MediaCorp’s Countdown a Social Disaster

Dear MediaCorp,

I was an employee of yours a few years ago and whilst I had big visions of changing the entertainment industry back then (and now), as a small fry, there was absolutely no way I could have done it.

I’m not sure who decided on the concept of Countdown 2013 but it certainly didn’t impress me, neither did it impress a lot of people. As THE national broadcaster and THE biggest media company in Singapore, the countdown was a social disaster.

In fact, it showed a lack of cultural sensitivity of the leadership of whoever was in charge and whoever was involved in the planning and conceptualization of the countdown itself. Perhaps, this was the intended direction of the leadership – to move Singapore towards a more China-based or Chinese-speaking audience. Yes? No?

As someone of mixed heritage who is heavily involved in the education sector, local community and the global world, I find your lack of sensitivity towards the diverse culture that live and work in Singapore to be extremely disappointing and your possible ignorance to the trends of the conflicts that has been happening in Singapore, shameful.

The leadership involved in the planning and conceptualization may have had the best idea on how to entertain, but they certainly didn’t know who they were trying to entertain.

I would highly suggest that you send your leadership and staff for diversity training, so they have a better understanding of the different cultures that live in Singapore. So that your Channel 5 programmes will see better diversity and is a reflection of the cultures that live and work in Singapore, not the culture that you wish to create.

If you don’t have an idea on how to do it, let me know. I spent time in the US to researching on these issues and developed a programme for it. You could really use the programme.

And OH! In case you forget, “To engage, entertain and enrich audiences by harnessing the power of creativity.”

That’s your mission statement. FAIL.


Your Ex-Employee

63 thoughts on “MediaCorp’s Countdown a Social Disaster

  1. Pingback: Anonymous

  2. Totally AGREE, might as well televise on just Channel 8 and continuet to show a movie on Channel 5! You certainly didn’t expect the non-Chinese speaking audience to be entertained for the last half of the show?


  3. I never agree more of the above comment. It does show how bias it is against the multi national Singaporean. You always say its multi racial but you are more tonthe Chinese than the rest. Come on mediacorp, be rational.


  4. You seems to be one of the few people complaining .. what was so bad about the event that caused your rant? It must be something rather bad?


    • Its not a few ..but alot and i can say majority of us especially malays are soo honestly mad at the way the countdown are organised. Or are they purposely trying to make us mad? Hope u understand by putting urself in other races shoes..sorry.


      • Sorry I did not catch the events. But .. details man. It does not help anyone to understand at all when all one read is rant and rant and rant about how ones feel but with not enough details to provide a background for those who are not in the know to understand why you feel that way.


      • This is Singapore. Aren’t we a multi racial country ? We have Malays, Indians, Eurasians too and many other races as well. Sooo many pple are talking about this. And why is it when we talk about something . we’re ranting ? It’s not about being racist , even my Chinese friends finds it distasteful and embarrassing.


      • guys chill man. the thing is that this article is about him ranting abt mediacorp but he did not state the issue properly. In piggypigs’ point of view, she/he didnt catch the event, so having no clue what this ‘social disaster’ is about. I agree that this article lack details of the event instead of purely an essay of a rant.


  5. It is always okay for the Chinese to do their thing but not when others does. I find chinese singaporean are mostly racist and bias … sad culture. Time to remind them about their ancestors and maybe they should all get the hell out of SG ?


    • Hi there,

      I think this is where we need to be careful.

      Your words itself do not sit well with me because you have generalized the entire Chinese population to be racist. Your statement itself I would consider it to be racist and I do not agree with it as well. These are the kind of statements that do not promote peace nor understanding.

      The issue here is that, there is a lack of understanding, not just from one segment of society, but also from the others because we have not been exposed to having conversations and creating true friendships or we have been simply ignorant of issues from the past that we prefer to sweep it under the rug.

      How much can we truly say we know about the other cultures that live in Singapore?

      Stephen Covey’s Habits of Highly Successful People puts it, “Seek to understand, then to be understood”

      And this is where we need to come in as individuals, to seek an understanding of the other first instead of pushing for our agenda to seek others to understand us first. It’s a different mentality and certainly requires practice and a change if attitude.


      • well yeah, maybe my expression was harsh.. im not racist, i have plenty of chinese friends, i just cannot stand how insensitive the the majority race are becoming. Some god damned NEL / SBS mrt lines are still announcing train station in Mandarin… like WTF is that… so what about the other language station announcement – not necessary?


    • Brother,let’s not start a racial dispute this way. It’s never a good deal to generalize races especially ‘chinese’ like how you did. We Chinese emphathize and are aware of how fail this year’s countdown is and on my Fb,some of the rants actually came from the Chinese friends regarding this cd. Chill out man.


      • Thank you Brother Robin, let’s keep working to ensure we can have peace and harmony through a better understanding of one another. Hopefully this can translate into a mindset change and attitude for the betterment of all living in Singapore.


  6. Pingback: MediaCorp’s televised countdown party’s lack of diversity irks viewers | Mothership.SG

  7. It will be good if someone can translate all these comments to Mandarin so that the Mediacorp management will be able to underdstand. No point commenting all these in a language where the target won’t understand.


  8. I believe channel 8 actors and actresses are able to speak english but they are speaking in mandarin that other races dont understand what they were talking about. Only that part is not acceptable.. the concert is entertaining the issue is about mediacorp.. they are so thoughtful of the PRC only!! Haha 😉


    • Very true.. i hv lots of favourite ch 8 actor n actress too like elvin ng, aileen tan, zoey tay but very sad they wish all of us in Mandarin.. can we really understand.. i do watch ch 8 and i admit that i need the subtitiles too.. so when we perform lived show there no subtitles at all.. so why not just speak in English?


  9. Dear Mediacorp,

    The new year countdown is once in a year to say good bye to the year and welcome the new year. But you have spoilt both my end and start of the year.

    Great disappointment,


  10. You must not be a native Singaporean or a Singaporean at all. The countdown was a clear example of how Chinese is being promoted as the most significant race. Have you even watched previous new years countdowns? You must be a new settler of the country that is calling for a new kind of reform in the country. My chinese friends themselves are feeling resentful and embarassed about this. This is Singapore, it has been taught in school and its spoken about even in our pledge to to treat all races equal. You are a disgrace.


  11. I am a fellow Singaporean of European descent. I have to say some comments I’ve seen, suggesting that Chinese Singaporeans are to be blamed should be deemed completely irrelevant. Mediacorp is creating the wrong culture of being ignorant and insensitive to the other major racial groups in Singapore. Many local Chinese friends of mine have also agreed with me on how unjust the nation’s countdown was portrayed. Be wary, it not only upsets Singaporeans but also portrays an inaccurate idea of Singapore to foreigners here. Mediacorp should be held accountable for this, as what they have done is create the wrong culture and impression of the people of Singapore.


  12. For those who generalise Chinese Singaporeans let me break it down for you:

    – I have a Chinese bf who speaks perfect Malay,(no he did not learn the language in school but via daily interaction) better than most of my Malay students who are supposedly Malay.

    – I have also encountered tons of Malay individuals who are racists towards other race. Eg: My parents! But that did not influenced me to be one.

    – I have been renting rooms in Singapore and all my landlords and landlady are Chinese people. They treated me well, with respect and care.

    I hope netizens can give more constructive comments instead of dissing each other. The world will be a better place if we show compassion.



    • Sorry ana they dun blame Chinese Sporean But Mediacorp itself for being too racist.. let put in our mind we choose either one be in only in ENGLISH SHOW or hv all the four official language show so dat non will left behind.. this is a NEW YEAR 2014 for all Sporean it not CNY, HARI RAYA OR DEEPAVALI OR XMAS but it a new year which all Sporean in it..


  13. Completely agree. Remember this?

    We, the citizen of Singapore pledge ourselves as one united people. Regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.


  14. Pingback: Mediacorp’s “cheena” countdown slammed by Ivan Heng | Read The Right Thing

  15. I never watch channel 5 for a very long time. Its like an alien channel to me. Felt so further away from being a natural original singaporean. Born in singapore but feel like i am in china. Sad totally sad. And mediacorp malay and indian artiste just got nothing to say about this. Or are they afraid. Where is the justice here. ?


  16. Sad to say, they are the only broadcasting media in Singapore, not the biggest. They are only concern is to make money. Who cares about the diverse culture. Unless u are willing to sponsor(pay money), u got the say. They are hopeless….
    The only way, is to boycott M****Cock and Shit-T****.


  17. I have stopped watching mediacorp (crap tv station) for more than 3 years. I don’t even watch the news. Channel 5 is run by a group of morons who just don’t understand what its audience wants but instead chooses to force stupid and lame local productions down the throat. It chooses to repeat home alone over and over again and they showed it again last week. The imported shows are all so outdated as they were already screened on cable months/years ago. Despite writing to them, they choose to continue to show what they feel is good for our viewing.


  18. The Countdown was an EPIC FAIL. It was insensitive to non-Chinese and rather embarrassing. We could not bring ourselves to watch it. Which is a shame because I grew up watching countdowns with the family and welcoming the new year. Even the opening song for the new year was Chinese. It’s no wonder many think Singapore is in China. It was very very disappointing.


  19. Allow me to say this. The power that be have reared their ugly head and you know what? They don’t give a fuck about racial sensitivities. I can relate to what you’re saying, being a minority myself.And being a minority allows be to sense these matters more immediately. And I have come to the conclusion that they don’t give a fuck. They’ll pretend to give a fuck now that some have raise concerns and disdain over this. But if they could have it their way, they won’t give a fuck. Period.



  20. Hi, wow did not know so many felt the same way I did. Yes, the countdown was disappointing. Not only was its tooo chinese. It looked like an 80s broadcast. Not 2013’s.

    To give credit it was multiracial but not enough. It was like a Chinese show with other races thrown in to ensure there were other races represented. Not a good effort. (For any argument, I am a paranakan and can speak English, Chinese & Malay)

    If we look at our western counterparts it is clear Singapore has much to grow. Our performances are not even XXX qualifying.

    The camera angles were so so bad. It was either so so far away or half body. And too much take of the audience. Surely technology can help move our viewing pleasure from the 80s perspective.

    My highlight was the fireworks. Once I enjoy that I can switch off the telecast and make my way home to bed.

    I hope welcoming 2015 will be enjoyable. But I doubt one year will mark major improvements.


  21. “The leadership of whoever was in charge and whoever was involved in the planning and conceptualization of the countdown” must have rationalised themselves using the ethnic % ratio as a basis to portray the language of broadcast, not minding that a majority of Singaporeans are well comfortable with English as a medium of broadcast.

    To the least informed westerners I met during my travels, Singapore is beng portrayed to them as a country, offshoot from the PRC…

    Shame on you Mediacorp.


  22. Just needed to say that one of the main purposes of this countdown event is to celebrate 50 years of tv. Not solely just a countdown. I thought they did pretty fine in doing so engaging artistes from all different channels. There were parts when artistes from varying channels were singing non chinese songs as well. The hosts did also speak English to keep non chinese in the know.


  23. I believe it’s Media-cock’s idea of pleasing our FTs… FTs were the central focus of the Tekka uprising so my guess was that Media-crap felt compelled to show that they care about FTs by doing it with a twist and ended it with a bomb, not aplomb.

    The organising & planning committee of TV50 must have had badly-made rojak for lunch & experienced the Thai political crisis as a nightmare for them to dish out such a “creative” piece of work.


  24. I totally disagree with you and I enjoyed myself alot watching the count down. I wont watch the count down if they doesn’t speak mandrian. Mediacorp is good enough to include malay and indian artist. U minority should satisfy with it and not complaining.


    • Do excuse the clueless Singaporean Chinesehere; his ignorant opinion is not representative of the rest of the Singaporean Chinese.

      I too was rather upset by the 80% of Chinese performances for the countdown; we are a multi-racial country, if you want to do a Chinese song, you need to have Malay and Tamil songs as well. Its a simple gesture which speaks volumes of our social cohesiveness. Instead, we got a white washed version of a concert, decisions made (sadly speaking) by Chinese executives who did not think of anything more than their supposed target audience.

      It was a social disaster and I agree with the author’s opinion wholeheartedly.


    • It’s good to hear you enjoyed yourself thoroughly watching Channel 5 in Mandarin! You should paddle on forth to China or Taiwan. Trust me on this recommendation, they have a lot more varied Mandarin channels for the self-indulgent and domineering viewer like yourself . Oh and please spare us from the agony and not attempt to speak the English language ever again. You must be new here and a bit confused with the channels.


    • I would say it good enough my great grandparents allowed your great grandparent to settle down in Singapore … or else you’ll be another PRC looking for job in Singapore …


  25. Mediacorpse is a waste of money lah. My neighbour said that day showing movie they didn’t turn on the audio track for 14 minutes! They’re asleep there!


  26. Think about it guys… if MediaCorp didn’t do the show on TV, Singapore would not have anything for countdown as compared to the beautiful fireworks from overseas.


  27. In the past years, there are 2 venues for the countdown where Ch5 will normally show the outdoor countdown in english while Ch8 would have another one in chinese in their studio mainly hosted in chinese but with the artists singing some english songs. However, this year as MediaCorp wanted to celebrate TV50 which includes the artists from all the 4 different language channels (to show that they are not biased against any races), they have decided to have all together to make it more grand and possibly to reduce costs so that resources can be focused on 1 show only. They have tried to incorporate performance from all 4 different languages (I remember at least 1 or 2 Malay/India songs each were sung during the show). As the countdown is telecast on both Ch5 and Ch8 which is similar to past years except only 1 combined show (those who only watches Ch5, please be aware that the show is also being shown on Ch8 and hence bear in mind that the target audience are not only english speakers but the chinese speakers too), majority of the songs were in english and chinese with each taking up around 50/50 of the airtime (the wanted sung for ard 45mins in english and lee hom sung for also ard 45 mins in chinese). Hence MediaCorp is not being biased.

    As a chinese and english speaker myself, I enjoyed the show throughout very much as all the songs are very nice and I can understand them. However, for non-chinese speakers, I could understand you guys might felt being left out while chinese songs are being sung. But at the same time, while english sounds are being sung, you have to bear in mind that those who are chinese speaking viewers (Ch8) which includes many non-english speaking elderly they would also felt being left out like the non-chinese speaking viewers. So MediaCorp has already tried their best to have a mixture of english and chinese songs and their airtime are almost equal. It is impossible to please both sides unless they have separate shows.

    With regards to the interview of the artists, as the majority of MediaCorp’s artists are from Channel 8, naturally, the proportion of the interview part which are in Chinese would be higher too. Some chinese artists like Zoe Tay and Tay Ping Hui also wishes Happy New Year in both english and chinese.

    Hence, while the show might not be perfect (and certainly it is not), do bear in mind the target audience are both Ch5 and Ch8 viewers and not just think of yourself only. I have heard some “famous” people saying he thought he was watching Ch8 while he was on Ch5 but in actual fact, the show was really being telecast on Ch8 too and hence the reason for the chinese songs and interviewees speaking in chinese.


  28. this is why i don’t even bother watching tv no more mediacorp or better put mediacrap is just going to keep screwing up again and again


  29. Honestly speaking, my pride as Singaporean has fade away. Whenever I went off to overseas, I feel like free as a bird. Mediacorp even far worst in so call media arts. No talents and cheap bastard creativity. Thats the problem of having old hag as a leader in art direction which makes everything look nothing special. The host are even far way nonsense, both of them have no communication towards each other except for Gurmit Singh, he’s a veteran. Might as well you just advertise in the television saying “countdown 2014 cut and paste from countdown 2013 only cut off budget”. Even the atmosphere are way ridiculous. People sitting and eating at the seats. What is that? A picnic? I studied in advertising and design and we do have a class called creative thinking lesson. I think your creative director or art director need to take that. So much job requirement for degree and years of experience but always come up with imbecile rubbish. Point of entry, supermodel me and ton of nonsense drama channel. I feel like smashing my own television for seeing such crap. Even Indonesian can create much better movie or drama. Lets take much nearer example, even Malaysian are much more better. I just watched a video of Assassin’s creed in china. To be honest its almost the same as mediacorp, full of crap.


  30. Pingback: MediaCorp’s Countdown a Social Disaster | Developed

  31. I’m tired of Singapore sucking up to China. I have absolutely no links with China whatsoever. I don’t have any China friends, I don’t even speak mandarin fluently(english being my main language since birth), I’m so sick of China people asking me questions in mandarin(I can’t speak mandarin well!). I’m tired of having to speak mandarin! This is SINGAPORE for God’s sake!! Speak english!! Stop being rude and inconsiderate towards other races by speaking ONLY MANDARIN! I absolutely refuse to answer china people in mandarin unless I’m in a position whereby I have no choice(eg. work-related).


  32. Chinese is the start of the ball rolling … Keep it together and don’t fight with our own. Sinkies got it keep it together, Chinese, Malay, Indian … Next year, they have a section for Pinoy and Thai then you guys know what is diversification means.

    If we fight among ourselves, the ‘Foreigners’ with citizenship will eat us alive and that will be the total downfall of singapore.


  33. Pingback: MediaCorp’s televised countdown party’s lack of diversity irks viewers | Mothership

  34. In Singapore unworthy foreigners can just come in unhindered, work for a few years with advantages over local and after that hop back to their home countries.

    Take for example this bitch Rita Moa, who worked for Mediacorp in Audit for a few years and before that in other companies. After cry babying her way to please her bosses whenever there is work problems, she has left to NZ to gleefully enjoy the fruits that the traitor SG government has provided.

    We must have the daftest govermennt in the world which protects foreigners jobs at the expense of locals! Phui!


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