a really insightful post i must say. correct or not.... its very well written
Someone in the comments asked me about my views on Gomez-Gate by both parties. I will talk more than that. I will point out where was the PAP's crucial mistake for GE 2006. |
It boils down to this. Simply. The silencing of CSJ. This single factor caused all the problems besieging the PAP now.
In the past few GEs, CSJ through his Taiwanese style of confrontational politics, have dogged the media headlines. Through the campaigning periods, it was one CSJ publicity event after another. And the media? Well, they seized on these antics. They went wild with reports of shouting matches, alleged defamatory remarks. And you cannot blame the media then for not focussing on the Opposition. Because CSJ was catapulted to represent the Opposition. Media coverage was "fair" in this sense. In the people's eyes, mediated through the lenses and words of the mass media, CSJ was indeed not the type of politician they wanted. And the PAP looked so good, so saintly, while CSJ became a mad raving dog.
The PAP fears CSJ-type politics. They fear the hoopla he creates. They fear very much a CSJ in Parliament. And this fear overrode their appreciation of the larger strategic picture of politics in Singapore. So they silenced CSJ way before GE 2006. They silenced him so successfully with defamation and bankruptcy suits that he cannot contest in this GE.
And what a strategic mistake this was. A mistake at two levels.
First for the PAP. In GE 2006, there is no one left to demonise now that CSJ is gone. No one to spin into the archetype Opposition which scares Singaporeans. They need that maverick character to focus on, to translate that figure into a Representation of the Opposition. But there is no CSJ. And so Gomez-gate was born. The PAP are filling the vauum left by CSJ's silence to catapult another demon into the limelight.
They have chosen James Gomez.
But the action of Gomez over the form incident is hardly equivalent to CSJ's deliberate media provocations. But the PAP enacts the same strategy of demonisation as they have done so effectively in the past. They use the same semantic structures, the same prevailing themes to dehumanise Gomez and transform him into the Demon. This archetype is then transfigured to represent the entire Opposition.
The other problem is this. Gomez's form incident occurred on Nomination Day, so early into the hustings, so it cannot be sustained throughout the rally period. This problem of sustaining the issue is compounded by WP's responses over the issue. First silence, than apology, than moving on. They have refused to personalise this Gomez-Gate. They act as the bewildered. Huh? Everybody forgets.
And it is working for the WP.
Because it is increasingly apparent that the PAP appears to be dancing with themselves over this issue.
Because the incident is hardly something that is as spectacular as compared to what CSJ did in the past throughout the campaigning period.
And that is why many people are surprised at the vehemence arrayed by one Minister after another against Gomez, day after day after day after day.
The silencing of CSJ and this playing up of Gomez-Gate is a further mistake at another level. The silencing of CSJ creates a media vacuum. Yes they have released CCTV footage, yes they have released audio transcripts but these can hardly be shown day after day after day after day. So the media has nothing in the Opposition to zoom in to. Except the truth. But the editors cannot allow unmediated truth to move freely during such a period of intense scrutiny.
So they persist together with the obligatory demonisation themes of Gomez spewing from the PAP. But this was something that happened on Nomination Day; it is hardly breaking news especially for the duration of the campaigning period. Once Gomez-Gate is duly reported, what next? Lauding the PAP. And when thats done, what next? Er.
Truth rejected by the editors controlling mainstream media is gladly accepted by the Internet, by the blogosphere. Responsibly, I may add. In utter defiance of the MDA edict, the rejected truth is mediated into Singaporean homes. Into your eyes. Into the eyes of the world.
And so, for the first time in a long while, the propagandistic function of the media is revealed so much more starkly.
Hence, for the first time in a long while, there are more people than usual suddenly sceptical of the media.
And the people disillusionment and backlash grows.
Gomez-Gate? At the WP rally in East Coast, when Gomez was introduced, hear the roar of support. And to the WP media strategy's credit, it has refused to escalate Gomez-Gate to the personal level; they have refused to turn this into a personal war despite the baiting by the PAP. And this strategy is working. More importantly, the WP has dictated and shifted the discourse at their rallies. Despite the media blackout.
The irony is this. As day after day, the Ministers continue their tirade against Gomez, the Ministers are resembling the media's portrayal of CSJ in previous GEs.
They seem to be the mad dogs this time round.
And how apt.
As this strategic failure is ironically premised on their supposed success in silencing CSJ.
Heaven has Eyes.
Quote of the Day --
"莫须有" (ph : Mo Xu You) -- Southern Song Court Official, Qin Hui, when asked why General Yue Fei was executed.