09 October 2006

The MPs' New Blog

In July, PM Lee said that he wanted the PAP to be more "hip and happening" so as to connect to young Singaporeans. In August, PM Lee announced that he wanted the government to use "new" media (ie the Internet) to reach out to the masses. And now - we have P65. The blog of 12 PAP MPs born after 1965.

This is embarrassing. The design is poor; it lacks navigation aids; the sidebar is non-existent; there isn't even a "Recent Comments" or "Latest Posts" function. There are 12 blog members but no "About Me" or "My Profile" section at all. The colours look like what my 4-year-old kid would choose for his artwork - please lah, I know they want to be "young", but surely not that young.

Dear MPs, you would be much better off picking a standard template from Blogger or Wordpress. Alternatively, I really suggest you pay Mr Brown $3,000 and engage him as a consultant. Or maybe my friend Alvin Pang who designs websites.

I won't even go into the content, except to say that if the content doesn't undergo drastic changes, within six months people won't even remember that there was ever such a thing as P65. Let's put it this way:

P65 launched with fanfare; the Straits Times featured it just last week; it also appeared on Tomorrow; and it has 12 contributors each of whom is a public figure. Yet (at the time of my writing this), its latest 10 posts received a total of only 17 comments from readers.

In contrast, my preceding 10 posts (at the time of writing) received a total of 325 comments. I'm just one blogger and not even a public figure.

Right now, P65 is failing to engage Singaporeans, and if it continues to fail to engage Singaporeans, maybe the better thing to do would be to close it down so that the MPs can spend the time on other things that MPs spend their time on.

Having said that, P65 is new and maybe it needs a while to find its identity. Well, maybe it will, and maybe it won't. Let's wait and see.

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55 comments:

Kelvin Tan said...

I would care less about the template if they had real meat in their postings.

But cut them some slack lar. How to engage Singaporeans when, the whip will be used on you if you sing Jailhouse Rock while others are singing Beethoven?

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons they appear to have less comments is probably because they censor the unfavorable responses and/or difficult questions.

My comment asking for opinions didn't manage to get through even though I provided Ted's link to the Australian Insight programme as a resource for the P65.

I have also noticed that there is a very enthusiastic reader, El, who managed to get many of his "nauseating pleasantries" through.

Anonymous said...

" Yet (at the time of my writing this), its latest 10 posts received a total of only 17 comments from readers.

In contrast, my preceding 10 posts (at the time of writing) received a total of 325 comments. "


hehe.. there enough said.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang thanks for the info and link to P65. I did not know about it cause I never read the local papers. I almost died reading the articles and most of the comments. I wonder if they have appointed official commenters ..so so funny just like hip hop

moomooman said...

When I read your entry, I was expecting a really plain template retrieved from Blogger, really one of those 2 colour tone, no photos, plain template.

But when I see the site, I must say it looks better than I expected.

I think it's about expectation and how it was build up.

The papers must have painted a fantastic designed one and you felt dissappointed.

While on the other hand, you have painted a different scenario and I thought it was better than I expected.

However, you are right that the website needs further improvement.

recruit ong said...

Make no mistake, the Puppies are opening a new battle front and taking the war against freedom and truth to cyberspace! Own time own target, fire at will!!!

boon said...

different mah, p65 is a new blog while yours is pretty established.

How many comments did you receive in your first 2 weeks?

They should allow dissenting comments, and only remove abusive ones. But they won't, because they're too thin-skinned.

Whispers from the heart said...

I hope they fare better with the hip hop dance to be performed at the coming Chingay?

Honestly, if I was not happy with George Yeo's foray, these few would be a waste of time.

Of course, they are not meant for oldies like me. So, I asked for my son's opinion.

He thinks Mr Brown is better at connecting with the young. Xiaxue is better at connecting with the brainless.

The politicians are just plain boring. My son is below 20. Hope they will find the right formula by the time he's of voting age!

Hermes said...

I have to disagree on the numerical game that Mr Wang is playing here. Why should the popularity of a blog entry depend on the number of comments? It should be measured by the number of hits that blog gets a day and unless we are administrators of the site, we won't know.

But out of curiosity, I just hopped over to p65.

I regretted it immediately.

There's this movie which stars Nicole Kidman - Stepford Wives or something, I believe. It's exactly the same thing all over again.

Excuse me, while I go to the washroom and empty my stomach of my lunch (yah lah, that "El" person makes want to vomit).

biased observer said...

kelvin wrote: "I would care less about the template if they had real meat in their postings."

I agree with this. And frankly, blog or no blog, it's about the substance, the message, not whether they are blogging kings and queens or hip-hop masters. Connecting with people doesn't mean doing what they're doing, it means speaking to matters that concern them.

The focus on style over substance is just a mite patronising. Young kids may fawn over celebrities and pop culture icons, but even they can distinguish between issues frivolous and those important.

Anonymous said...

yup the P65 blog is so funny, it's not funny.

here are my own thoughts on the issue

peterson said...

Blog also got GRC.But this GRC gets bigger-12 members of blogoments.

Anonymous said...

Censorship and sterile blog aside, I am displeased with how these new crop of pappies kept emphasising how they were born AFTER 1965 (Singapore's independence - I prefer to call it the year Singapore got kicked out of Malaysia.), and so because they are the new hip and cool P65 generation of MPs, they can magically connect with the youth better.

And some of these ways of connecting including setting up a blog (because all the kids do it nowadays, omg, we must act like them to connect with them), and dancing hip hop at Chingay 2007.

My words of advice: If you are a good politician, you can connect with everyone and everyone will connect with you. It comes naturally. No need to set up the generational walls. No need for PR gimmicks. Doesn't matter when you are born.

Anonymous said...

I saw it for the first time today. Didn't even know it existed! It's absolutely nauseating! Nobody's addressing any real issues. Mid-autumn festival? C'on. Give me a break! I wonder what is the demographics they're hoping to attract.

Merv said...

"I have also noticed that there is a very enthusiastic reader, El, who managed to get many of his "nauseating pleasantries" through."

Lemme guess... El = Ephraim Loy?

http://ephraim.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Ephraim Loy is the resident pap asskisser on the blogosphere, so it don't take too much to deduce El is none other than him.

article19 said...

The P65 blog is nothing more than more PAP propaganda and bullshit. There's already enough of that out in the mainstream!

I hope the blog dies a slow, painful death.

Post-65'er said...

OK, finally tortured myself to read thro' their blogs and comments. Bleah!

While they have the editorial rights to write, censor, and respond to whatever they like, no 1 has written any personal analysis of ISSUES that truly matter. Even when various commentors have point them to where to find out what those issues are (talk about spoon-feeding). This gives support to the supposition that it is more a publicity stunt and the party-whip prevents more "honest" / "sincere" views from coming through.

My review for now: Drier than the Sahara dessert. Read only if one has failed to fall asleep counting sheep.

alex said...

Connect my foot! It doesn't even navigate well with Firefox.. lol I wonder if they've even heard about it.

Anonymous said...

I think the P65 will have a high number of hits.. everyone wants to check out what a failure the site is.. hahaha

Stephan H. Wissel said...

There is a "about" section. Every head is clickable. Guess the designer doesn't know about web standards and accessibility guidelines (and rules). Room to grow for them

whybegay said...

They should learn from the Sims

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eARSBik1QsA

Anonymous said...

Just visited their site. Looks like it's a Catch-22 situation. The more they try to connect, the more they show how shallow they are (no substance) or how shallow ('bimbo-ish') they think the people they are trying to connect with are. Where's the beef? At least in the old days, they could pretend to have substance by staying aloof. It's an utter embarassment!

ColdZero said...

you know ah people, for all the dumb things the old man has been saying and doing this past yr, when something like a p65 blog and hip-hopping MPs come along, you tend to appreciate him....abit.

at least he was wat you'd call a statesman. at least he had gravitas.

ColdZero said...

and what the hell is with the speech bubbles?

Street Soccer is fun?? simi lancia*? That fella is supposed to be a 1st classer in law and he's clerked in the high court. but apparently "street soccer is fun" is the most intelligent thing he can muster in a political publication.

or consider the other comment of great insight and political acuity: "singapore biennale...hmm"

i think the old man is doing this on purpose so dat we'd appreciate him more. if they'd just stop now i promise to vote for them in perpetuity.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment by coldzero, perhaps it is to drive the point that even the creme of the crop P65
chosen to connect with the mass ain't exactly looking too bright. Which proves the theory that a vote in their hands is a dangerous weapon, so we need to rethink the one-man one-vote system. This would be the next brilliant move considering the "GRC" system has the potential to result in a "freak" election where the people actually did not want to vote the opposition but somehow did. So for the sake of protecting the 190b reserve and the job (perhaps not all but just the super high paying ones for super duper people who have a brilliant talent to be born/married/related to GOD) I believe this proposed system of allocating votes will work.
21- 30yrs 1/2 Vote
(too young and irresponsible, never paid any attention to national education, don't even know how how hard or the sacrifice the pappies have made, all they know is the Yotube and Blogs and Ecomonic - esp the wage/housing system)
30- 45yrs 1 Vote
(P65 slightly better, married so have to worry about family, job security etc)
45- 50yrs 2 Votes
(Wooried about morgage, educating the children, medical bills, retiremnt)
50- 55yrs 5 Votes
(Waiting to collect CPF , does not want to rock the boat)
55- 60 1/2 vote
(has realised that after 40 years of working he has not enough peanuts and has been screwed bid time)
60- 70 3 votes
(Has resigned to his faith and needs the handouts and hopes that if the pappies are happy he might get a few more peanuts as handouts)
70 and above 15 votes
(Has dementia or alzermers and can only remember the wonderful years of of the 70s and 80s, anyway the officials can vote of his behalf)

I believe this is necessary to built a democratic society and upheld the tried and tested methods of kangaroo democrazy

Anonymous said...

Empty vessels...nuff said.

ting-tong, ting-tong...

lunatic_fringe

JoE said...

why don't we all give them a chance? only time will tell whether the blog does benefit the people.

frankly, for me, if you're doing anything (be it blogging, hip-hopping, etc), it must serve a purpose to the society, otherwise, it's just bull.

Anonymous said...

*gasp*

Mr Wang's single post on the MPs' blog has itself garnered more readers' comments ... than the last ten posts of the MPs' blog.

Go ponder.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the blog is more a reflection of the PSAP's perception of the maturity of our youth rather than a reflection of their own maturity. Perhaps these MPs think that in order to connect with perceived idiots, the only way is to say things like hip-hop is fun or I like stret soccer.

JoE said...

i also like street soccer, so i guess i can be a p65 MP too!

lee hsien tau said...

If you let loose the inmates in IMH at the computer, they'll probably blog as good as the MPs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

*gasp*

Mr Wang's single post on the MPs' blog has itself garnered more readers' comments ... than the last ten posts of the MPs' blog.

Go ponder.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 2:35:41 PM

-----------

Don't really need to ponder a lot. The P65 site practices heavy censorship. Try posting a scathing remark.

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling it's going to be a social-work-cum-government-ads blog?

Anonymous said...

actually i think its more of the purpose of the blog. reading through it, it gives me the feeling that it's just like any other blog out there by students/working adults talking about the mundane things in life, so there is no political 'meat' there or hefty issues to discuss upon.

but then again since they were the ones who set up rules and restrictions on blogging it would be bit funny if they started blogging on serious stuff, would it not be construed as a political blog and subject to certain rules?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Quick thoughts ...

I think that the root problem is that the public knows this isn't the real PAP.

In contrast, think for example of Virgin Airlines CEO Richard Branson - if he said that tomorrow he's going to hip hop in public, no one would be surprised because everyone knows that Richard Branson does crazy things all the time like run naked on a public beach or sail across the ocean in a little boat. If you read his biography, you know he's been spontaneous and freewheeling ever since he was a kid.

The P65 MPs, however, are nothing like Richard Branson. You know that they are going to hip hop essentially because PM Lee has announced that he has decided to change the PAP's image to get in sync with younger Singaporeans.

To me, that immediately smacks of fakeness. And really, I feel that this is what irritates people about the whole thing.

There's a bit of shallowness in the whole thing too. I mean, if you were interested in reaching out to youths in Singapore, there are thousands of more meaningful ways you could do it. Taking "youth" to mean Singaporeans, say, in the 17-25 age group:

MPs could for example visit schools; polys; local uni's; give talks; support youth charity efforts; form working groups to study issues and help specific groups of young Singaporeans (eg handicapped; juvenile delinquents; drug abusers; ex-convicts; single mothers); put forward suggestions to deal with NSF problems; help in AIDS awareness education campaigns; organise sports & other activities for youths in their constituencies; canvas for donations for bursaries to help young Singaporeans from needy families with their school fees; focus on education issues and contribute policy suggestions on how our education system could be improved; get in touch with organisations like the Juvenile Courts, Boys Home, Girls' Home, SIngapore Police etc etc and see where they can use their MP status to help with youth issues; do something in the area of career guidance for young Singaporeans; organise activities at the community centres in their constituency for youth etc etc ....

... or hell, just START a blog on youth issues.

Instead they're going to hip hop. Because that looks "cool". And "hip". And "happening".

Aiyah, please lah. Do we really need Members of Parliament to be hip and happening? Please leave that to the Singapore Idols and the TCS actors and the Super Model wannabes. MPs should focus on helping residents in their constituencies and on contributing to policy-making in Parliament. No one wants or needs MPs to be hip & happening or hopping or whatever.

JoE said...

next thing they gonna do is a hip hop performance before every parliament. that would be real hip!

post-65'er said...

Speaking like a true-blue Singaporean... Can we ask for a discount to their million$ MP pay given this cheapo sell-out?

Afterall, I (and other constituents who have indicated in their comments in blogsphere) do not want/need their hip-hopping/blogging services.

The discount can go into more meaningful and useful purposes for the youth like School Pocket-money Fund or education for those with special needs (not the GEP).

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that these bright people have nothing more important to say or comment than about these trivial issues. Early days yet...

whybegay said...

Anonymous said,

"Maybe the blog is more a reflection of the PAP's perception of the maturity of our youth rather than a reflection of their own maturity. Perhaps these MPs think that in order to connect with perceived idiots, the only way is to say things like hip-hop is fun or I like street soccer."

If dAT'S tRuE dEn thEy oBviOusLy fOrGot tO tYpE lIkE diS.

Hiphop culture is not just being hip and hop. Hiphop music and culture is so full of *beeping* swear words like this American IDoL hopeful RHonetta Johnson example. And she's indeed hotter than the one who won American Idol!

Hiphopper Rhonetta's audition

Hip-hoppers are not that innocent. In goes hip-hop and out goes civilities.

Estimation of the blog's audience
years till 2012 election = 6
Age of a person who can vote = 21
the MPs' blog target is therefore, 21-6= 15 and under

Same target audience as my blog's!!!

Anonymous said...

Hip hop or not. It is a way to distract again. We are talking about the stupid P65 MPs now, get people to think about them and not about the real problems. What are the P65 MPs doing about the poor? They care more about dancing than the life of the people. Imagine spending more time on hip hop practices and less time on getting involved in the life of the people. It shows that they do not have the power to make policies. It is all about distractions and the "politically correct" perceptions.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe I am being too pessimistic. But I can’t help to feel that this is only a big wayang to give the false impression that the MIW care and want to hear our voice or trying to ‘engage’ the young and more tech savvy generation. I don’t believe the crap that you can only change the system from within and I don’t believe those who joined the MIW sincerely wanted to do so. If they really do, I seriously believe that they won’t even get the chance to be invited for tea at all.

So in the end, such blog will only become the 140th blog in the cyber world, and only the good would be heard and presented. The MIW may appear to write blog and they may dance hip pop, but their way of ‘managing’ us would never change and the whip over our head would continue to exist as long as they are in power.

I remember my grandfather once told me, that if you jump into a pond of mud hoping to wash yourself. you won't be able to wash yourself clean, you would only end up covered with more mud. I think this is very true looking at how some MIW claimed they joined the MIW not to be yesman but only because they want to change the system from within.

Anonymous said...

is it all written by Bhavani?

Anonymous said...

I was initially skeptical of the blog, but now I am definitely hopeful, and think this is a good thing.

There have been a ton of comments since Mr. Wang's post - it's just that they have comment moderation on. They're green and we pounced on them for their faults, but their posts have also improved in substance in the meantime - I think it is because of our prompts.

And if they do take the comments to heart, perhaps it is for the better, or at least better than a contrived Meet-the-People session.

Anonymous said...

i cant agree more with your skepticism and granddad's philosophy of 'jumping into the pond of mud' theory.
the truth is that they ban comments with the slightest hint of questioning authority and less flattering remarks of their good self and government.
well, thats singapore-style politics for you. p65 is the same as p20. things have not changed and will not be changed.

Anonymous said...

Have they banned such comments? All my critical comments have gone through.

JoE said...

the blog will never get as many hits as mr wang's or mr brown's because people prefer to hear and comment about things that are against the government, just like why people flock to opposition rallies during election. bottom line is government is boring, and unless there's something really interesting (i'm not talking about hip-hop or rollerblading or street soccer), who the f really cares?

Anonymous said...

Notice the sudden change in the content of the P65 blog, after Mr Wang wrote about it?

http://www.p65.sg/2006/10/11/hopes-and-dreams/

Suddenly the MPs are shifting to more serious and thoughtful topics.

Haha, well done, Mr Wang, you are educating them as to what Singaporeans really want from their MPs and how MPs should really behave.

Anonymous said...

They have allowed more critical comments through after Mr Wang wrote about it. One post with only 5 comments suddenly had 20 over comments.

Anonymous said...

Would like to add that if they were really sincere, they would have allowed those comments through right from the start, without Mr Wang having to blog about it.

Their reaction betrays the PR intent behind the blog.

Anonymous said...

sorry to disappoint you guys. the truth is they practise the same modus operandi at the 140th. to be precise, it is exactly how the forum page works. try telling them things they dont want to hear....
anyway, just tabulate the negative comments on their hip hop dance on other blogs and do a comparisation with theirs. needless to say, their world is vastly different from the real world.

Anonymous said...

The day PAP becomes sincere will be the day it'll be freezing cold in hell.

Cheers.

wanwen said...

That EL fellow makes me sick...he's so obviously trying to bootlick them! I think I'll have to go throw up before I can continue reading their blog...

Anonymous said...

"They have allowed more critical comments through after Mr Wang wrote about it."

As far as I know it, no. I managed to get my comments published before Mr. Wang released his post.

It's the comment moderation (which is stupid) - but not active censorship as I know it.

"anyway, just tabulate the negative comments on their hip hop dance on other blogs and do a comparisation with theirs. needless to say, their world is vastly different from the real world."

And what? The audience is different. There's no point in making an ad hominem on their blog; you can however complain on their blog. They get accepted.

Please lah, people.

Ephraim Loy said...

Hi Merv,

I refer to your comments on Mr Wang Bakes Good Karma below:

merv said...
"I have also noticed that there is a very enthusiastic reader, El, who managed to get many of his "nauseating pleasantries" through."

Lemme guess... El = Ephraim Loy?

http://ephraim.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 09, 2006 4:23:00 PM

With regard to your calculated guess that El = Ephraim Loy on the P65 blog, I would like to clarify that your guess is incorrect.

My current stand is that I would not comment on blogs that cannot verify my identity. All official comments will be made using my blogspot account which will reflect my full name, Ephraim Loy. Please take note.

Regards,
Ephraim Loy

P.S. A similar reply has been sent to your email account blogspam@gmail.com