Singapore National Conversation Report

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There is no lack of criticism on Singapore and her government. Time (2007) says her politics are “paternalistic” and her social environment “straitlaced”. The Economist (2010) describes Singapore as a “nanny state, but it is by no means an indulgent nanny”. Just last year (2011), an independent socio-political blog was “gazetted” by the govenment.

So it may come as a surprise to observers when the Singapore government embarks on a National Conversation. Initiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long and led by Education Minister Heng Swee Kiat, it is an opportunity to “reaffirm what is good and still relevant; recalibrate in areas where we have gone off course; and refresh and innovate, and break new ground.”

Citizens can participate in the conversation either via Facebook, Twitter (#oursgconv), via organised dialogue sessions (which you need to signup for) or informal discussions.

Here are our observations after four days (14 - 17 Sept) of social media monitoring using JamiQ Buzz.

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Singapore National Conversation Report

  1. 1. National Conversation Case-Study: Conversation with PM Lee and#askSGThere is no lack of criticism on Singapore and her government. Time (2007) says her politics are“paternalistic” and her social environment “straitlaced”. The Economist (2010) describes Singapore as a“nanny state, but it is by no means an indulgent nanny”. Just last year (2011), an independent socio-political blog was “gazetted” by the govenment.So it may come as a surprise to observers when the Singapore government embarks on a NationalConversation. Initiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long and led by Education Minister Heng Swee Kiat, itis an opportunity to “reaffirm what is good and still relevant; recalibrate in areas where we have gone offcourse; and refresh and innovate, and break new ground.”.Citizens can participate in the conversation either via Facebook, Twitter (#oursgconv), via organiseddialogue sessions (which you need to signup for) or informal discussions.
  2. 2. National Conversation Case-Study: Conversation with PM Lee and#askSGChannel News Asia recently announced that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong would be engagingSingaporeans as part of the National Conversation directive, in a televised forum on 14th September.Together with Education Minister Heng Swee Keat and Members of Parliament Indranee Rajah and DrIntan Azura Mokhtar, they would be responding to questions and points brought up by 50 invited guests,which include Singaporeans from all walks of life. Views are also encouraged to tweet questions using the#askSG hashtag, during the live interaction section.Keyword choice was particularlyimportant, as capturing conversationsgenerated from the forum wasparticularly important. Though “PrimeMinister” was rather generic, we includedit as we could potentially filter it down toSingapore in the search portion.Additionally, we tracked the proposedhashtag #askSG to determine how widelyused it was over the weekend.
  3. 3. National Conversation Case-Study: Conversation with PM Lee and#askSG No. of % of Sentiment Entries Total +ive/-ive Singapore 449 100% -68.5% (-) Media Type No. of % of Sentiment Entries Total +ive/-ive Microblogs 399 88.9% -73.0% (-) News 31 6.9% 75.0% (+) Blogs 18 4.0% 50.0% Others 1 0.2% 100.0% (+)There was a significant amount of entries recorded over the course of a month, with an average of110 entries per day. Though most entries were not that influential, overall sentiment towards theprogramme was negative on a whole, with an average negative sentiment of -68.5%.The details also revealed that Microblogs were the most popular medium for expression, with closeto 89% of all mentions coming from microblogging sites. However, a majority of these sentimentswere negative, with an average negative sentiment of -73%. Ironically, 6.9% of chatter came fromnews sites, which carried mostly positive sentiments of 75%.
  4. 4. National Conversation Case-Study: Conversation with PM Lee and#askSG Top 5 sites No. of % of Sentiment Entries Total +ive/-ive twitter.com/occupysg 16 3.6% -84.6% (-) twitter.com/tocsg 14 3.1% -90.9% (-) twitter.com/SGnews 13 2.9% -100.0% (-) twitter.com/sgbroadcast 12 2.7% -66.7% (-) twitter.com/TinPeiLingFan 11 2.4% -75.0% (-)The negative sentiments found within microblogs can be explained somewhat with just a glance at thetop 5 sites – all of these are Twitter users who were generally negative about the entire forum, andaccounted for almost 15% of all total Twitter chatter. Additionally, the sentiment overview over theweekend showed that while sentiments were generally positive on 14th Sept when the forum wasaired, opinions generally became worse as the days passed, culminating in largely negative sentimentson the 16th and 17th of September.
  5. 5. National Conversation Case-Study: Conversation with PM Lee and#askSGTo obtain a better idea about the negative issues people were talking about, we took a look at onlynegative entries, which produced the top trending words above. According to our system, other thantop trending words such as “National Conversation” and “Conversation with PM Lee”, “KennethJeyaretnam” was mentioned very often as well. Results show that a post by Kenneth Jeyaretnam wasfrequently shared on Twitter, with the associated title “National CONversation” (the caps wasdeliberate in the posts). These accounted for a fair number of negative entries.
  6. 6. National Conversation Case-Study: Conversation with PM Lee and#askSGIn addition, there wereseveral negative entriesover the course of theweekend about the factthat there were quite afew members of the 50participants who wereobvious PAP supportersand members. Thiscontributed to theincreased negativesentiment, as the publicdecried the authenticityof the forum’srepresentation.
  7. 7. About JamiQ JamiQ’s award-winning multilingual social media monitoring software and services help businesses listen, measure, and discover insights from conversations taking place online. JamiQ’s unique solution provides deep analysis into Asia-Pacific’s diverse communities and multilingual social media. JamiQ uses advanced data mining and natural language processing technology to produce real-time buzz trending, sentiment detection, influence scoring, and market segmentation across multiple languages, giving you the critical insights businesses need for real-time and strategic decision-making.
  8. 8. Contact JamiQ JamiQ Private Limited +65 6536 0906 (office) questions@jamiq.com http://www.jamiq.com 67 South Bridge Road, Level 3 Singapore 058697

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