I don't recall PAP first-time candidates being called "PAP Newbies" in the nation-building press.
They are usually called "New PAP candidates" or "New PAP Faces" or the "nucleus of the 4G Leadership".
But the papers seem very keen to call the Opposition ones "Newbies".
This is what I call seh moh.
Trying to read intention behind one word.
Could it be there was no space in that small box for new faces?
Cannot be lah, must be sinister intentions.
Although you should try going to newspapers.nl.sg and doing a search for PAP and newbie to see how many times PAP first-timers have been called newbies.
Mr Brown trying to earn opp cred?
I used LexisNexis which catalogs all ST articles in the past 10 years and searched specifically for "PAP newbie" and returned only TWO results in 2006. Both referred to Baey Yam Keng as the PAP newbie. More importantly, both were talking about his metrosexual fashion style, and in relation to PAP veteran Othman Wok. The articles were dated 28 and 30 April 2006. In linguistic terms, the word "newbie" is used in relation to the person's fashion sensibilities, and not to his political capacities.
You need to see how 'newbie' is used - in what context. For example, in the example cited by mrbrown, the term 'newbie' is associated with the opposition party, and placed in contrast to the term 'new face' from the PAP. This puts 'newbie' in a derogatory meaning of the term.
However, ST did use newbie in one specific instance in its 10 year history - when the PAP won the elections in 2006, and it designated the new MPs 'newbie'. Here, in this particular context, newbie is not counterposed with any term but is used in a positive light - a MP who won the election but is simply new, not amateurish.
"Lawyer Hri Kumar from Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC echoed this sentiment, saying that the lack of a contest is 'not our fault'. 'The opposition knows they have a very poor chance of gaining any ground here,' said the 39-year-old newbie." [Source: "14 PAP new faces get through in walkovers" 28 Apr 2006]
Compare that with how opposition 'newbies' are portrayed:
"The newbie (Sylvia Lim) will face the PAP team led by Foreign Minister George Yeo." [Source: "First-timer in single seat? WP 'dares to be different" 28 Apr 2006]
Here the 'newbie' is seen as the amateur who must 'face' a team led by a "Foreign Minister", ie someone authoritative.
So I'd disagree that a simple article count of instances of the use of newbie is sufficient. You need to see it in the context within which it is used and here, mrbrown is correct even though he did not analyse the text linguistically. The term 'newbie' used on opposition party members is intentionally meant to be derogatory.