The Complex Brand of Singapore Political Views

Robin Low
8 min readMar 25

Although Singapore has several political parties, most people will try to simplify this as “PAP” and “Other Parties” — which the PAP successfully branded as “Opposition” — even though there is nothing much the other parties are opposed to besides PAP’s dominance.

Instead of talking about analyzing trends and numbers, I want to look at what happened in terms of narratives. In the two parties dominated system like the United States, the parties have clear identities and told distinct stories. Similarly, in Singapore, because of controlled media, there is often a narrative craft by the PAP party which is portrayed in most of the state owned media, and of course, there is other forms of digital media that offers differing opinions.

US politics has transformed over the years. The changes in early seventies marked a long-term Democratic shift in power from the white working class to the college-educated and minorities. It took decades but the two parties traded places. By the year 2000, the Democrats were becoming the home of affluent professionals, while the Republicans were starting to sound like populist insurgents.

Singapore too has transformed much as the population is getting more educated and there is a lot of influx of foreigners. In the seventies where the city was rapidly developing while the population was getting educated, the one party system worked by having a strong-man, creating stability and dominance to drive semi-permanent changes. But by the year 2000, many policies started to show cracks, but being “strong-man” driven where apologizing is seen as a weakness, Singapore simply doubled down on expensive public housing and importing more foreign workers, simply because the land scarce country is also baby scarce as Singaporeans are not reproducing enough to replace its population, creating a situation where there will be an aging workforce, and these unique situations and more have created these narratives that we see today.

  1. Pro-PAP Singaporeans

Policies that end capital gains tax and estate duty taxes, along with other exclusive government grant schemes which we see during COVID, where a large part of the national reserves are used to support businesses and not employees made many of them relate to the party.

Robin Low

Author, Traveler, Innovator. Focuses on Social Impact and Innovation.