TL;DR – Conning Singaporeans since 2011.
There are few people in this world who irritate me as much as Alex Tan. I’ve not met him in person. But the things he posts online are so toxic that I can’t help myself from being irritated by him.
Wait. You don’t know who Alex Tan is? Ok. Maybe you have heard of The Real Singapore? Alex Tan was one of the editors. And then he was also writer for Temasek Review. Then there’s States Times Review. Alex Tan’s work. Then the latest, Singapore Herald. Yeps, again, Alex Tan’s footprints all over it. Well, he claimed that he’s only advising the people behind Singapore Herald. But there was a post on the States Times Review Facebook page announcing that the Singapore Herald was moving to Patreon. Specifically, the post said:
Moving forward, all news content will be published on our Patreon page.
Note the use of the word “our”. That sounds to me that Alex Tan, who manages the States Times Review page is somehow personally involved, if not the mastermind behind, Singapore Herald. That post was also very revealing of the objectives of Singapore Herald and States Times Review:
Specifically this line:
Following the Singapore government’s censorship, the website’s advertisement revenue has been seriously affected as our target audience are Singaporeans….Please consider a payment to Singapore Herald…
See. It’s all about revenue for Alex Tan. He’s not doing it to advance the interest of Singapore. It’s for money. To get more money, he needs to get more readers. And fast.
The easiest way to do that is to stoke negativity, get people riled up so that people will unthinkingly share his “articles”. How to do that? Twist facts. Report half truths. Quote people only selectively. Sensationalise stories and issues. Bash the Singapore government.
And in case you think that’s just my personal opinion, it’s not. Goh Meng Seng, the Secretary-General of opposition party People’s Power Party had this to say about Alex Tan:
A person like Alex Tan, who is exactly the type of person I have described in my previous post who just whipping up irrational, sensational and emotional anti PAP ranting to leech on those hardcore opposition supporters to earn money via his website, Statestime Review…. I find him to be more like a psychopathic with a huge ego which is definitely a mismatch with his mental and intellectual capability. Look at what he had done so far for the Opposition cause. He is only clever enough to leech on the anti PAP sentiments on each and every instances. Did he provide any refreshing or potent new public discourse against PAP and its policies? Nope. Most of the postings are just a copy cat piece of work with insertion of sensational rhetorics. Such methodology is poisonous to the Opposition Cause as it basically promote senseless idiocy of blind hate.
Unfortunately, Alex Tan’s tactics work.
People do get taken in. People do believe the rubbish he has written. People do share his “articles”. And because of that, he gets revenue from the advertisements on his website. But now that the websites have been blocked in Singapore by the Infocomm Media Development Agency (IMDA), the traffic going to his site must have plummeted, resulting in a significant drop of revenue.
That’s why he had to move to Patreon, which is near impossible to block. And Patreon provides a channel to earn a revenue. But, fortunately for us, its mechanics are different from having his own websites generating advertising revenue.
On Patreon, a “creator” (i.e. the person publishing articles) can get “patrons”. For Singapore Herald, you can be a patron by contributing some money monthly. Thankfully, as much as Singaporeans may get riled up by negative news, it’s also quite difficult to get Singaporeans to part with our money. That’s why the Singapore Herald has only 4 patrons contributing $18 a month so far.
Let’s hope it stays that way and Alex Tan realises that he can no longer make money by conning Singaporeans with fake news. Maybe then he’ll finally stop his nonsense.
(Featured image Patreon)