Photo of Minister Chee Hong Tat from Straits Times Mark Cheong

In a media interview with state media Straits Times, Minister of State Chee Hong Tat said that the government is very sincere when communicating with the people, and that people should not to be too cynical when reading state-sponsored messages:

“What we are doing here is communicating factual information to help people to better understand so that they are more aware of these schemes and how they can benefit. I hope people (will not) be too cynical. I accept that some amount of scepticism is going to be there regardless of whether it’s communications or any other policy area. But I also believe that the majority of Singaporeans can see that we are very sincere in this effort to reach out, to connect, to explain our policies, and most importantly to help (them) to understand and to benefit from the policies.”

Minister of Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat said he doesn’t think that government “communications” are wayang – a local term for theatrical performance often labelled on the ruling party dictatorship.

The newbie Minister was brought onto politics by getting a free ticket in Tampines GRC during the 2015 election reiterated his confidence claiming all government policies are impeccable:

“If a policy has a problem or is no longer relevant, we will review the policy and improve it. We have to start with a fundamental principle: to be credible and well accepted, communications has to be truthful, has to be accurate, has to be reliable. If your starting point is… the policy itself is no good, or the programme is not well designed, communications alone is not going to help to solve the problem.”

Minister Chee also said that during his propaganda dissemination, elderly Singaporeans expressed their “heart-felt” thanks to him for receiving the propaganda messages:

“The most memorable was from seniors who told me, thank you for remembering us. Thank you for doing this to reach out to us. That kam cheng (Hokkien for connection) is very hard to describe and measure, but it’s very important. Because part of communications is the emotional connection. It’s not just about hard facts. An additional benefit of doing it in dialect is we are speaking to seniors using a language they are most familiar with. So for them (there’s) that intimacy.”

You may read the full interview here.