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When "No Comment" can be the deafening silence the Workers' Party dread

It is extremely disappointing for me to see how Workers' Party has communicated the issue regarding Mr Yaw Shin's alleged extra marital affair. 

Workers' Party Chief, Mr Low Thia Kiang, has chose the path of "no comments" and hiding behind official statements to fend off questions about Mr Yaw's alleged affair. 

This is seen in Today as Mr Low was was quoted to say, "The WP has made a statement on the matter. That's all we want to say. I have nothing more to say. That's all.".

Mr Yaw also tried to shoo away the journalist by telling them that "I don't want to waste your time. It's a precious night, so go back and spend time with your family. I don't want you all to wait because even if you wait until the end (of the MPS), I have no comment. The party has already issued a statement and I have nothing to add."

One of the biggest mistake most people have when answering the media is that "no comment" doesn't add much to a story. On the contrary, "no comment" is itself a comment and as they say, the silence itself can be deafening to the readers.

Communication is a game of creating perception and perceptions are often the reality for most people. A "no comment" creates the perception that the lack of response is actually revealing, or hiding, something more significant.

If it is the Workers' Party policy not to comment on personal issues and they feel that Mr Yaw's alleged affairs, whether it is just rumours or the truth, has no impact on party's policy, Mr Low should highlighted to the media in his interviews that the Party do not comment on personal matters and that they stand behind Mr Yaw and support him in his duties as MP, even though Mr Yaw has resigned as the Workers' Party treasurer.

And to Mr Yaw, it is the journalists' job to wait by your meet the people session and "waste" time waiting for you, hoping that you will crack under pressure. You could have bridged the questions by highlighting that the Meet-The-People session belongs to the people and get the journalists to highlight some of the problems encountered during the MPS which deserve more prominent coverage.

If the journalists reply that they rather follow-up on your story, you could have turned the tables on them to show how much they choose to ignore the real stories of Singaporeans taking place right in front of them and prefer to report on rumours and gossip.

Ellen DeGeneres responded her to critics of her appointment as JC Penny's spokesperson. Instead of attacking her hate group, she responded to the facts and her stand on traditional beliefs.

The Workers' Party may not be TV stars, but by responding smartly,you can turn a negative question or attack in your favour.


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