Saturday, April 21, 2012


Straits Times April 21

PM Lee Hsien Loong has finally joined the global Facebook community. I checked out his FB page, and thought I might as well do the same with our PM Najib's FB page. The two men are only a year apart in age, but interestingly enough, what their FB page says or doesn't say about them is in itself revealing.

First, let us compare the timeline cover photos.

Colours add vibrancy. PM Lee stands out in the crowd with his red shirt and holding a red tablet. He is not posing for the photo although he is aware there are scores of photographers around.
Black and white photo? The handwriting on the two posters look similar - probably done by the same person for distribution to the crowd to hold up during the photo shoot. The photo also doesn't reflect a PM of all races. A rather contrived photo, right down to the 1Malaysia finger!

Najib's first post on Sept 16, 2008 was to announce the launch of his 1Malaysia website.

With Najib, practically the entire FB content is one big PR exercise of what he has done as PM since 2008 and the world leaders he has met. A showcase, if you will, of his 'achievements' as PM of Malaysia. All nicely packaged and ready to go in his campaign bid for another term in the 13th General Elections, perhaps? His first post dates from September 2008. There is nothing about the man prior to 2008 except the day that he was born - July 23, 1953.

PM Lee's 1958 Primary 6 class photo - a priceless and very personal photo that he is happy to share with the FB community.

PM Lee, on the other hand, comes across as warm, humble and friendly, and eager to try out Facebook to reach out to Singaporeans. He has posted several family photos, including his 1974 Cambridge University graduation photo taken with his parents and his 1985 wedding photo. His archive of photos dates back to 1958. Here is his very first FB post (if you can't read the fine print in the screen-grab, the text is quoted below):

Good choice of profile photo that reflects his youthful enthusiasm and readiness to try out new channels to stay connected with his people. He also shares his delight at re-establishing contact with old friends.

Hello Everybody, Welcome to my Facebook page! :-)) 

The social media have changed the way we live, work and play, especially the way we connect with one another. Societies, communities and governments all over the world will not be the same again. Many of my colleagues have been using social media, including Facebook. They have encouraged me to start my own Facebook page. Having watched them, I have decided to join the fun. 

I hope you will find my Facebook page interesting. I will use it to talk about some of the things I am doing, and thinking about, but I would also like to hear from you. Let's use this page to help shape ideas and understanding of what we can do together to improve our lives. 

As a Facebook newbie, I would appreciate your advice, suggestions and, most of all, your patience. My staff will help me maintain this page, but I will try to post as often as I can myself. I will sign off my own posts with the initials “LHL”. 

If you wish to write in Malay, Chinese or Tamil, please feel free to do so. I hope you like (and Like) what you read. Thank you very much for your support. LHL

Which of the two men comes across better as the people's PM?
Quite obvious, isn't it?

Put it another way, who has a better PR team? The answer is the same as the one above. :-)

Whether we like it or not, perception matters, especially if we want to win hearts (or votes).


Anonymous said...

Lily, it's not just perception!
Malaysians are now much better informed.
And we know how our government performed viz-a-viz that of Singapore.

seniorsaloud said...

Thanks for the comment :-) Was hoping someone would say it. It certainly isn't just perception.

Limli said...

Public relations create first impressions, yes, but not lasting impressions. For that, people look at the character of the person, whether the person is genuine, selfless, walk-the-talk. Once the first impression is demolished, no amount of PR can rebuild the trust.