Singapore—The country’s millennials, like many young people in other nations, have been widely perceived to be disinterested in politics. However, the recent Covid-19 outbreak, along with how the Government has handled the tremendous health and economic issues stemming from it, has left some in their 20s and 30s not only impressed but engaged, some even for the first time.
According to an article in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), more millennials are beginning to take notice of how the fourth generation of leaders of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) is handling the current crisis, which could translate into votes for them for the upcoming General Election (GE).
Evidence that millennials may be turning out to become PAP supporters may be seen on social media, where people from this demographic, who have not been engaged before, are voicing approval.
SCMP cites millennials who have been impressed with the recently-announced Resilience Budget and have taken to their Instagram and other social media feeds to proclaim this.
Additionally, millennials who have become business owners or freelancers are now beneficiaries of the payout the Government is giving. According to Blackbox Research, three-fifths of the respondents in a recent survey who are from the ages of 20 and 29 feel that this cash payout would help them and their families. Fifty percent of these young respondents also said that the endeavours the Government has made will help keep Singapore’s economy stable.
SCMP quotes 30-year-old Shaf Amis’aabudin, a teacher and freelance fashion designer as saying, “My rice bowl is greatly affected by this and since the government is helping, why not check it out?”
For some millennials, Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s Minister for National Development and co-chair of the multi-ministry task force assigned to tackle the Covid-19 crisis, has emerged as one to watch, especially after his tearful acknowledgment of frontline health workers in Parliament, clips of which were widely shared on social media.
While some were moved—and the SCMP article leads with one millennial saying that Mr Wong’s tears had an “ASMR effect” on her (autonomous sensory meridian response), others have called his speech ‘wayang,’ a performance, and therefore, fake, saying that it was done in order to gain votes for the upcoming GE.
Thirty-five-year-old Wang Liwei, a media practitioner, is quoted as saying the minister’s tears were “all optics for the upcoming election”.
Furthermore, he asked, “If the Olympics can be postponed by one year, what is the general election?”
Opposition parties have recognized how important it is to gain the support of the younger generation, given that they will be voting in the years to come. The newest entry into Singapore’s political arena, Progress Singapore Party, led by former PAP Member of Parliament Dr Tan Cheng Bock, recognized this early and began a push to gain popular support among young people even last year. But with vital face-to-face encounters now impossible due to the need for social distancing, the opposition may find itself with much ground to cover should the GE be called anytime soon. —/TISG
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