With Nomination Day over, it is time for the election campaigning to begin and the PAP has lost no time in strategically unfurling banner after banner and poster after poster in all the constituencies up for grabs.
But one fresh tactic that has been unseen before this election has been the plastering of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s face with the tagline With You, For You, For Singapore, all over the island to complement the respective PAP candidate posters. It appears as though the idea is to centralize the call to vote for PAP by using the PM as the focal point.
However, this strategy only works when the focal point is a charismatic leader with the power to draw the people together. In PM Lee Hsien Loong’s case, he is at best considered ‘an ok guy’, not some polarising figure.
In fact, the converse may be true that he represents all that is wrong with the current government, which then serves to be a stark reminder to the people that even if they were choosing their beloved MP who has served them well as a grassroots leader, they are ultimately ‘voting for this guy’.
Under that premise, these posters would have the exact opposite effect of making voters feel like actively NOT voting for PAP in spite of their inclinations.
Perhaps the base idea of this approach is to channel Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who has proven to be indeed the kind of magical focal point that could unite a divided country – as demonstrated by the national outpouring of grief at his demise in March.
However, Singaporeans hardly relate to Lee Hsien Loong being the son of Lee Kuan Yew any more, especially with most voters seeing the governance under him as the ‘new PAP’ versus the ‘old PAP’ helmed by our first prime minister.
This marketing angle therefore has more potential to cause damage to the PAP campaign than it has to convince and reassure the electorate. It remains to be seen whether all this will spectacularly backfire on 9/11 at GE2015.