01 April, 2011

Tin Pei Ling

I guess when people say social media changes the way things work, they meant it.

For the past I-don't-know-how-many years of my life (that's pretty much all of it), I've always been taught about how "restricted" China is, as a country. In the case of freedom, many sites like YouTube and Facebook can't be accessed, and information are filtered to the smallest microbit.

In recent years, though, I became increasingly aware of just how "restricted" Singapore has been, and possibly may no longer be.

Having been to China, just their TV commercials were enough to blow me away. Almost everything has got a TVC, not just shows, but also for things like plastic surgery, hospitals, cigarettes, etc.

So what's my point?

People are getting onto social media and internet, just to get back at people and things they can't deal with in real life. Or lack the guts to anyway.

After The Online Citizen has been gazetted by Singapore, I guess many things changed and people are even more sensitive and aware of what is going on.

And when PAP tries to get the crown of "having the youngest candidate", the plan absolutely backfired.

Are things really as bad as netizens made it sound like? Well, not exactly.

This is Tin Pei Ling, 27 years old.

The commotion?

She's too young.

She was posing with a HUGE Kate Spade box (they should pay her, seriously).

Her Twitter account picture didn't relate to people as a potential MP with what casual beach look.

And what happened within the next 48 hours was probably the biggest nightmare of her life.

At one moment people around her are telling her she's great at this age, being the grassroot leader, working at some place that makes her feel like she can connect to the older crowd, being in-charge of platforms that make her feel connected to the youths...

Then the next, everyone is telling her NO YOU DON'T MAKE THE MARK.

Suddenly the smallest thing she does is wrong. She can't speak intelligently. She uses a not-passport-photo in her daily life. (Actually I think anyone who believes that's all to any candidate's life is super naive.) She has no extreme opinions or revolutionary ideas unlike youths.

I can't even bear to go on.

When she was first introduced, I saw PAP trending on Singapore Twitter. 24 hours later, Tin Pei Ling joined the list.

I don't support PAP much, but I think she's a victim who appeared at the wrong time and caught with the wrong (read: unsuitable) people.

So here's some stuff to think about, and approve of her, just to add some positive energy to the cyberworld:

(1) She put in the effort to look like typical passport photo despite her happening private life

(2) She isn't putting up those "know-all" or "haughty" front like some others

(3) Her tweets aren't all bimbotic and ignorant-sounding

(4) She hasn't lost control like Peter Coffin, going everywhere declaring herself a sad victim

(5) At least her posing didn't include excess flaunting of assets?

(6) She tried to answer tough questions, instead of "I don't know" (though which would kill her anyway)

On the other hand, here are some things which I feel... not quite right!

(1) Positioning herself as tech-savvy but failing to protect her tech-privacy

(2) Not knowing policies well enough to think about what can be done/changed

(3) "Hiding" after the cyber hoo ha

(4) Not realising nothing is truly delete-able on cyberspace

From a youth's perspective, I couldn't help but wonder how much running for the election, even in GRC, means to her. People usually want to present the best of themselves. Heck, even Peter Coffin tried to get himself a girlfriend.

What was she thinking, not hiding her photos and private life? Has she ever thought of protecting those around her? And being tech-savvy, is it right for her to be ignorant to cyberbully as it is now?

Secondly, I've always thought people would want to over-prepare than be caught under-prepared, especially when you are dealing with the media. Maybe you can't be all pro and recite the things you know, but at least do a little research! Check for at least 5 policies/ political updates (enough to use at numerous interviews), and think about what's your opinion. Or at least which part of it you think can be improved. Or what Youtube-ers and netizens are complaining which you hope to look into.

That's when your cyber-pro-ness comes into work, no?

That's when you show people how much you care, and the homework you have done before the presentation?

You can't just walk in to an interview and tell the boss of some magazine, I want to work for you, I'm the one you should hire, BUT. I have never read your magazines.


Next concern is how she seems to be reserving her presence and comments after the hoo-ha. EH DUDE. THIS IS A CHANCE TO PERFORM, TO DELIVER. If you can't stand strong from something that can't even get into physical contact with you, how are you going to handle the dangers like others did?

I don't care what the party is saying, but as an individual, she should at least be allowing herself to stand out and accept what people have to say. And say things like she would reflect, and after a while, say what this taught her, how it is useful for her tech-functions knowledge, and finally letting people know the bigger stand she has other than Italy and Universal Studio.

Yes, I appreciate and applaud for her honesty and family-oriented perspective, but make up your mind in this realistic industry- Do you want to come across as tech-savvy connectable-with-youths-and-old-alike, or do you want to be seen like the modern woman in the family like Jeannette Chong?

This isn't lying.

This is reality.

This is marketing.

This is, ultimately, what election is about.