By Masked Crusader
MediaCorp made a statement on the Celebrate TV50 Countdown show, which had generated much controversy following Ivan Heng’s Facebook complaint about the significant use of Mandarin on the program shown on its English channel, Channel 5.
We could have done more to engage Channel 5 audiences, and will continue striving to get the right balance of language content for such future shows … MediaCorp will do its best to serve TV audiences better.
… the show was conceived as a multi-lingual, multi-cultural show to reflect Singapore’s multi-cultural heritage (and) a fair mix of English and Mandarin content was featured in the dual channel telecast—with seamless programme transitions in both languages—to keep different audiences captivated.
… a 30-year history of producing Mandarin dramas, longer than for any other language.
On 24 July 1982, “Seletar Robbery”, the first locally produced Chinese language television drama, was aired.
In the meanwhile, one has to look elsewhere to piece together MediaCorp’s history.
The Tribute.sg website, which honors local artists, profiles Bani Buang, who headed the RTS Malay Drama Unit and is cited as being responsible for the “1970s Malay television series Sandiwara”. The website also lists artist N. Palanivelu who is shown acting in a Tamil drama (which, interestingly, featured Indian actors playing Chinese characters). The following photo captioned, “N Palanivelu in a TV drama. C. 1970s)”, is found there:
His response begs the question, why is drama production arbitrarily used as the basis for determining how much air time Mandarin would get on the Countdown show when there are many other types of entertainment shows that have also been produced in the various languages and have had equally long histories? And, why is the history of drama production relevant to the matter? The real issue is why a show which contained so much Mandarin was shown on Channel 5.
Despite much discussion online and MediaCorp having issued two statements to address the controversy, the Media Development Authority, which regulates broadcasting, has yet to chime in on this issue.
I wrote previously about the unequal funding amounts given by MDA and MediaCorp for the various ethnic-based productions with Tamil and Malay drama productions receiving as much as 70 percent less funding per hour than Mandarin productions. Hopefully, the rationale used to explain this phenomena makes more sense than MediaCorp’s justification for the disproportionate use of Mandarin in its Celebrate TV50 Countdown show.
This article was first published in http://maskedcrusader.blogspot.sg.