I do have a different view from that of Minister Tan Chuan Jin. We are both looking on the same thing, online social media and that of silent majority.
I have taken about 2 years engaging online social media folks, watching the debate and taking notes of views. Pre-GE2011 the anti-government voice was absolutely dominant. It was much like a monopoly where they capture and control every argument.
The pro-PAP people were really whacked upside down and we were like didn't know how to respond. The PAP camp was almost always on the defense all the time. But these are no longer. Since 2014 or thereabout the volume and momentum of anti-Opposition online activities actually increased.
Pro-Oppositions are still in command of online initiatives as of today, probably it's in the nature of opposing but pro-PAP is no longer the punching bag that cannot retaliate.
It is the same when we look at the crowd attending election rallies. Was not the crowd at opposition rallies gotten bigger? But what is very telling is the significant increased in PAP crowd, though still smaller in comparison.
Why were analysts caught surprised? Why were opposition parties shocked? They were awed by the dominant voice of oppositions online in the same way as they were awed by the huge increased in crowd of opposition rallies and have failed to notice the rising tide coming from the pro-PAP.
The distortion lies with the lens watchers used and not with the very scene that is going on.
I've also made a cut-out of what Min Tan said about engaging those who did not support the PAP. That is the way to go.
The question may not be "how to identify them?" but "how to get it started?". I think when a conducive environment is there, they will identify themselves. The conditions to such an environment needs to be open and inclusive, highly tolerant, highly receptive and with absolute sincerity.
I am still talking to myself whether such an exercise should be undertaken by PA related grassroots or the PAP branches or neither. There are pros and cons to each proposition. There are also rules that may stand in the way which need to be looked at.
I have mentioned once about extending the Singapore Conversation, perhaps of a very different scale or style.
Min Tan may also have his plans in the working.