It has been an interesting GE2020, with the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) performing below expectations. Many were confident that there may be an opposition wipeout, given the proven “flight to safety” theory whereby people tend to vote for the incumbent during times of crisis and uncertainty as a safety blanket.

Alas, the opposite happened, with the leading opposition party in Singapore, the Workers’ Party (WP), retaining their 6 seats in parliament by winning Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC with increased margins and even capturing an addition 4 seats Sengkang GRC, knocking out 3 office-holds in one swop.

What happened? Why did the PAP lost in Sengkang GRC?

Political pundits and experts all have their own theories. So too, do the forummers at Singapore’s EDMW forum, coined as the “Xiaxue Effect”:

A forummer by the nickname of fulaien suggested that during GE2011, Xiaxue supported Aljunied GRC’s George Yeo and WP ended up winning Aljunied GRC while in GE2020, she attacked Seng Kang GRC’s Raeesah Khan and WP ended up winning Sengkang GRC.

A check back at Xiaxue’s blog posts in 2011 revealed a detailed analytic piece from Xiaxue, urging Aljunied voters to “vote wisely” for George Yeo and his team.

Xiaxue argued that pitting the two election fresh faces of Nicole Seah and Tin Pei Ling was an unfair comparison when choosing which team to vote. Instead, voters should assess the strongest candidates, right down to the weakest candidates accordingly. In her own words, the comparisons should be as below:

That was in GE2011.

Fast forward to GE2020, Xiaxue is no longer active on her blog and has moved on to Instagram, demonstrating her adaptability over time to retain her throne as one of the top influencers in Singapore with legion of online fans she cultivated over the years.

During the campaigning period for GE2020, Xiaxue called out WP’s new face, Raeesah Khan from the WP, for aligning herself as an “Intersectional Feminist” and being an alleged racist. Below are screen grabs from Xiaxue’s Instastory posts on her allegations against Raeesah:

In Hong Kong, there is a well-known “Ting Hai Effect” or “Adam Cheng Effect” which proved to be extremely reliable over time such that it even merits a Wikipedia entry:

Infographic via SCMP

“The Ting Hai effect, also known as the Adam Cheng effect, is a stock market phenomenon in which there is a sudden and unexplained drop in the stock market whenever a film or a television series starring Hong Kong actor Adam Cheng is released. It still remains as a popular topic among stock brokers, years after the television drama The Greed of Man was broadcast in Hong Kong in late 1992. The effect is named after Ting Hai, the primary antagonist in the drama, who was portrayed by Cheng.”

Is there truth to the so-called “Xiaxue Effect”?

It remains to be seen if it can happen for a third time or more before we can really term it as such.