Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pseudo Politics: The George Yeo Facebook page

Here's the link to our Foreign Minister's Facebook page (it is public).

It is a fun (long) read. Was a little surprised by it given how tight-lipped most PAP ministers are about their work.

I still do not know what to fully make of it. Then again, I realize I do not really know George Yeo very well in the first place. So, here are some surface thoughts:

1) It is public (you do not need to be his "friend" to read everything on his "wall"). So, it is intended to serve his purpose as a cabinet minister and he does not hide that (good for him).

2) Imho, it is a genuine attempt to feature his work on behalf of Singapore while also revealing some of his personality and personal life. In all the entries I've read, where he does write something, he rarely ventures an opinion. He usually acknowledges his fans with a nice short neutral statement. The reason I use "genuine" is because I did cynically wonder if the account is the work of a team writing on behalf of Mr Yeo. If it is, then they have certainly been remarkably good.

3) He has 1630 "friends". There are a good number of attention seekers (pretty hardcore fans who comment on just about everything he does). I wonder how he feels about them. Interestingly, there are a number of people publicly seeking his opinions on issues political and social. Apparently, he does respond, just not publicly (which is the wise and appropriate thing to do). This I deduced from three (somewhat awkward) public comments by one seemingly distraught Indian gentleman.

4) Overall, I like it and the general tone it presents. So, I must applaud his cyberspace presence. He shares a blog with Mr Harold Fock "Beyond SG" which provides a more detailed look (when he posts) on his experiences and views after each major international visit. Pretty interesting.

5) I got curious and tried to see if there was any other major PAP ministerial presence online. Only Vivian Balakrishnan is Mr Yeo's friend on Facebook, so I'm gonna make the fairly safe assumption that no one else is actually on Facebook. Dr Balakrishnan is certainly not (yet) as tech savvy as Mr Yeo. Or maybe his interests do not really lie here on cyberspace (to be fair, it *is* intensely time-consuming).

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