Racial discourse and news coverage of the NDR2015 on Twitter.

Singapore’s National Day Rally 2015, the equivalent of the State of the Union Address in the US, was held on 23 August 2015. It is usually broadcast in two consecutive sessions, one in which the Prime Minster makes a shorter address in Malay & Chinese languages (1845-1930hrs this year), and the other, a longer, more detailed address in English (2000-2200hrs this year). The broadcast can be streamed live on YouTube here.

I followed the official #ndrsg hashtag on Twitter (after a brief breakdown in transmission where the hashtag was pulling up zero results!) during the Malay & Chinese language address between 1845hrs and 1930hrs, tracking Tweet coverage from the two major English language mainstream news networks, The Straits Times (@STcom) and Channel News Asia (@ChannelNewsAsia).

Also, as in most backchannels, the #ndrsg stream usually brings up much vernacular gold. See, for instance, all the laughs from resident creator of viral humour, @SGAG_SG.

Background knowledge: Singapore comprises four major ethnic groups – Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian/Others. Some quick stats from the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) here.

Here are five tongue-in-cheek tl;drs of my personal reading of racial discourse, based on mainstream news Tweet coverage:

  1. hey Malays, don’t worry okay, we’ll help you

2. hey Malays, we are a secular state but Islam is okay if we are a secular state

3. hey Malays, good job on progress (see also poster boys)

4. hey Chinese, good job bro

5. hey Chinese, 华语cool! (see Singapore’s Speak Mandarin Campaign for context)

For coverage from alternative media, see The Online Citizen’s live Tweet stream here, and Mothership.sg’s extremely efficient summary (of the Malay & Chinese language segment) here, here, and here. See also, Tweets from top media Influencers in Singapore, @mrbrown and @miyagi.