27 Jul 2005

Singapore TV rapped up for lowbrow humour, poor English

Arguments that mainstream reporters pick up on coming out of Singapore always shine the light of journalistic investigation on the area of Singlish. Below there is a slight twist in the tail. What is never focused on is the lack of air time given to opposition politicians or dissenting views. So back to the same old debate...

"Proper standards of English should be maintained. Singlish should be avoided in broadcast programmes," One very simple question in response to this statement. Why?

Why is the reporter referring to Singlish as a "mutated form of English" and a "mishmashed version of English"? Is the reporter trying to argue that Singlish lacks, semantics? Does the reporter have a background in Linguitics?

And maybe Phua Chu Kang would like to reply to the idea that his humour has to be more 'high' brow. I am sure PCK can get a few episodes out of this often restated demand that Singaporeans 'Speak better English', or is it 'Speak good English'.

Singapore, July. 26 (AP):

Singapore's monopoly broadcaster has been criticised for substandard levels of programming and widespread use of a mutated form of English, known locally as "Singlish."

The Programmes Advisory Committee, or PACE, urged Mediacorp, the country's only free-to-air broadcaster, to improve the quality and content of its programming.

"Proper standards of English should be maintained. Singlish should be avoided in broadcast programmes," PACE said in a statement late yesterday.

The call comes just over two months after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, also urged Singaporeans to reduce the use of Singlish, a widely used mishmashed version of English.

PACE also said the standards of local sitcoms such as the hugely popular "Phua Chu Kang" had fallen, with "substandard story lines as well as lowbrow humour."

"Local dramas could take a cue from good foreign dramas and strive for more complex and sophisticated story lines and wittier dialogue rather than straightforward entertainment," the committee said.

Phua Chu Kang first came under attack in 2000, when the administration launched its war on Singlish and blamed the programme's main character for a rise in bad grammar among citizens.

My apologises for any misspellings or grammatical eras.


clyde said...

With Engrish like yours steve, you'll easily blend into an episode of PCK! heh.. First it was the Speak Good English campaign for the grammatically challenged, then Speak Mandarin campaign for those speaking too much english, and now we're back to Speaking Good English. Talk about mixed messages. But seriously, I wonder if these campaigns have any effect at all.. How many people actually decided to speak more of anything or know of friends who did...hands up.

soci said...

I am not aware of any studies being conducted to measure the effectiveness of such campaigns. I would imagine that most people merely move from one language to another depending on the audience. Sg gahmen seem to want the only voice to be that of the Queen's English. Here in the UK only a percentage of the population speaks the Queen's English. Lots of accents, slang and regional dialects abound. One's own accent is Northern Irish altough affected from living in England and South East Asia. I am even known to inadvertantly say 'lah' and 'cannot lah'. My favourite is 'Aiyah' after smashing my thumb with a hammer or something.

soci said...

and my spelling is a joke.

lee hsien tau said...

If you listened to the commentry in the S-League football match between Balestier Kalsa and Singapore Lions, the angmor was off and two locals were tripping over themselves with their bad bad bad comments, the crossbar became upright etc.

Please lah, if you need to talk in Hokkien, do so. Don't talk so bad that I could kill myself when the football is already like school kid stuff. And I don't often chhose to watch. Just got nothin to do. Forget foreign talent in kicking the ball. we need foreign talent in talking the ball first.