Sunday, May 03, 2015

New Era of Political "Ground Work"

The Birth of New China was pushed by a Medical Doctor, Sun Yat Sen. Why would a Medical Doctor give up his medical practice and went into revolution? Dr Sun said, as a Medical Doctor, he could only heal the physical body of the people, but not the sufferings of people of China and the weakness of China. Thus he gave up his medical practice and turned into revolutionist who was determined to overthrow the Qing Dynasty to form the Republic, so to revolutionize China into a modern country.

However after his success of overthrowing the Qing Dynasty, he realized that the mindset of the general public was still stuck with the feudalistic system. Simple example like people still calling "万岁" (wishing 10000 years to the Emperor) and treating him like an Emperor. In fact, President Yuan wanted to revert back to Monarchy rule and declared himself as Emperor not long after Dr Sun stepped down to allow Yuan to succeed him as the President in compromise for setting up the Republic!

This is the historical lesson we should learn from the past. Revolutions or change of government will not be sustainable if the mindset of the general public has not changed. For any political contest, the tactical moves made to win seats is just a mere means to the bigger vision. You can swing public sentiments to support your party to win seats into parliament but without a strong fundamental foundation of mindset change, such victory will be short live.

Spreading of the ideas and ideals of Republic was slow and difficult in the early years of Dr Sun's success due to the lack of information infrastructure. But in this new era, social media and internet have revolutionalized political engagement and as opposition with little resources, we should make full use of such cheap, effective and efficient media to effect change of mindsets and political landscape.

Some people look down on the work of "keyboard warriors" but it is the combination of these "keyboard warriors" which has caused a rapid change of political landscapes in many countries, including Singapore.

There are people who accused politicians like me of "not doing ground work" as in physical knocking doors but little do they know that evangelism of political ideas through social media and internet is becoming more important to effect strong, fundamental change in voters' mindset. For example, the campaign on HDB prices would not be so effective if it is not for internet and social media.

"Political ground work" has a fundamental change from just a Public Relations and Visibility exercise like shaking hands and kissing babies on the ground to more time consuming political dialogues, intellectual engagement and political evangelism on the social media and internet.

This will become more important in the years to come whereby newbies will have to prove themselves by providing more convincing political views, debates and policy deliberation on the New media as voters are getting more educated and intellectually sophisticated.

Yes, there are still a substantial group of voters, mainly elderly voters, who will not log on to internet but their children and grand children with access to information from the internet will have great influence on them. The HDB debate was the greatest example in showing the enormous influence of social media.

Social media may be easily accessible, cheap, effective and efficient but it is still very time consuming. So please don't look down on the political work people do on social media in this era. The study which shows that Social Media has become equally influential as Main Stream Media has a lot implication on such political work on internet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The HDB debate was the greatest example in showing the enormous influence of social media."
Goh Meng Seng

Correct. And did u also know that because of the HDB issue raised in social media even before 2011, Mah Bow Tan became one of the most, if not the most, hated and unpopular minister among netizens in social media?

So have u analyse how come you and your team could even lost to former minister in charge of HDB Mah Bow Tan during GE 2011? In fact your team did not even came close to winning.