During the hustling of 2011 General Elections, supporters of the opposition were having a field day in social media and practically dominated the discourse over internet.
The PAP was not prepared for such tsunami like attacks, and its supporters were thrown into disarray not knowing how to respond. They were outnumbered and grossly ridiculed.
The PAP had believed and I think they still do that the real battle is on the ground. Social media does not accurately represent true sentiments of the electorates vis-a-vis the silent majority. They are not wrong except that they underestimated the significance of what dominating social media and the internet means.
Very quickly, PAP supporters picked up the ropes of social media discourse, thanks to social media group Fabrication About the PAP. They set about exposing unverified statements and blatant lies that opposition supporters created to win over at discussion platforms.
By and large the PAP supporters had done well but in my opinion are still lacking behind the opposition supporters. Why is this so?
On the side of the opposition, they had a number of well known academics, historians, lawyers and prominent figures in the arts fraternity and bloggers who have no qualms about being public about their support for the opposition, some cloaked in the grandiose of democracy, freedom of expression etc but nevertheless opposition in spirit.
Capable, sharp minded similars on the side of the PAP prefers to remain neutral or anonymous. There are not many, perhaps none that writes with the same convincing power comparable with the adversaries. Gladly of late, certain ex-diplomats has entered the foray giving the PAP side a much needed shot in the arm. But still, he is not one who engages in day to day battle.
The game changer came with the demise of PAP strongman Lee Kuan Yew. The "Silent Majority" armed with moral uprightness went into battle and started slaughtering every disrespectful comment about Lee Kuan Yew.
The opposition camp was caught unprepared and retaliated with some half-baked commentaries that don't make sense to ordinary educated folks. Their logic and arguments were incongruent.
For the opposition camp that habitually wins most of arguments through crooked logic now find themselves standing on a shaky platform, and spared no effort in trying to prevent it from coming down disgracefully. They started commentaries attacking the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew.
But this did not work, so they changed tactic by honouring Lee Kuan Yew and disparage Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong instead.
Will this work? This does not depend on how well they craft their attacks but instead on how well the public, in particular the moderates as to how they analyze these commentaries. By conventional wisdom they should win because analyzing matters takes efforts and most people prefer to jump quickly to conclusion by way of the superficial. But we cannot rule out that these moderates are now fairly emotionally charged and in the words of Lee Kuan Yew, their adrenalin are so charged that there is tremendous amount of energy in them to take the trouble to analyze and make intelligent response.
Whether PAP supporters have the strategy and/or the will to do a concerted counter attack in the face of this strategic advantage, a special gift from Mr Lee Kuan Yew, is left to be seen.