Friday, November 04, 2005

Across the Causeway

Coming back to JB would mean exposure to Singapore's terrestial TV channels. Mom loves the daily 7pm and 9pm Chinese series on MediaCorp's Channel 8. OK, so they are actually quite good and I do get hooked whenever I'm back here as well.

The English Channel 5 is also pretty good, in fact, their broadcast of America's latest programmes such as Desperate Housewives, Lost, Charmed, The Apprentice, etc. are always more updated than the ones show on Malaysian tele. Though 8TV is to be commended for their efforts in bringing to our shores programmes which don't require everyone to have ASTRO subscription to enjoy, they actually have plenty to catch up with.

MediaCorp Singapore's productions have always been better than ours. Singaporean sitcoms which have made their way into Malaysian shores and are thoroughly enjoyed by us include mister-yellow-boots Phua Chu Kang and Living with Lydia. We also saw Achar! on 8TV recently. Then there are several of MediaCorp's Chinese drama productions which are also being aired several nights a week on our local terrestrial tv.

I'd say kudos to MediaCorp for coming up with good productions which captivates audience. However, what happens IN BETWEEN a drama series or a sitcom? During commercial breaks that is.

In the last week that I've been home, I've been watching a good amount of tele, Singapore tele. While I enjoy their programmes, their tv commercials are plain and boring. Commercial times would see me getting up from my seat and wandering around till the programme resumes. The commercials that come on are usually very straightforward and product oriented (except tvc for mobile services provider which I noticed are slightly different - then again, mobile services provider ARE selling a lifestyle anyway!).

Plenty of our Malaysian local productions are nothing to shout about. But creativity of the folks in our local advertising scene is highly commedable. Then again, I'm not saying that there are no creative people in Singapore, just the quality of the ads that make it on tv.

Many of our Malaysian tv commercials manage to inject a human element which leaves audience with a warm feeling in their hearts after a 30 seconder tvc. Maybe this thought came to my mind because of the many festive season tv commercials which we now see on our local tv channels. We have a wonderful ad from the TM group, a series of Hari Raya and Deepavali ads from Petronas. We also have equally nice ads from other corporate giants during the festive season.

But there are no such commercials in Singapore. Their festive season "commercials" a short 3 seconder stills which simply say "MediaCorp wishes you a Selamat Hari Raya". That's it.

Isn't Singapore a multiracial country as well? Recently, Singapore jailed 2 Chinese bloggers for posting what is deemed to be racist remarks on their blogs. The Singapore government said that they do not tolerate such racial discrimination.

For every festive season in Malaysia, there are commercials produced in line with the occassion. It educates the audience (Malay, Chinese, Indian) about multiculturalism and celebrating the colours of Malaysia.

But why don't Singapore companies come up with nice and heartwarming Hari Raya commercials on tv? Why don't the government encourage them to do so? Won't this promote racial tolerance?

Posted by Doreen at 2:25 pm