TL;DR – You think so?
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin was touted as one of the core members of the 4G leaders in Singapore. He was Minister of Manpower, then moved to be the Minister of Family and Social Development. It seemed like he was doing a good job, and his career as a politician was well on track. Then all of a sudden, he relinquished his ministerial post and took on the role of Speaker of Parliament.
A lot of people, myself included, saw this as a demotion. With such a move, Mr Tan appeared to have moved out of the core of the 4G leadership. No more progression for his political career. It didn’t make sense. Why that move?
But recently, it is getting increasingly clear why Mr Tan was made Speaker. As Speaker, Mr Tan has been proactively doing things to make parliament more interesting, and to let people understand what goes on in parliament.
Raising awareness about Parliament
Mr Tan recently did this video titled “How to MP”,
In the video, Mr Tan talks about how much time an MP gets to speak in parliament in different situations. The video makes the protocols of parliament a bit more interesting.
“What we do here is obviously serious but no reason not to also have a laugh at ourselves from time to time! We hope to use different approaches to create more awareness of what we do, why etc. Singaporeans relate in different ways and from your feedback, there have been various ideas surfaced.”
From the Chair
Other than that video, Mr Tan has also increased the social media presence of parliament. He has his own official blog called “From the Chair.” It’s part of the overall plan to make Parliament more accessible to Singaporeans, especially on the online space.
Through the blog, Mr Tan hopes to help explain and demystify the parliamentary process, and over time help Singaporeans build a better understanding of this important institution. He’ll be posting my thoughts on a wide range of topics, as well as explaining important processes. He’ll not only talk about just the various proceedings, but the issues discussed and debated during the sittings as well.
Parliament now also has an Instagram account. It’s targeted at engaging the young. That Instagram account currently has a few posts with interesting nuggets of information about Parliament. It aims to share snapshots and nuggets of information on our Parliament’s history and what goes on behind those walls.
As a cute touch, Parley, the mascot for Parliament, has been made one of the “administrators” of the Instagram account.
It’s still too early to tell whether Singaporeans will really be more interested in Parliament and what goes on in there because of Mr Tan’s efforts. But one thing for sure, he is doing more than previous speakers have done to get Singaporeans interested in Parliament.