Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Damage Control

Last week, I posted on how the PAP (People’s Action Party) had mishandled the candidacy of 27-year-old Tin Pei Ling. Since then, the PAP has been engaged in damage control. Unfortunately for Mdm Tin, they had managed to mishandle that as well.

On Friday, I watched the news on Channelnewsasia and there was a segment on Mdm Tin and the online flame she has been getting. The segment showed several PAP heavyweights defending her from the “unfair” criticism she has been receiving but frankly they made a mess of it.

The reason I say that is because the segment spoke about her age and gave the impression that it was the main reason why she had been attacked online. That’s wrong. The reason she has been attacked is not because of her age; it’s because of her marriage! Her marriage to a high-flying civil servant, her “guanxi” so to speak, is the problem; her age is a secondary problem if it’s a problem at all.

Now I know the reason why the PAP refused to speak of her marriage. That tried to keep it quiet in the first place and “exposing” it now would mean a climb-down. There could also be a fear that “exposing” it now would make the problem worse. On the latter point, I believe it’s too late to worry about that.

Even though it started online, the marriage of Mdm Tin is now an open secret. Even my father, who barely understands what the internet is, now knows about her marriage to a high-flying civil servant. Her marriage is now common knowledge to Singaporeans, even those with little interest in politics.

So I believe the PAP needs to face the problem upfront and confront the matter of her marriage. That’s the only way to control the distraction Mdm Tin’s candidacy has become.

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