"I met Chee Soon Juan two years ago at a barbeque organised by The Online Citizen in East Coast Park. He brought his wife and three daughters with him. I had a friendly chat with him.
I met him on a few subsequent occasions. I gave some puzzles, quizzes and my books to him to give to his daughters. I have always wondered about how difficult life must be for his daughers in school.
I have spoken to Chee Soon Juan spoke on a few occasions and heard him speak at public meetings. He came across as being a sensible person and has some views about what is good for Singapore. I agree with his views on the need to have to promote democracy and to have a government that reflects the aspirations of the people and is accountable to the people.
The mainstream media has painted a negative picture of Chee Soon Juan. Many Singaporeans perceive him in a negative light, which I believe is a wrong perception. I hope that they will have the chance to meet him and listen to him, or read his views in this blog.
I met a friend at a coffee shop this morning. I told him about my views of Chee Soon Juan and his family. He agreed with me. He had heard a story that Soon Juan's daughter had to speak up in class and tell her classmates, "My father did not commit any crime". He was emotional; tears came down from his eyes when he said, "I wonder how any parent would feel if our own daughter had to face this kind of difficulty in the class".
I like to wish Chee Soon Juan, his wife and three daughters all the best as they face the difficulty of life in Singapore. I hope that more Singaporeans will come forward to express their support to him and his family."
It is interesting that while Chee's views on the need to promote democracy and to have a government that reflects the aspirations of the people and is accountable to the people are admirable, these views are not apparent to most of the public. Why? Because the public is too busy reading up negative news about him from the mainstream media.
So, now we know. Chee needs to work on his personal branding.
Why is branding important for a politician like Chee? Imagine that you have received two boxes of mooncakes from the last Mid-Autumn festival. One from a five-stars hotel and the other from a neighbourhood bakery. Even before biting into the mooncakes, you would have already decided that the one from the hotel is definitely going to taste better. But now, imagine this. A couple of weeks before you receive the mooncakes, friends around you have been talking about how this neighbourhood bakery bakes great mooncakes. The newspapers gave not-to-be-missed comments about those mooncakes and even food blogs blogged about them. Which one are you most likely to bite into now?
Chee could really be a good-old-honest politician who has "views about what is good for Singapore". But like what Andy Lau told Tony Leung on the rooftop in Internal Affairs, "Who knows?". He needs to stop shouting at other politicians and getting himself sued. He needs to stop demonstrating pointlessly in the public and getting himself arrested. He needs to learn to be Obama.
Chee has to get out of that negative image that the mainstream media has brainwashed us with. And quick (before the next election!).
He needs to do what the other party is doing half-heartedly. Listen and interact with the people. Stop asking where are the CPF monies (sorry Chee, that's already old news because we've already given up on our CPF even before CPF Life is launched). Instead, ask where are the affordable HDB flats? Where are the jobs if the new immigrants are not here to take them away?
He needs to embed his voice into the Internet. Forget about pathetic small scale demonstrations in the public. Instead, he should share his vision in a Facebook fan page, tweet out loud his opinions, and record his passionate speeches in Youtube videos! Social media is the way to reach out now, not standing in the middle of nowhere and blocking people going to the nearest MRT station!
He needs to get a new message to market himself. Get rid of the "Where are our money?" tagline. Get a better Marketing Message like "Hope" or "Change we can believe in". But please. Do not come up with some cheesy song like "Upturn the Downturn".
So Chee, please let us see a better branded you in the next election. And in better shirts.