The Twitter Perspective: Hougang By-election

So, we all know how this election came about. A couple of months ago in February, Ex-MP Yaw Shin Leong was reportedly expelled from the Workers’ Party following reports of his alleged martial affairs and as a result, a by-election for the Hougang SMC was to be held on 27th May 2012. PAP’s Desmond Choo and WP’s Png Eng Huat campaigned and rallied for the single vacant seat in Parliament. 

The focus of this entry is the reaction and some of the hash tags created on Twitter as reactions to the whole process of the by-election, specifically, #GuessTheHeadlines, as an immediate response to the official announcement by Returning Officer, Yam Ah Mee, that Png Eng Huat won the by-election. The trending topic was mainly directed at poking fun at Singapore’s mainstream media, specifically The Straits Times in the news coverage of politics and in this case, the Hougang by-election, with specific reference to the headlines used to report the WP’s win.

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Mr Brown started this hash tag as a “game” and begun with his own version, “PAP wins more votes in Hougang this time”, subsequently retweeting fellow twitter users with this same hash tag. The joke behind this little game on a new media platform is the fact that most average Singaporeans are well aware and informed on how skewed mainstream media can be towards the ruling party in reporting news that are political in nature.

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It is small things like these that can add up and subsequently signify a potential change in Singapore’s media landscape and coverage of the country’s Public Affairs. Such an instance would cease to exist a good 10 to 20 years ago in local media. Sometimes, slow and steady does it.

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