During a doorstop interview at West Coast Market Square after a Sunday (Jul. 5) morning walkabout, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran was asked about his view on the campaigning strategies of Tan Cheng Bock, the Secretary-General of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP).
Iswaran is the anchor minister for the People's Action Party's (PAP) team, while Tan is heading the PSP team, contesting West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC).
Previously said voters should look at substance, not personality
A member of media pointed out that observations have been made about how Tan has been met during his walkabouts with people cheering and shouting his name, and how he has been utilising social media to connect with young voters.
The previous day, Saturday (Jul. 4), Iswaran had said that voters should look at the substance of what both sides have to offer, rather than focusing on personalities.
He had been responding to a question from media about whether voters might feel "torn" between having to choose between two ministers from the PAP team (Iswaran and Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee), and Tan.
Won't comment on Tan's strategy
In light of that, the question from media on Sunday centred on Iswaran's view on Tan's strategy.
"We don't think we should be commenting on the strategy or the approach being adopted by our opponents," responded Iswaran. "Ultimately, I think our people have to decide what is appropriate."
"But I can tell you what we are focused on. What we are focused on is to convey to our people in as direct and as sincere a manner what we stand for, what we have done, and what we intend to do if we are reelected."
Iswaran admitted that while his team does use social media, "maybe many of us are not as savvy as Dr. Tan."
However, he felt that being social media savvy is not the most important thing:
"I think, ultimately, what counts is the sincerity of the message and the ability to follow through and deliver. I may be old fashioned, but I think that's the most important thing."
Tan Cheng Bock's "hypebeast" online presence
Tan has gained a fanbase online among young voters due to his social media use, as he has been posting often and engaging with netizens.
He has also been utilising vocabulary currently popular with young people, such as "woke" and "hypebeast", a word he posted about learning on Instagram on Jun. 30.
And videos like this one of him doing a finger-heart.
Which has made him quite popular on Twitter.
Top photos via Fasiha Nazren and Instagram / @tanchengbock.