Off the top of my head, Tharman’s six principles of political communication:
1. Timing: Wait till the worst of the storm of public dissatisfaction blows over. Don’t go into the thick of it. Wait for heads to cool.
2. Deflate the elephant: Point to the elephant in the room, acknowledge it, and everyone goes “finally!”. Tension is released. Elephant gets smaller, people can breathe easier.
3. I am one of you: Acknowledge and even agree with the sentiments on the ground, then reframe to “in spite of this… must recognise reality… and so must do that”. Classic rhetorical technique. Throw in own background of activist etc. for added legitimacy.
4. Be general: He said he doesn’t agree with every tactic of everyone of his colleague. Broad obvious statement. In a large org like PAP that’s bound to happen.
But this allows people to fill in what they *think* he means. Or what they *want to believe* cos he’s likeable. Still, people may not be wrong, but it gives wiggle room should the need ever arise in another context.
5. Provide hope: Things are better now than before. We will continue to be better. Let’s work towards that.
6. Be likeable: People listen to you cos they like you. This factor anchors all the above.
Also, he didn’t comment on the process, and the legitimacy of a president who came into office with so much controversy on the ground. Does the President really have a mandate then? Maybe no one asked. And why should he bring it up of his own accord?
Skilfully done. All the more’s the reason I think he should be the next PM. (#TharmanForPM!) But oh well’s, we’re not ready for a non-Chinese PM and he has ruled himself out. Sigh pie.
Source: Md Suhaile