80YO Tan Cheng Bock Uses IG Like a Boss to Communicate with Young Voters

There’s a popular saying in Chinese:


Which, when converted to English, loosely translates to:

“Learn even as the years roll by.”

Now, learning can take many forms. It could be the simple act of learning a recipe. Or using a new electronic device for the first time. Or, as Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Tan Cheng Bock so coolly exemplified…

Taking in the sheer ‘innovation’ of youth culture.

80YO Tan Cheng Bock Uses IG Like a Boss to Communicate with Young Voters

Lest you’re unaware, 80-year-old veteran politician Tan Cheng Bock has been hitting a real chord with his younger audience in recent times.

On Wednesday (1 July), Dr Tan posted a video of himself nudging a finger through one of his lens-less glasses.

“One thing you do not know about me is that my glasses do not have lenses,” the Instagram caption read. “Broadcast over. Going home to rest. Goodbye.”

And his 10,000 (and more) strong Instagram army was evidently stoked.

Hypebeast, many of them said.

Dr Tan then replied with the message: “This means I have been a hypebeast person for 10 years.”

He also replied to several comments on the post. One, for instance, tried to teach him another new term “shoutout”, and Dr Tan reacted humorously.

“I can’t shout in Parliament. Only debate is okay.”

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Later that night, he followed up with an Instastory, saying: “Goodnight, young people. So many hypebeast people chatting with me. Care for Singapore and love your hypebeast country. You are the future of hyperbeast Singapore.”

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The story, lest you’re wondering, didn’t end there.

On the morning of the walkabout on Thursday (2 July 2020), he updated his followers that he had learnt a new word:


“I just woke up but it has the same meaning,” he wrote. “I know… if you see me at a walkabout today, say hi and tell me I’m woke.”

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Later that morning, Dr Tan was asked whether it was all a ‘ploy’ to get young voters on his side. In response, he stated that he loves the youth and joked that “I can bully you all”.

He also added that it is important to “respect” new styles of online engagement and terminology.


“Now I got to get into the picture. It is very interesting. So now, you cannot talk in your new lingo. I will know!” he said.

And from the looks of it, he also seems keen on imparting ‘youth culture’ to his peers.

Though whether the word has the ‘same meaning’ in Teochew is really an entirely different story altogether.

Who Is He?

Dr Tan Cheng Bock was a People’s Action Party Member of Parliament (MP) for 26 years from 1980 to 2006. He served as MP for Ayer Rajah before the constituency eventually merged with the West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in 2006.


The former general practitioner, who opened his first clinic back in 1971, is participating as an opposition candidate in the General Election this year.

He has since gone for a cataract operation to fix his eyesight but stated that he continues to wear glasses so that people will recognise him.

“I don’t need the glasses after my cataract operation. But well, I am afraid people don’t recognise me if I don’t wear glasses.”

With that said, we can’t wait for Dr Tan to drop the next hot, relevant lingo term.

‘Simp’, ‘Boomer’ or ‘Renegade’, maybe?


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