The Online Citizen

That YP video – missing the serious for the laughs

That YP video – missing the serious for the laughs
May 15
08:00 2014

By Howard Lee

Insipid, boring, scripted, stone-faced, wooden, emotionless, uninspiring, reading from a script, forced to do it, bad acting, are they even acting – those were some of the comments made online about the video produced by, and staring, members of Young PAP (or YP), the youth wing of the ruling People’s Action Party.

The amount of derision (and subsequent calm-faced queries about its legality) the video received was, in retrospect, a very good thing for the brave men and women who put the effort into producing it. Because if the bulk of the population had bothered to look beyond the stylistic aspects of the video – which to be fair, is very much a matter of subjective opinion – they would have notice something that is far more disturbing than zombie-eyed youth leaders mouthing words from cue cards.

That something can be summed up in two observations: The lack of engagement with the ground, and the undying belief that the PAP has the right solutions to the woes of the nation.

For bad acting and even poor sripting can be excused. Instead, what we should really be concerned here is the intent of the video and the attitude of the “leaders” involved in it.

We are engaging the community… Say, where is the community?”

The first thing that you would noticed instantly is the almost non-existence of anyone other than the folks dressed in all white. Granted, that might have been the purpose of the video – as a means of reaching out to fellow YP leaders and activists. To feature fellow activists, then, would not too too much of an error.

We call for the party to be more effective and impactful when communicating with our activists. Our communication should be simple, concise and easy to understand. Communication should be targeted, so that it can resonate better with our activists. – Chua Chu Kang Region YP

A unilateral way of communicating to party faithfuls is acceptable, if you believe in dogmatic indoctrination. But the reference to the community out there in the very same terms of reference – as a target to whom the message must be made clear – is valid cause for concern. It suggests that the party is more interested in talking at the people, rather than listening to them.

As the branch chairman, it is my duty to check whether they are listening, and if they are not listening, what is the reason. – Aljunied Region YP

We must continue to serve with a locally grounded heart, by taking a pro-active approach in reaching out to local communities to ensure they are future-ready. We must therefore present policies in a format that is simple and easy to understand. – Aljunied Region YP

In short: The policies are right, and the people need to get it. If they don’t get it, then we need to help them understand it. To do that, they must listen to us. If they don’t, we need to tweak our approach. Nothing wrong with what we need to tell them, we have important stuff to tell them! Let’s tell them, let’s tell them…

It is all the more shocking that such views are coming from the people in the Aljunied region. As General Elections 2011 edged to a close, Mr Geoge Yeo who was heading the Aljunied GRC team opined that the government needs to listen hard to the people. Three years from then and the leaders in the same ward seemed to have learnt nothing, or forgotten everything.

If the YP leaders have indeed bothered to engage the ground, then it is surprising that such footage has not been included. What has been the mode of engagement, then? One fears that it is very much the monologue that we are seeing in this very same video.

I pledge my allegence to the People(‘s Action Party)!”

Which brings us to the next cause for concern: What are these YP leaders thinking when they head out with the party’s message?

Re-inforce (sic) our heritage that we are the party for ALL Singaporeans”, shouted the on-screen text. We need “diversity is social mindsets” and this can be found in “diversified (sic) PAP MPs”, declared the East Coast Region YP team.

Granted, this view might be little more than chest-thumping bravado to rally support within the ranks, mere internal propaganda that the PAP is the one true party. Perhaps it should never have gone public, then. But the impact that such a world-view would undoubtedly spill over into how these YP leaders plan to engage the public.

We will mobilise the community to develop its members holistically. Education enables us to create opportunities for all and to build a better society… We will strengthen the community to identify, assist and actualise the potential of its disadvantaged members. – Tampines Region YP

These are the same lines that the PAP has preached: The mantra of self-help, the avoidance of social assistance, the very same mindset that has drawn the indignation of the people in 2011 and, by the looks of it, is in no hurry of changing.

It is this unstinting support for what the party does, without any intention of expressing original thought or differing opinions whatsoever, and that Singaporeans should be very concerned about, rather than the quality of the video produced.

It is not too difficult to imagine that one of these white-clad people featured in the video could very well be fielded as Members of Parliament in a general election of the future. If we cannot count on them to listen to the people, speak their mind and be ready with alternatives, what hope do we have that PAP MPs of the future would be able to shore up against anything but the party line? Why then do our current Ministers and MPs prattle on about PAP MPs being the alternative voice in Parliament?

Ironically, the video ends with a line that contains the same chest-thumping bravado that typified the entire narrative: “If not us… Then who?”

Doubtlessly, it is an important call to action for party activists. But it also belies a continued ignorance of the very issues that led to the party’s bruising in GE2011. The PAP clearly does not have all the solutions, and it is folly to continue believing so. The solutions lie with the people, and it is a sad day that the potential leaders of tomorrow do not have the foresight to see that.


The editor endured watching the video at least twice to bring you this commentary. If you feel that it was a worthy sacrifice, please donate to TOC so that we may continue to do the impossibly unbearable for you. Because, if not us, then who?

  • kampong boy

    This video reminds me of my kampong days when peddlers came to peddle their miracle medicines, and we also had politicians peddled their wares on their campaign trail.

    Both parties were quite successful in their lies about what their miracle medicines could do, judging from the number of people who believed them.

    But those were the days when most people were not educated and they did not have complete information to judge what those swindlers told them.

    Fast forward to now, what is the difference?
    - Most people are educated or more educated

    But they still do not have complete information to judge what those swindlers told them.

  • johs

    at least put up the damn video

  • Andrew Leung

    YP should start a ECA group and go into the schools to teach students more about politics etc.

  • tan keng sooi

    Run out of ideas.Too long at the steering wheel. Like the Sosial Demokratist Partiet of Sweden which had a fantastic record for 50 years. Then it was overpowered. Will this happen here in Sinkieland?

  • BlueBlood

    The chap flanked by the two ladies seemed to me like he was having the time of his life…..arf arf arf. Were those representing Tanjong Pagar born or made? Such unparalleled synchronisation!

  • Speechless

    Fortunately, unlike Howard Lee, I didn’t succeed in enduring the video. After the first few seconds of the videos, I thought it was just a bunch of white uniform students reciting PAP pledges in different rooms and they didn’t even bother to make a fate effort to show them kissing the feet of the poor, handing Ang Bao to the needy or do site visit to pretend a smile and shake hands with the residents. It could be argued that the ground sentiment was too bitter that it pose a huge challenge even to have such video shoot onsite with residents and thus, the best is to hide in a room and read PAP mantra, as if we or they care. Yup, I didn’t finish watching the video, it doesn’t excite me but felt sad how all these potential youngster were used a political tools for bad leadership, to sink this country

  • Aljunied Voter

    Never got past the first 30 secs. I have a weak gag reflex and the awful speech kept making wanting to puke.

  • vanguy79

    A more salient point to debate here is not whether the YP video is tasteful or not. We should be debating and Questioning if Opposition Parties are also allowed to make such videos and to broadcast them to provide an even playing field. Because it would totally be unfair wouldn’t it opposition parties are not allowed to. Also I am hoping someone can parody these vids.

  • Arnold_Chong

    Singapore’s party defends ‘robotic’ video
    Published: 15 May 2014

    Singapore’s ruling party has defended a promotional video produced by its youth wing that went viral after being lambasted online for its amateurish quality and for sounding “robotic”.

    The five-minute YouTube video clip, titled “Re-ignite the Passion of Servant Leadership”, featured youth leaders of the long-ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) espousing a series of motivational messages for other party members….

    • Arnold_Chong

      Sadly, this pathetic video is making headlines around the world.

      Doesn’t reflect to well on the junior members of the regime aspiring to million dollar jobs.

  • WhyPAP??

    On a side note, the monologue by Tanjong Pagar YPap seemed the greatest in disconnect, and the most lacking in passion. Perhaps that was what happened to its activists after walkovers for 49 years. A sad reality of the effects of Singapore’s politically apathetic past.

  • Chestnuts

    there IS a parody! The CHESTNUTS team and Happy-Tv proudly bring u “RE-IGNITED” – a music video tribute to SG’s youths in white (AKA a celebration of our advancement in lifelike robotics). Check it out at and if you like it, help us SHARE it!