In the run up the elections, many Singaporeans are stepping forward to volunteer their time and energy to help opposition parties, including the Workers’ Party (WP), to succeed at the polls. In fact, a number of my blog readers have emailed me to volunteer their help.
There are many things that supporters can help with, from accompanying party members of their house visits, to logistics, to being polling agents on Election Day. We welcome volunteers to help in any way that fits their schedule, interests and talents.
There is another outreach activity which very effective, but often overlooked—starting a conversation with your family, friends or colleagues about politics.
Word-of-mouth has always been the most powerful marketing mechanism. It is often a more effective mode of communication than newspapers, TV and political rallies. The reason is simple: Your family and friends trust you more than they trust the media or politicians. Your opinions are more likely to rub off on them than a rousing speech by a candidate whom they don’t know personally.
So if you want to see political change in Singapore, you don’t need to even venture beyond your immediate circle of contacts (although if you could, that would be good too). The family dinner, the lunch break with colleagues or the hangout over coffee with friends present ideal opportunities to start a conversation about politics. In this age of social networks, posting a link on your Facebook wall could also be a conversation starter.
Of course, the million dollar question is: What do you talk to them about?
The key in these conversations is not to try to convince them to vote for the opposition right away. Changing a person’s political opinions takes time. Often Singaporeans’ political views have been shaped by years of conditioning through schools, the media and PAP-aligned organisations.
I will soon be posting articles on the do’s and don’ts of such conversations, as well as suggested topics to discuss. So stay tuned!