Young PAP video: Good message, bad delivery

Young PAP video: Good message, bad delivery

In politics this week, a kerfuffle erupted over a video produced by cadres of the People's Action Party's youth wing, Young PAP (YP), who were lampooned for their bad acting.

The four-minute clip about the youth wing's hopes for the PAP and Singapore went viral for all the wrong reasons, and got some quarters drawing conclusions that it was yet another sign that the party was out of touch with voters.

This forced a response from the party, which said in a Facebook post that the "humble, in-house production" in no way detracts from the genuine and sincere work that the youth wing had done on the ground. Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan quipped that "actions speak louder than words" in the PAP.

What happened with the video raises interesting questions about the way politics and political parties present themselves in Singapore today.

In this instance, it seems like style, or the lack of it, can detract from substance in people's evaluation of a party and its members.

First the style: The video was stitched up from a series of short clips filmed by YP members in each district, and featured them mostly standing in groups and reciting lines en masse. In some segments, only one person from the entire group was speaking, while the others stood alongside looking wooden.

Critics online slammed their "robotic" voices, "stiff" poses and stilted delivery of a "prepared script", with many claiming that they could not bear to watch the entire video.

Even PAP members who stood by the video, such as Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, acknowledged it was "raw and unpolished".

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