With the General Election (GE) just around the corner, various political parties have been ramping up their presence on social media since on-ground activities are discouraged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement on Thursday (18 June), the Elections Department (ELD) stated the guidelines for preliminary campaigning prior to the GE.
In the statement, it was revealed that the political parties and candidates are not encouraged to carry out physical rallies or group gatherings. Despite walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning are permitted, everyone is still expected to practise safe distancing.
“In view of the COVID-19 situation, ELD strongly encourages political parties and candidates to plan for modes of campaigning that do not involve physical group gatherings. As at past elections, campaigning activities on television and the Internet can take place, in accordance with guidelines for such activities. Political parties and candidates can also continue to make use of posters, banners and printed campaign materials to reach out to voters.”
With the restrictions on physical rallies, the Workers’ Party (WP), inspired by netizen, Ng Yi Shu, proposed a virtual rally via a Nintendo Switch game – ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’.
Since the game’s release on 20 March amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been utilising the app to meet up with friends virtually, which even include events like wedding proposals and birthday parties. In the game, players are able to visit one another’s personalised island and hang out together.
What no one thought of was a virtual rally for a political party, which would allow players to virtually gather on an island and create a movement.
The WP shared Mr Ng’s Facebook post last night, hinting at a possibility for such a virtual rally to happen.
The Party’s added a caption, saying, “Since we won’t be having physical rallies…see you on #AnimalCrossing? ????”
In the uploaded screenshot of the game, it shows a personalised section of Mr Ng’s island made into a makeshift stage with a podium, spotlights, and a stall “selling” merchandise.
Interestingly, the set was decorated with in-game custom-made Workers’ Party logo.
What’s more, apart from the WP’s logo, Mr Ng also re-created the logos for the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and People’s Action Party (PAP).
Seeing how his Workers’ Party set had gained much attention on social media, Mr Ng decided to put up his Animal Crossing island for rent to the political parties that are interested in holding a virtual rally on his uniquely personalised island.