Newly ordained 'Tweeter of Parliament' Tan Chuan-Jin gains stans in an entertaining night

PHOTO: The Straits Times; Twitter screengrab

Politicians, by their very nature and job requirements, aren’t usually known for their candidness. Unless you’re counting populist presidents of course. 

But certainly candid was Tan Chuan-Jin last night (Feb 20) as Singapore’s Speaker of Parliament went off on Twitter. His forthright vibes must have felt like a huge breath of fresh air for folks on Twitter, who quickly became his stans after he personally responded to everyone who @ him. 

To be clear, the man has had an active Twitter account for quite some time already but it was only last night that it suddenly blew up. It began with a rando responding sourly to Tan’s sensible tweet urging people not to go panic-shopping in response to the heightened coronavirus outbreak situation. 

Two things about the Twitter user who put Tan on blast. Firstly, he was actually defending the wanton acts of panic-hoarding. Secondly, he mistook the Speaker of Parliament for Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, whose leaked remarks about panic hoarders recently circulated on social media. 

Tan shot back and (surprisingly) engaged the other party in a small Twitter squabble, and he didn't hold back. The Speaker of Parliament has spoken. 

It ended pretty quickly, with the politician apologising to his followers for the odd exchange. 

The frankness revealed another side to the Speaker of Parliament, and because Twitter loves drama, folks started chiming in. The stans started arriving.

After having a relatively quiet Twitter account for some time, Tan finally realised that being stanned on the platform opens you up to a whole new world. Of course, he also learnt what stanning means. 

From that point onwards, the Speaker of Parliament turned into the de facto Tweeter of Parliament too as he spent his Thursday night replying to his new stans, discussing things like the Premier League (he’s a Liverpool stan himself), his preferred potato chip flavours, and his thoughts on Academy-award nominated flicks. 

The man eventually had to head off for some shut-eye, but as of this morning, he continues to diligently reply to his mentions. 

ilyas@asiaone.com