Singapore Elections: No electoral advertising here…

First Hand Accounts of Singapore Elections 2006
Number of blogs talking about “Singapore Elections” in the last 7 days // Source: Technorati

Last week, I started writing about how it was all too quiet on the blogging front when it came to the Singapore Elections. Judging from the early results via Alexa traffic rankings and technorati tag counts, I almost came to the conclusion that everyone was quite fearful of the podcasting and blogging ban regarding electoral advertising in Singapore, and that the safest policy was to not blog about it.

While it’s a grey area of the law, some might argue that political coverage might not necessitate electoral advertising. I waited a while longer, only to be greeted with a flood of Singapore elections coverage online as soon as the political rallies started. This recent increase somewhat proved to me that the idea of the citizen journalism being alive and well in Singapore, having matured from the once basic premise that blogs were perceived merely as personal diaries.

Still, is there enough political coverage on blogs?

Being politically aware is of vital importance since it literally involves the governance of our well-being. My concern is whether those who care about issues at hand might not be sharing as much online compared to offline (i.e. face-to-face, coffeeshops). The chart above shows how much “Singapore Elections” conversation has been going on the blogosphere in the past few days. The number of posts tagged SingaporeElections per day for the last 7 days is shown and as you can see, the weekend has proven fruitful.

For your information, you can see, read and even subscribe to what bloggers are saying about the Singapore Elections via Technorati. There’s plenty more that isn’t showing up on technorati, but reading the various blogs will yield you even more links. I’m not sure if the numbers would rise dramatically as we draw closer to elections on May 6th, but so far everyone’s smart to tread the line carefully. Sometimes little needs to be said when there are enough visuals to speak volumes.

For the record, we’re well aware that Singaporean bloggers know how to use Technorati to drive traffic to their sites (remember “tammy nyp” fiasco?), yet there many choose not to do likewise for the current elections. In fact, I’m not alone in witnessing this. AsiaPundit realized something similar a week ago in his “Tropical Singapore’s Big Chill“. He noted how some bloggers prefer staying away (which I respect), while a notable few (mostly veteran bloggers) take up the challenge with either critical reviews or witty satire (I’m not worthy!).

Are Singaporeans choosing not to blog about it or are they apathetic towards politics?
Or could it be that many talk about it, but prefer not to be accountable for it?

Perhaps the idea of discussing such political issues online might be equivalent to leaving a paper trail. Unlike talking face-to-face with friends off-the-record at a coffeeshop (informal setting), openly blogging about political issues makes me feel as if I were drawing a target on my forehead. Even abroad, I somehow feel this fear. This is why as a non-anonymous blogger, I feel safer to be objective rather than opinionated about such issues.

Aren’t you worried when you blog about politics in Singapore?

Nevertheless, it’s truly awesome to be able to see first hand accounts of the Singapore elections by bloggers, but perhaps more should join in. Presently, some of the excellent stuff I’ve read so far include:

Then there are the staple blogs that cover Singapore’s political scene:

Please forgive me if I’ve missed out of your blog posts… do let me know!

BTW: I’ve been trying to find out if it’s the first time that Political Parties are making television broadcasts. I’ve been watching all the action from YouTube and I’m so amazed. As a Singaporean living abroad, a lot of us are thankful to be able to see everything away from home, thanks to a few nameless souls.

13 thoughts on “Singapore Elections: No electoral advertising here…

  1. Thanks for the link to the Political Party Broadcast!! I would be a happier soul if there is a video of that “Hougang Field” rally. 🙂

  2. IIRC, this is not the first time Party Political Broadcasts have been aired. I believe the amount of air time given to these were a source of contention in the pre-Internet age, as the opposition parties, particularly the minor ones which are now under the SDA, were allocated a very brief proportion of air time. This was presumably commensurate with the number of constituencies each party constested.

    But my memory of this is very hazy. Don’t take my word for it.

  3. To clarify Elia’s point, he’s right about my numbers in the chart. My fortune cookie from the Korean dinner today reminded me to “let hatred turn into friendship because I exist”, whatever that means… anyway it’s a low count, which prompted me to ask where have all the other bloggers disappeared to?

  4. hey 🙂 a useful post on political blogging. just thought i’d point out that i’m female. i’m sure it doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things, but being described as a ‘he’ is a bit disconcerting.

    will you be voting overseas?

    regarding the low count of political bloggers during election period, i’ve been surfing blogs with political content for about a year or so, and didn’t notice any dramatic decrease in the number of blogs which discuss politics. only happycitizen and mr wang, that i know of, expressed a plan to blog about other things for awhile, but eventually returned to political discussion. i think there was hesitancy for awhile, but the momentum behind the blogging circles has been enough to draw most of the usual bloggers out of their reclusivity. so i’d say if there is a low count of political bloggers now, during GE, i doubt there was a significantly higher count before GE.

  5. Jangace: There might be such a video on the SG Rally blog

    Acroamatic: I don’t remember any of such broadcasts in prior years, but I guess it might be commonplace since no one’s saying anything special about it.

    Gayle: Sorry about the misnomer! I was looking into voting, but a fellow blogger was saying how we had to go to Washington to cast our votes. I don’t have money and time to do that. Thanks for sharing what you’ve seen thus far… it’s interesting how there is almost a momentum (wait and see attitude) to blogging about politics.

  6. hi. like gayle said, it only takes one to start the ball rolling. yawningbread was one of the first to blog in detail about the elections and tip the scale.

    the rest of the bloggers simply carried on.

  7. Thanks Gecko… make sure to check out these charts on popular issues raised by Singaporean bloggers during the elections. NexLab didn’t disclose how they really arrived at the figures other than to say they used a sophisticated content analysis program, so take it with a grain of salt.

  8. Hi,

    not sure how many will read it, but I think we do need to rethink what we have been told is true and fair as far as governmental transparency is. (see aserialnumberonmyvote.blogspot.com)

    E.o.M.

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