“MEDIACORP’S countdown to the new year, televised live on Channel 5, was a disappointing demonstration of linguistic violence in our society.
During a portion of the programme, I heard the hosts speaking exclusively in Mandarin, with no English subtitles on the screen.
Thinking my family had mistakenly tuned in to Channel 8, I rose to change the channel for an elderly relative who does not understand Mandarin.
Imagine my shock when I realised this was a national programme televised on an English-language channel.
The use of Mandarin in the programme showed a lack of consideration for the large number of Singapore residents of all races who do not understand Mandarin.
With or without subtitles, it is an egregious act of social exclusion to carry out a concert intended for the entire nation in a language associated with the majority race.
MediaCorp should apologise to its minority viewers and refrain from similar programming decisions in future.
It is contingent upon racial majorities everywhere to be conscious of our societal privilege and ability to alienate members of minority groups.
It is also our responsibility to strive against engendering such alienation.
Leow Hui Min (Ms)”
I do not watch television at all. For years, I have never watched television except for the occasional viewings at coffee-shops when I am out drinking with friends. On New Year Eve, I was at Gardens by the Bay with Van watching fireworks as I heard the live concert in the background though I could not view it from there. Even the music was not clear but I could still hear MCs speaking in Mandarin and English.
As such, I did not watch the entire New Year Eve concert at all. It was a non-event until I read about some bitter comments or complaints on FB. I also got an email from an enraged friend.
“Wah Lan! “Linguistic violence?” – what nonsense! See this letter to the press and the news article that follows. Are the non-Chinese “elites” complaining because they are irked by the use of Mandarin or is it a more deep-rooted xenophobic reaction to things Chinese, a fear that westernization (and its “values”) will be thinned out?”
I can’t agree more. Look at the letter written by Leow. Very well written and articulate. On the surface, it seems logical even though she is using powerful words like “linguistic violence!” She is asking for English subtitles whenever Mandarin is spoken in the event. She forgot that it is “live” concert. How to have subtitles if it is broadcast live? Why not ask for simultaneous live English, Malay and Tamil translations also just like on National Day Parades, or NDR – National Day Rally? It”s going to look comical when it’s supposed to an occasion of joyous spontaneous celebration. Really langgar! KNN!
“Actor-director and Cultural Medallion recipient Ivan Heng, 50, posted a strongly worded critique of the countdown show on Facebook that garnered more than 8,500 likes and more than 2,700 shares on the social media platform.
He wrote: “I just could not bear watching the MediaCorp Channel 5 Countdown. I kept flipping channels to doublecheck to see if I was watching Channel 8 or CCTV.”
That is even worst than the scurrilous allegation of “linguistic violence” – a well known local personality honored by the state sadly compared MediaCorp with CCTV – China State TV. Is it not grossly misleading? “Spreading lies” I would say with bizarre twisted logic. Now look at the facts unless “Life!” is also lying through their teeth!
“Life! checked the press release on the event and estimated that of the artists and groups who walked the red carpet, about 65 per cent were Chinese, 15 per cent were Malay, 11 per cent were Indian and 9 per cent were from other races.”
“It included a red-carpet segment, song-and- dance performances from local and foreign performers including British-Irish boyband The Wanted and American-Taiwanese star Wang Lee Hom, and a Walk Of Fame featuring MediaCorp stars from past to present, such as Moses Lim and Zoe Tay.
The hosts were a mix of actors and DJs including Gurmit Singh, Joanne Peh, Bryan Wong, The Muttons (Justin Ang and Vernon A), Jean Danker, Dasmond Koh and Vivian Lai.”
Why did they – the minority elites of our society resort to such blatant lies to tell the whole world just to advance their whatever agenda? Their hatred of SAPs, Chinese related things etc. Yes, my enraged friend is correct to say that those English elites in our society are feeling threatened by the rise of China as a superpower. The dominating influence of China on the world stage is getting on their nerves cuz they only see the world with one eye – through their westernized English world view. Unlike most of us – the majority in our society see the world with both eyes open since we are bi-lingual. We understand issues in better perspective. To say that our New Year Eve countdown concert is similar to CCTV is a symptom of such manifestations. If you do not agree with my personal opinion, I really do not know what to say. I’ve quoted the breakdown of races and languages from “Life!” to debunk such mischievous claims.
I hope that those minority mono-lingual elites in our society are not making use of the majority to make wild allegations based on their own insecure xenophobic perceptions. They are actually the minority inciting the silent majority – whether Chinese or other races to exert pressure on our local media which is baseless cuz their programs DID actually reflect the actual racial representations! It has been the case all those past years including last year. It will also be the case in future. Every race or culture will definitely have its own space in this multi-racial country.
I have given you the facts. Hopefully readers are able to judge for themselves and do not be easily misled by those one-eye xenophobics’ “half truths and blatant lies!