One of the more rewarding post-GE2020 reads, this article by Today is particularly interesting for two things.

First, the trace of internal disputes within the ruling PAP, and second, its incompetence with social media. A brief thread:
Speculation: The PAP’s 4G desired a constructive campaign, but were overruled by seniors more fixated with authoritarian violence & vilification.

This sheds a new light over the attacks on Pritam Singh, Raeesah Khan, Chee Soon Juan, and Paul Tambyah.
Intra-party conflict isn’t new. It's been strongly hinted that the PAP, since the 1990s, was (loosely) split between the Lee family & the Goh Chok Tong faction.

For instance, during Goh's premiership, Lee Kuan Yew was openly contemptuous of his “second choice” successor.
But PAP infighting isn’t dramatic.

It mostly revolves around fine-tuning the party's core ideologies (eg. authoritarianism, elitism, Chinese-centric racialism), instead of abolishing or altering them. The PAP's closed cadre system further blocks any meaningful internal reform.
The Today article also mentions how the PAP lacked a centralized “coordinated online campaign”.

Growing evidence shows that on social media, the regime was out-manoeuvred by Opposition parties & critical-thinking S’poreans.
Historically, the PAP hasn't done well on cyberspace.

For example, in GE2006, the first "internet election", bloggers (eg. Mr Brown) posted photos of packed Opposition rallies. This shamed both the PAP regime & state media, which had then depicted the rallies as poorly attended.
The PAP has since gained a foothold on Facebook.

Nevertheless, due to their elitism, reactionary ideas, and thin skin, PAP officials & advocates still struggle with the open interrogation of social media.
The PAP has long feared the liberating potential of the internet.

S'pore's marginalized & dispossessed, along with government critics, have used social media to bypass and challenge the PAP's grip on consciousness & communications.
As S’poreans take to Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and closed texting apps like Whatsapp, the PAP’s monopoly on world-building has been further disrupted.

Party leaders have dropped hints that they might escalate their bid to control those realms.
That the PAP had a poor online campaign challenges the initial assumption that #GE2020 , waged online, would favor the party.

Social media has proven a pivotal variable in politics, enough to counter the PAP’s hold of mainstream media & its superior physical outreach.
During #GE2020 , Opposition parties broadcasted their own content on social media, thus circumventing regime mediation & controls.

In turn, pro-establishment S'poreans had their organizing disrupted when Facebook removed FAP, the kingpin of pro-PAP pages, for policy violations.
Having said that, it must be noted that the PAP, at least since the 1980s, have ran sub-standard election campaigns.

We'd argue that the party's electoral success depends more on its persuasive fear-mongering & generous "modifications" to the electoral system.
So what can folks conclude from the Today article? First, social media will continue as a potent "this you?" check against the PAP regime, as well as a tool to build and mobilize new communities & discourses.

Second, there’s a (strange, oxymoronic) desire for “democracy”...
...among younger PAP members.

But our histories reveal an authoritarian party that’s built to replicate itself (and not change). This directly clashes with S’poreans’ long documented desire for political (egalitarian or anti-authoritarian) diversity & accountability.
Indeed, in the post-election week, where parties signal their directions & lessons learnt, the PAP establishment has mostly complained about cancel culture, brainwashed zoomers, Westernization, and celebrating Opposition voters.

Go figure.
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