Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rebranding Singapore

Who would have thought it, Yale and Singapore share a common ancestry. Ishaan Tharoor tells us (TIME, 15 Oct 2012, "Illiberal Arts") that an East India Company employee, Elihu Yale, donated the equivalent of £562 in kind to an obscure college in Connecticut to help build the school that now carries his name. The other East India Company employee more familiar to us, Sir Stamford Raffles, turned an idyllic fishing village into the metropolitan monstrosity that is uniquely Singapore. If you think that's a harsh descriptive, contemplate why the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) has gone ahead to spend big bucks on a worldwide tender (“Public Relations Plan to Enhance External Perceptions of Singapore”) for public relations companies to rebrand Singapore. The official excuse offered: the Lion City has gained a “reputation for being safe, clean, efficient and pro-business”, but there “still exist some misconceptions and a substantial lag between reality.”

We'll ignore for a moment the ugly rumours of financial shenanigans in the deal for Yale, the training ground of five U.S. presidents, destination of choice for aspiring political leaders and scions of influential industrialists. Yale is mired in controversy for compromising "the spirit of the university as a center of open debate and protest by giving away the rights of its students". The angry rhetoric refers to the admission of Pericles Lewis, first president of the Yale-National University of Singapore (NUS) College, that students on the Singapore campus will not be able to stage political protests or form political parties. If it's an incubator of world class political minds you're after, head for New Haven, Connecticut.

Mr Jorg Dietzel, CEO of Jorg Dietzel Brand Consultants, who will probably be bidding for the juicy MICA tender, said common misconceptions of Singapore include how the country supposedly lacks freedom, and was boring and sterile. The exercise may prove to be an interesting experience, in the spirit of the rename Marina Bay effort. After wasting more taxpayers' monies, Singapore could be rebranded as ............ (drum roll) .............. Singapore!


  1. Wah!
    “Public Relations Plan to Enhance External Perceptions of Singapore”

    Millionaire-in-Parliament Baey Yam Keng must be very excited.

    Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Baey Yam Keng, 37, has joined Singapore's largest public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton as an accounts director in its Public Affairs practice.


    1. So bloody expensive nowadays to call a spade, "a spade".

      "Where is the money going to come from?"
      PAP MP Vikram Nair (Nee Soon GRC)

    2. A flood is a flood. Let's not call it ponding.
      Dr. V. Balakrishnan, Environment Millionaire. What say you about this PR exercise?

      Historical perspective:
      Dr Balakrishnan said: "The technical difference between a flood, a flash flood and a pond - let me just say that as far as I'm concerned.

      "PUB should not have used the word, "ponding".
      "As far as I'm concerned, I call a spade a spade, a flood is a flood.

    3. Er, Baey was made Managing Director of Hill & Knowlton in January, 2011. Thanks, no doubt to gahment business contracts like the National Conversation.

    4. How come an MP can take so many jobs that have nothing to do with service to the people, except for increasing his own payroll? Will he sleep in Parliament? Will he represent the people, or represent the MNC?

      This is very similar to appointing an NMP who goes to Korea for a concert on the same day as the Swearing In to Parliament day.

  2. "...misconceptions of Singapore include how the country supposedly lacks freedom, and was boring and sterile..."

    This has been the freaking brief or misconception for the last 2 decades. Apparently Brand agencies are still saying the same thing over and over no matter whenever the account is up for view..goes to show...all those Brand Agencies should just be fired for failing. Wat is going to be different this time. Are they going to turn my singapore to "Your Singapore" and now "World's Singapore"?!! Is not what you dressed outside, but your soul inside - Dumbwits!!

    1. Why is it misconception? It still lacks freedom and is politically and socially sterile. It appears "interesting" only because of the 2m foreigners they try to inject into the small island just to promote "diversity"...who doesn't know the trick?

    2. Should Agency be fired, or the people running the country?

      Machiam you have a helicopter, but want the to sell it like a jet?

  3. You mean to say they still need to spend millions to shore up the Singapore brandname which in other words does it mean to say that the LKY brand by itself has lost its usefulness ?

    By the way, if the millions paid to our Ministers can't even keep maintain our Changi Airport ranking among the top 10, why do we need to pay them so much ?

    Has someone been bluffing us all this while ?

    1. Must be so.

      Anyway, that smasrt Aleck PR company may just suggest "The People's Republic of Singapore " or "Singapore Incorporated ".

      Both pretty apt, wouldn't you agree? Cynically, of course.

    2. sorry Changi Airport is always on the top ten of airports.............just ask any frequent traveller.........

    3. Ha ha, Top 10 can mean that SCIA is # 10 or #9.
      Pretty good.
      We are always better than Top 5, no?

  4. can anyone enlighten me what is uniquely singapore about uniquely singapore

    1. So many things uniquely Singapore;
      a.The Millionaires-in-White who champion the rights of the workers.

      b.The Minions-In-White who follow blindly without thinking especially at election rallies.

      c.The world's most difficult to manage MRT system. That constantly breaks down and requires the highest paid MRT CEO in the world to manage it.
      We also have the world's longest MRT train tracks in the world. Making it very difficult to maintain.

      Unlike New York City MRT.
      One of the smallest city in the world.
      With the shortest train tracks in the world.
      And an MRT system that is so much newer than Singapore.
      So easy to manage. Anybody, even a retail manager can run this MRT with her eyes closed.

    2. What's so unique about Singapore is that all our neighbours - Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines - allow their ordinary citizens to own a satellite dish. So much for our boasts about superior communications with the world.

    3. Satellite dish TV means Sinkies can get news directly from numerous sources all around the world.

      How can allow?
      Then Singapore's msm will surely die.
      And all the MIW political appointees who work in these organizations will lose their iron rice bowl.

    4. Anon 9:45am,

      Correct !
      Then come along a wonderful development called the internet.

      North Korea still control access for its citizens.
      We are more enlightened.

      So what, the ruling party is counting on its new creation doctrine. ( New Citizens Doctrine),no ?

  5. Singapore is a very big country.
    With one of the largest population in the world.
    Exceeding China's 1.3 billion people.
    Very difficult to manage.
    So our politicians have to be the highest paid in the world.

    Being such a big island.
    We have the longest coastline in the world.
    Making it very easy for a terrorist like Mas Selamat to escape.
    We cannot use a small island like Australia as a comparison.
    Australian coast guard have such an easy task.

    1. Singapore is so much bigger than USA.
      We are the only big country in the world that does not have nuclear power.
      It is inconceivable that such a big country like ours can carry on much longer without nuclear power.

      Being the leading experts in nuclear technology, we have decided to use thorium technology to power our forthcoming nuclear plants.
      Thorium technology is cutting edge technology. Only 2 other leading countries are forward thinking enough to use it. China and India.

      Singapore Ah Bengs who are dis-interested parties, have even spontaneously put up a thorium website to spread the thorium gospel.

    2. I think one of these days, our PAP leaders may argue that Singapore cannot afford not to have nuclear power.

      Whatever the reasons they may have, it is not for any of us to disagree. Father knows best.

  6. “I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP.” - Lee Kuan Yew, Petir, 1982

    They can paint themselves whiter than white, their favourite ploy,or pay someone, through tax-payer's money, to do it for them; but beneath the veneer, it is still the same. Scratch the surface, and the same shit is there. They are "incapable of reinventing themselves". There's only one way to rebrand Singapore, and that is to change the regime.

    1. “I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP.” - Lee Kuan Yew, Petir, 1982

      And that my friend is the problem.
      Unless you believe the Pro Alien Party has a monopoly on wisdom and good governance.

    2. Yes.
      Grandfather knows best.

  7. Rebranding Singapore means "we are running out of stories and half truths ... we need fresh ideas"

  8. "SPIN, one of the most insightful films ever made about the mechanics of how television is used as a tool of social control to distort and limit the American public’s perception of reality. Take the time to watch it from beginning to end and you’ll never look at TV reporting the same again. Tell your friends about it.
    This extraordinary film released in the early 1990s is almost completely unknown. Hopefully, the Internet will change that." unquote

    (Spin Watch Free Documentary Online)

    (Where Bears Roam Free Hillary calls for war on Iran and laughs about it)

    Joshua Chiang

  9. to pass monies to their cronies for doing very little work.

  10. PAP is not able to learn lesson anymore!

    1. So Sinkies must teach them a lesson is it?