Elon Musk tweets Straits Times back after newspaper tells him to stop whining

How to own the news cycle.

Belmont Lay | June 03, 2018, 05:05 AM

Elon Musk, billionaire CEO of electric car maker Tesla, has tweeted back at The Straits Times, Singapore's English newspaper of record.

Why did Musk tweet back at ST?

This was after ST published a June 2 opinion piece by its resident petrolhead Christopher Tan, who called on Musk to quit whining about how the Singapore government doesn't support electric cars and explained why our prosperity doesn't necessitate car ownership.

What started the exchange?

Musk had tweeted on May 26 that the Singapore government was not supportive of electric cars -- and obviously didn't explain himself enough:

The ST article (behind a paywall), "Open letter to Elon Musk", then essentially told the Tesla founder to get off his high horse and recognise that land-scarce Singapore is not here to do any car maker any favours by helping them sell more of their products.

If Tesla is obsessed with breaking into the Singapore market, it should make cars that can actually be sold here -- without relying on government subsidies.

What did the open letter ST article say?

In summary, ST's article explained how Tesla electric cars

• are not affordable for non-millionaires (Prices start at S$426,800 (including Certificate Of Entitlement) for a Model S 85D);

• are too powerful and will be taxed accordingly in the same band as powerful combustion engine cars;

• are not a necessity in Singapore, a country that is coping with a burgeoning population and decreasing land area;

• will ultimately be using electricity derived from non-renewable fossil-based natural gas fuel, as that is where Singapore gets its power.

Is Musk using Twitter to muscle his way into news cycle?

Clearly, he is.

Musk is a savvy smooth operator when it comes to his Twitter nudge nudge wink wink, that results in slavish coverage from fawning mindless tech publications keen to lap up anything the so-called real-life Iron Man does.

The media has already gone into overdrive by taking note of Musk's preferences that have nothing to do with his enterprise, such as how he is a fan of Rick and Morty and how he is dating a woman who happened to make a pun joke before he did.

And take this tweet by Musk in response to a completely made up story by ClickHole:

It came in a week where Musk and Tesla were getting eviscerated by US media due to the car maker's consistent upselling that resulted in the narrative outrunning the results: