’s populace was introduced to PAP’s youngest ever MP candidate in over 20 years, in the form of a highly sensationalized personal photo of Ms. Tin Pei Ling and her Kate Spade bag.  Even the combined machinery of The Straits Times and TODAY did little to hold back the resulting online firestorm railing against her apparent illegitimacy to run as a PAP candidate for MP.  I honestly don’t understand what the fuss is, and thought she looked quite cute in that photo. No dear, not the camera! She’s married and I’m certainly happily married – I’m just doing my bit of national service ;-).

Like Siew Kum Hong, I won’t grant her naysayers any further publicity than they already enjoy.  Still, I think Kum Hong worries too much, like the PAP. Reminds me a lot of myself actually.  The evolution of Singapore’s politics is going to take a while.  We’re only beginning to crawl out of our political infantile cavemen era after 40-odd years of independence.  There’s plenty more in store for us in the decades ahead.  Mud (or slime) slingers are a necessary evil in Singapore’s Journey into our Heartlands to find our political Shangri-la.

The Tin Pei Ling Incident is indeed unfortunate, but unavoidable.  I’m pretty sure the PAP filters its people exhaustively, and without knowing more, I am quietly confident that Ms. Tin is as good as, if not better than most of us as a politician, but certainly heaps braver than her critics who have chosen to slime her.  At the very least, she’s braver than I am, to have made the decision to step forth and sacrifice her privacy for the sake of her motivations, whatever they may be.

Let this online outburst of anti-Ms Tin also be a lesson to all our 4th-generation political aspirants, be it PAP or Opposition. Our 3G and older political leaders can use their age as an excuse to stay clear of social media, but not them 4th-gen MP aspirants.  The best defense against slime slingers and rabble rousers is for our political candidates to own their online conversations, and engage the netizens on their home turf. Transparency and openness are key themes that they’ll need to embrace in order to stay afloat in this sea of social media madness.  Keeping quiet and hiding behind the veil of silence is no longer an option in the age of Facebook & Twitter.

If Ms. Tin is made of sterner stuff, she’ll live through this. If our future political leaders don’t have the tenacity to look past the Glee-like slushies and take the hit for the citizens of Singapore, then I don’t think they deserve my vote in the first place.

Tribolum.com says:

We vote because we want the best among us to represent us, and to bring out the best in us in order to move us onward as a nation. How we conduct ourselves as voters reveals volumes of who we are as a people, and it is likely that unless we keep our eye on the real social issues before us, we will have wasted our vote and turned the democratic process into nothing more than vain pageantry.

People are generally rational beings.  The majority of our voting populace are still working hard to fulfill their Maslow’s needs, and won’t risk throwing away the stability our forefathers have sacrificed their lives to build.  Each and every candidate will most certainly be subjected to scrutiny more intense than before.  I for one am excited by Singapore’s recent political developments, and look forward to attending as many rallies as I possibly can.

Now go to bed to your wives, husbands and/or bolster(s), and stop staring at that photo of Ms. Tin already!

Flickr photo courtesy of jumpinroo

    I’ll keep adding interesting and related links to this list as I find them: 

  1. Onesingaporean blog – Tin Pei Ling v.s. Chen Show Mao and a very scary thought
  2. Official Youtube release by PAP, unveiling of Tin Pei Ling
  3. RazorTV interview
  4. Tin Pei Ling versus Nicole Seah

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.