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September 21, 2017

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S'pore ruling party defends 'robotic' youth wing video

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's ruling party has defended a promotional video produced by its youth wing that went viral after being lambasted online for its amateurish quality and for sounding "robotic."

The five-minute YouTube video clip, titled "Re-ignite the Passion of Servant Leadership," featured youth leaders of the long-ruling People's Action Party (PAP) espousing a series of motivational messages for other party members.

Some appeared to be reading from a script placed on either side of the camera.

One segment featured a woman and a man clad in the all-white party uniform and holding miniature toy guitars, as others around them took turns to complete a sentence: "We must empower our members ... to make a positive impact ... to those around us."

In a statement, the PAP, which has ruled Singapore for 55 years, said the effort by members of the Young PAP was "genuine and sincere."

"We did not expect that our humble (raw and unpolished) in-house production would go viral like this," it said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

It said the video represented the Young PAP's "spirit of activism — to serve our nation and to care for our fellow Singaporeans."

Online, the video continued to draw a steady stream of derision on Thursday. It was first uploaded on the PAP YouTube channel on April 23 and has since logged more than 66,000 hits.

"And here kids, you find yourself a bunch of brainwashed young adults. They even sound like robots. Amazing," wrote local celebrity comedian Hirzi Zulkiflie on the Must Be Singapore Facebook page, which had shared the video.

"Sad to see youth talking like parrots, reading script and with bad diction/pronunciation," wrote another Facebook user.

The video is not the first involving the PAP and the government to be mocked by the city-state's increasingly vocal online community in recent years.

In 2007, a video featuring senior officials from media regulator the Media Development Authority rapping attracted tens of thousands of viewers on YouTube, many bemused by their attempt to look hip.

Off-the-cuff gaffes by politicians including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have also been turned into Internet memes by bloggers.

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