Who wants to watch live feeds of Parliamentary proceedings?

From ‘Videos of parliamentary proceedings belong to the Government: Chee Hong Tat’, 7 Nov 2017, article in CNA

Video recordings of parliamentary proceedings belong to the Government which in turn commissions national broadcaster Mediacorp to cover the sittings and show the footage on various platforms, including free-to-air television as well as on Channel NewsAsia’s Parliament micro-site and its Facebook page.

Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat clarified this in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 7) in response to a question by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera from the Workers’ Party (WP). Mr Perera had asked which entity owns the copyright to the video recordings of parliamentary proceedings.

He also asked if the Ministry would consider removing the copyright if indeed they are protected by one, and make all video footage of parliamentary proceedings freely available for use.

To this, Mr Chee said the public can use the recordings for personal and non-commercial purposes with attribution to Mediacorp. He said the recordings are already used regularly by social media sites and political parties, including the Workers’ Party.

Mr Perera then questioned why Parliament is not given the funding and ability to makes its own live feed and video recordings available with a searchable archive as is the case with countries like Australia, Taiwan and the United States.

Mr Chee said demand for a live feed of proceedings is low.

To be fair, it’s probably true that there are less people willing to sit through a live Parliamentary feed than a Crime watch episode. Mediacorp being a business entity struggling with ratings overall however, has a vested interest in making Parliamentary sessions not so much informative than ‘entertaining’ in bite-size snippets to cater to the general public, yet at the same time refrain from making their political masters look bad, no matter how attention grabbing it would be. Like when they’re caught napping for example.

Beyond intellectually stimulating debates, TV is also the perfect politician toolkit for drama. You have MPs bawling like a baby.

Begging for mercy.

Pointing to the heavens like in Taiwan drama serials seeking divine justice

Could anyone forget the saga that is ‘Tang Liang Hong is Not my Brother’

Some make grand exits like a boss without saying a single word.

And you have the occasional stand-up comedy bringing the House down, like Chan Chun Sing’s ‘Madam President’ skit.

In fact, when Today in Parliament debuted on SBC in 1985, while it was welcomed with much fanfare, there were already calls by Parliament fans for full uncensored telecasts, an act that would symbolise ‘democracy in action’. Though it’s often assumed that PAP speakers would reap the most airtime from these sessions, there were also complaints of opposition MPs hogging the limelight, like JBJ’s ‘unending complaints’ ‘unending complaints’ and ‘belching hot air’.

One MP, Tay Eng Soon, opposed the format of TV broadcasting altogether, recommending that viewers ‘close their eyes’ and listen to the crux of debates rather than picking on visual distractions like a politician’s dress sense, body language, or shiny reflection off his bald plate. But what is politics without its histrionics and theatre anyway.

Despite Chee Hong Tat’s claims of low viewership, I do believe there is value in putting up videos wholesale (by topics at least) as a supplement to the standard edits since the government has always emphasised on digitalisation and transparency, so that hardcore Parliament fans should be given the chance to dissect discussions, warts and all. Isn’t the purpose of the party whip or Speaker to serve as a real-time moderator/editor of the proceedings anyway, so that debates don’t get out of hand?

Besides, in the age of Netflix, TV viewership has been anaemic for years anyway. Given a choice between Parliament and watching a run-of-the-mill drama with actors spouting foreign accents, I’d rather spend my time on the former. The acting may even be better.



OK chope! making fun of Najib Razak

From ‘Mediacorp Channel 5 apologises for offensive segment on Ok Chope’, 5 April 2017, article in CNA

Mediacorp Channel 5 has apologised for a comedy segment that contained comments on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that some viewers found offensive.

After the segment on comedy show OK Chope! was aired on Mar 29, the channel received feedback from viewers that it was offensive, it said in a statement on Wednesday (Apr 5)

In response to media queries, Mediacorp’s chief customer officer Debra Soon said: “Channel 5 and the production team behind OK Chope! wish to sincerely apologise to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for a segment on last week’s episode.

“OK Chope!, a weekly live show, features comedians providing humorous takes on news and current affairs. Last week’s episode included references to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak which were in poor taste and offensive. We have thus pulled it from repeat telecast with immediate effect. We apologise unreservedly for this mistake.”

When Malaysia banned the comedy classic Zoolander over a storyline that involved the assassination of the Malaysian Prime Minister, Singapore followed suit in order to be ‘sensitive’ to our neighbours. We would have no issue with the countless movies that depict villains trying to kill the POTUS, for example, probably because we don’t share the same brotherly love with the US as we do with our immediate neighbours. I doubt we would flinch if someone made a movie about killing the mayor of Batam.

The OK chope jibes against Najib were rather harmless, even juvenile. Unlike allusions to corruption that got another local comedian Fakkah Fuzz some heat from Malaysian authorities. Curiously, both Najip (with a p) and Fuzz apologised for roasting the Malaysian PM, though both would have no qualms slamming comedy fodder like Trump for the sake of a few laughs (and dollars).

Which puts the state of local satire in awkward jeopardy; that you’re more afraid of insulting another country’s politician than your own. Of all the discontent going in the country, it’s strange that Najib symphatisers should focus on a Singaporean rip-off of Who’s Line is It Anyway, rather than sending the Thought Police to scour their own forums and comedy clubs for anything that suggests foul disobedience against a man treated like a god-king.

Singaporeans and Malaysians tease and joke about each other all the time. We mock their accents, they slam our kiasu-ism. We’re like two buddies in the shower room slapping each other on the butt-cheeks with wet towels, but always in good humour without any malice. It’s unfortunate that one tiny slap from a little known show from the Little Red Dot could cause so much butthurt over the Causeway.

Perhaps Najib and his lackeys could learn a thing or two from our self-professed ‘flame-proof’ PM Lee. 


Mediacorp New Year Countdown too cheena

From ‘Why Mandarin segment on Channel 5 show?’, 3 Jan 2014, ST Forum

(Maria Alice Anthony):WHILE watching Channel 5’s countdown show on New Year’s Eve, I was shocked to see a host speaking in Mandarin during the programme. I had to switch between channels to check if I was tuned in to Channel 5, an all-English channel, or Channel 8, the Mandarin channel.

If the hosts were present to translate the English-language segments into Mandarin, where were the hosts to do translations into Tamil and Malay?

Why was a national celebration turned into a bilingual event catering to only one ethnic group?

Maria’s party-pooper rant about the TV50 spectacular is mild compared to theatre actor Ivan Heng’s scathing Facebook complaint about how ‘cheena’ the programme was, where MCs send greetings in Mandarin and you have singers like Wang Lee Hom headlining the event instead of homegrown artistes. To be fair, the show kicked off with a multiracial mix of talents including legend Dick Lee and the original Singapore Idol Taufik Batisah. But you’d soon realise how barren the Channel 5 ‘English-speaking’ talent pool is when you have Gurmit Singh coercing people to ‘make some noize’ as host. FOR THE 7823th TIME. The last time I remember anyone doing MC duty for BIG parties in English was Moe Alkaff.

Gurmit’s partners Joanne Peh and Bryan Wong are themselves ‘cheena’ veterans, but if you look back at the history of our 50 years of television, cheena has clearly dominated the scene, and the fact that two-thirds of the MC lineup were Channel 8 artistes suggests that national television, not to mention NYE countdowns, is unsustainable without Channel 8 celebrity. In one PCK/City Beat/Under One Roof skit, Gurmit was trading jokes with 4 ‘cheena’ artists and 1 Pierre Png, technically now a Channel 8 regular after crossing over from 5. In the final minutes of 2013, the hosts interviewed in succession a who’s who of Channel 8’s star roster, from Zoe Tay to Jack Neo, all of whom didn’t even attempt to say three simple words of Happy New Year in English. Not a single Suria or Vasantham personality was in sight. It was probably the most-watched sequence on stage when everyone’s ready to ring in the new year, yet it almost felt like Cai Shen Ye on a golden steed could ride in at any moment. And where the hell was James Lye? Or the fabulous Muthu?

Critics didn’t just pick on the language bias in the past, but even racial quotas. In 1999, Mediacorp, then known as TCS was accused by a forum writer of being a ‘Totally Chinese Station‘, where English dramas have mostly Chinese as lead actors, or foreign talents with mixed heritage (but still look Chinese). Nothing much has changed since. Think of a current Channel 5 hunk in a leading role and he’s most likely to be Chinese. Or half-Chinese. That’s if you can even think of such a programme in the first place.

It’s really all business and eyeballs for Medicorp, a company that has to struggle to reflect the ‘inclusivity’ of the real world by selling ‘make-believe’. I wouldn’t want to pay money to watch a mash-up of PCK and Moses Lim doing Dick Lee’s rendition of Rasa Sayang on NYE, especially when there’s always catch-up TV. But diehard fans will flock just to watch Jeanette Aw pirouette in a shimmery dress.  If you want a REAL Singaporean year end party, you should have been at Boon Lay instead of sitting at home miserable and wasting time channel surfing. As for Joanne Peh and Bryan Wong, see you in a few weeks’ time at the Lunar New Year Countdown then. I doubt anyone could complain about that being too ‘kantang’.

Girl-on-girl kissing at Star Awards

From ‘Girl on girl kiss to be censored in re-run of awards show’, 4 May 2012, article in asiaone.com

A kiss between female actresses Vivian Lai and Kate Pang has sparked a furore among Singaporeans. Actress-host Lai, 36, kissed actress Kate Pang, 29, on the lips for one second when she was announced as one of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes during Sunday’s live telecast of the Star Awards Show 2.

Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao reported that many viewers called its hotline to say they were offended by the kiss. They said that while some women may find kissing each other to be “trendy”, they were not used to it.

Some also said that it was strange to see female artistes dressed sexily and kissing each other. The Media Development Authority (MDA) said it will probe the incident to ascertain whether it has breached content guidelines of the free-to-air TV programme code.

A spokesperson for broadcaster MediaCorp told The New Paper that the “kiss” will be censored for this Sunday’s repeat telecast as some viewers may not be comfortable.

They should have won Most Favourite Couple

This will probably be the most useless snip in the history of television, regardless of what people think of two women kissing. Even if there were erotic undertones here beyond a ‘sisterly’ peck, it would have went unnoticed if the people obsessed with ‘lesbianism’ hadn’t cried foul over it. Perhaps cleavage just fails to shock anymore,  that there’s only a few ways to display one’s assets,  to the point that even the underboob has been milked dry. This Western glam concept of celebrity lip smooching has taken the attention away from boring speculations of boob jobs or waiting for wardrobe malfunctions to occur. The awards  have become secondary and our Mediacorp artistes are being ravaged on the red carpet for tasteless frocks, if not accused of aping the decadent West and turning viewers gay with their antics. People who’ve never seen a single Mediacorp drama the entire year would have at least heard of this event, but only for the wrong reasons. Soon no one will even remember or care about who won the Best Drama or Actress, nor male artistes who dress like hobos, and the Star Awards will be known just for two things: Ann Kok’s ample bosom and a hot girly kiss. Pity the former wasn’t involved in the latter, or you would have the prudes getting cardiac arrests before even writing in to complain about too much sex on TV.

This spontaneous couple seem to have taken a cue off Britney and Madonna, who locked lips on stage at the 2003 MTV awards, with a hint of tongue too. Nobody’s calling either a lesbian.

Our authorities have also banned the first hit single from Katy Perry titled ‘I Kissed a Girl’, which anyone can download off Youtube below, although no girls were actually kissing in the video. Katy went on to marry comedian Russell Brand in a rather short-lived romance, proof that she too wasn’t a lesbian.

Our censors also deleted scenes off critically acclaimed films like The Hours, and banned films like Shame altogether because of threesome scenes which I presume, would have some girly action as well. Kissing used to be a fun thing; experimental, playful and affectionate, and celebrities have the privilege of playing fast and loose with their PDA as they deem fit. Because they ARE celebrities.  Better that they engage in same-sex kissing than snort cocaine. These complainants are treating the act as if someone dropped a box full of forceps in the middle of a life-saving surgery.

Football players smooch each other all the time after scoring goals, yet no one talks about censoring matches because these contain ‘harmful’ scenes of sweaty men kissing, that boys who watch them may end up spending more time in the locker room than necessary. If two men kiss, it’s awkward or a prank, especially when presidents do it. If two ‘sexily dressed’ ladies kiss, however,  a ‘guideline’ has been breached and the innocent need to be protected.

One thing’s certain though; the kissing video would garner more hits than the  combined viewership of both live and rerun shows, even among people who have no idea who Joanne Peh is. Kate Pang may even score the Top 10 favourite artist list every year from now on, even if nobody has seen her act. Going near topless to boost a lacklustre career doesn’t work anymore, and it’s no longer peek-a-boo but ‘peck-a-(chio)bu’ that makes the Star Awards worth saving.

One man’s breakdown is another’s income opportunity

From ‘SMRT says sorry for its message to cabbies’, 16 Dec 2011, article by Daryl Chin, ST

SMRT has apologised for a message it broadcast to its fleet of taxis yesterday amid the chaos on the subway system. The message, which flashed on its drivers’ screens at about 8pm, read: ‘Income opportunity. Dear partners, there is a breakdown in our MRT train services from Bishan MRT to Marina Bay MRT stretch of stations.’

A photo of the screen – presumably taken by a passenger – soon appeared on social networking site Twitter and spread online, drawing sharp criticism.

‘Bad enough they are raising taxi fares, now they want to cash in on an event that is their fault to begin with,’ said sales assistant Candice Tan, 24, one of the many who tweeted about it.

Attempts to contact the photographer were unsuccessful. The message, presumably sent by SMRT call centrestaff, would have reached all 3,100 taxis in its fleet. An SMRT spokesman said last night: ‘We are sorry for the oversight. Our staff were using a template message, and we have since corrected it.’

Some More Revenue, Taxis!

The second breakdown in a week came after a Circle Line delay the day before. News of the trauma of passengers stuck in tunnels went live before SMRT could even recover from the backlash of its ‘official statement’ fiasco yesterday. Train windows were smashed out of desperation, passengers plunged into darkness and sent on a pitch-black tunnel march between City Hall and Dhoby Ghaut, images which anyone who’s seen the 90’s Sylvester Stallone disaster movie Daylight would find hauntingly familiar. I exaggerated in a previous post that SMRT was keeping silent because of zombie carnage in the train and on platforms, and looking at the state of chaos and the contorted faces of victims in agony, it appears that I wasn’t too far off the mark.

SMRT: Tunnel vision

Seems like SMRT is running out of ‘I’m sorry’ templates too. Here it’s ‘We are sorry for the oversight‘, last night it was:

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused…Preliminary investigation shows that around 40m of the power rail had been damaged between the City Hall and Dhoby Ghaut stations.

Inconvenience, of course, is a gross understatement, especially if you have passengers gasping for air, resorting to sacrificing fire extinguishers to smash windows to stay alive. One can only guess at the kind of mixed feelings that cabbies would have capitalising on stranded, desperate commuters only too eager to head home after a hard day’s work, although the cruel coincidence of the two incendiary events (MRT breakdown, taxi fare hike) reeks of a backdoor cost-recovery conspiracy on the part of SMRT, which not only has to deal with ticket refunds and whatever damages sustained because of angry, oxygen-deprived mobs, but foreigners sueing them for negligence after having their legs pulverised by trains. Or perhaps so much attention was given to ‘security breaches’ that there were simply not enough people to inspect cables every once in a while. Give me a graffitti-strewn train that gets me to work and home on the dot rather than a squeaky clean one that disgorges passengers into tunnels smack  in the middle of nowhere.

SMRT isn’t the only body exploiting the misfortune of others. Just after the Japanese tsunami in March this year, Mediacorp sent out an email soliciting for advertisers who might be interested in ‘breaking news’ coverage, each 30-second commercial costing $5000. Edwin Koh, Senior Vice President, stepped up to ‘apologise unreservedly if we had been seen to be insensitive to the gravity of the situation’. Note that it could have been either Mediacorp or SMRT who wanted to hush up DJ Hossan Leong for tweeting about the Circle Line fault yesterday as well. But it’s only the amoral nature of business after all, and corporations like these two have been ‘cashing’ in way before the advent of social media, whether we like it or not. Pharmaceutical giants ‘cash in’ whenever there’s an outbreak of disease, weapon manufacturers in the event of war, and likewise a swarm of passengers with nowhere to go is prime catch for cabbies.  Whether you call it ‘good business’ or ‘income opportunity’, the fact of the matter, as it is everywhere else, is that there is always a market for misfortune. It’s just unfortunate that an ‘oversight’ exposed the unfeeling machine that SMRT really was all along. So much for ‘MOVING people, ENHANCING lives’ as its motto boasts, when it has done the exact opposite these past few days.

Tsunami=Income opportunity

Let’s not forget another player in the grand scheme of things; ComfortDelgro for raising fees in the first place, after which we’ve seen wave after wave of sociopathic behavior occurring, from old men vandalising taxis, to graffitti on taxi panels about how we’re like ‘donkeys’ and always ‘Pay and Pay’, and the most ‘Grand Theft Auto’ of them all, a Trans cab taxi going on a hit-and-run rampage across town. Police blamed it on DRUGS, naturally. Maybe it’s the same drug that the SMRT spokespeople have been taking these couple of days, one that depletes every ounce of empathy in your body. Then again, according to writer/film-maker/lawyer Joel Bakan, corporations  are inherently self-interested psychopaths, with one of the traits being a ‘callous unconcern for the feelings of others’. A big, fat ‘Check’.

Nobody died during the shutdown last night (though it was reported that one fainted), but if there’s anybody that should be ‘apologising unreservedly’ it should be an actual PERSON, not the epitome of insincerity  in the form of the collective ‘WE’, crafting a response with the cut-and-paste dexterity as one garbles swill from random leftovers for pigs. The only trait that separates a chief mafioso from a company head in the context of exploiting tragedies for personal profit is that the gangster never needs to apologise.  This is how conspiracy theorists would view this situation: If you’re stuck with a cure (fare hikes to alleviate cabbies’ miserable takings) which nobody wants to take, then you have to create the disease (train failures). The truth is ‘shit happens’, but adding to the stink with a ‘template oversight’ is just ‘full of it’.

We want to see a sorry face, not a sorry excuse for an answer.

Postscript: And here’s SMRT CEO Saw Phaik Hwa’s ‘very, very sorry face’ during a press conference later in the day. Isabella Loh must be thanking the heavens she never got into a seat as hot as this.

CEOs can resign, it is whether they choose to

Too many Pan-Asian stars on local TV

From ‘Boost local, not Pan-Asian talents’, 22 Oct 2011, Life! Mailbag

(Helmy Sa’at): It is preposterous that the local television industry keeps shoving Pan-Asian stars down Singaporeans’ throats (New Face To Watch, Life!, Oct 18). Is this what Singaporean viewers really want?

The rationale to justify such decisions is that Singaporeans can better relate to Pan-Asian stars on television. Really? What does it say about the appreciation of local talent? Local talent should be developed even if it means scouting for them from local grassroots productions.

Even if, as claimed, the aim is to represent another minority in the mass media, Pan-Asian stars are still restricted to stereotypical characters, such as ‘a visitor from overseas who is obsessed with Chinese culture’. Where is the realism? It is important for the local TV industry to approach this matter seriously, considering the long-term ramifications, instead of cashing in on the good looks of Pan-Asian stars.

The ‘Pan-Asian’ hunk in question is Tom Price (English-Hong Kong Chinese), due to star in a Chinese New Year special with Zoe Tay. Other imported personalities include George Young (Greek-Chinese) and Utt (Thai-American). It’s not just attractive multi-hyphenated males in the limelight, though. A string of female artistes with Fly Entertainment include the likes of Angela May (Thai-American), Nikki Muller (Swiss-Filipina), Rebecca Tan (Australian-Singaporean) and Stephanie Carrington (American-Korean). But are these Pan Asians really a threat to local talent as what the writer wants us to believe? No English-speaking ‘Pan-Asian’ as far as I know have left their mark on the entertainment business as our locals have (think Adrian Pang, Gurmit Singh, the Noose team) . Or maybe our locals no longer find it appealing or sustainable to act/host for Channel 5 anymore, and that would partly be the marketing/programming people’s fault for not making the station exciting or attractive enough. And then there’s CABLE. At best, acting in silly local dramas would be a mere stepping stone for greater prospects. Look at Ng Chin Han (dropped the unpronounceable Ng recently), graduating from Masters of the Sea to supporting actor in blockbusters like the Dark Knight and Contagion, but that’s a sacrifice (Masters of the Sea) and risk (moving abroad) that few are willing to take.

The question should really be whether foreign actors of ANY descent are stifling the potential of local stars here, not just people with part Caucasian DNA in them. Plain-ASIANS like Robin Leong (of Triple Nine fame) and Allan Wu are non-local (and not too shabby in the looks department either), so why isn’t the writer complaining about these guys too? (One has turned acting into (kungfu) chops and the other put a chop to acting altogether). How about Hong Kong/Malaysian/Taiwanese actor-hosts having a chunk of the media pie then (who may not have the looks but simply charisma and gift of the gab), leaving struggling Channel 8 artistes in second-fiddle roles? Shouldn’t Channel 8 staff be more worried about OTHER Asians?

The Singaporean celebrity ‘hunk’ is also a dying breed (Does anyone remember ‘Polo Boys’, do we even care?), and unless someone the likes of James Lye comes around to titillate audiences, that eye candy niche will continue to be filled by ‘Pan-Asians’, whether the writer likes it or not. Channel 5 is a variety no-man’s land if not for American soapbox, and this obsession with Pan-Asianism is probably a last business resort to keep Channel 5 afloat, if not for the NEWS  then at least for fans of POLO BOYS waiting in bated breath for the elusive second season.

But it’s not just Singapore that’s caught up in the Pan-Asian wave. The quintessential ‘Pan-Asian’ is none other than international siren Maggie Q (American-Vietnamese). The male lead in spook-fest ‘Shutter’ and the local film ‘Leap of Love’, Ananda Everingham, is Laotian-Thai-Australian. The Asian-looking guy in ‘Wolverine’ Daniel Henney is Korean-American.  ‘Pan-Asian’ is just a fashionable buzzword in the glamour circuit, be it film or modelling, to describe anyone of mixed Asian and Caucasian heritage with physical attributes that appeal across the hemispheres,  hence the prefix ‘PAN’, which suggests ‘cross-continental’. It also helps if they know martial arts, but that’s just stereotyping. Everyone else who isn’t a celebrity is just ‘Eurasian’, though that too has problems when you’re talking about individuals with one white non-European parent. Would you call Tiger Woods Pan-Asian (Black-American Indian-Chinese-Thai-White)? Or how about Keanu Reeves for that matter (English-Irish- Portuguese-Hawaiian-Chinese)? If someone like Keanu applied for a hosting job in this region we would probably call him ‘Pan-Asian’. Elsewhere, they’d just call him Keanu Reeves.

One of the first ‘Pan-Asian’ stars in this region is Nadya Hutagalung (Indonesian/Australian), who had her break as a ‘VJ’ for MTV Asia in the 90’s.  MTV Asia, in fact,  is known for hiring hosts with the ‘Pan-Asian’ look, though even that wouldn’t save music video channels from losing popularity in the wake of YouTube.  Looking at the list, you’ll find a familiar who’s- who of multi-hyphenate VJs who have stinted with MTV before pursuing their careers elsewhere: Denise Keller (German-Chinese), Sonia Couling (English-Thai), Max Loong (Swiss-Chinese), Donita Rose (American-Filipina) etc. Incidentally, a similar complaint was raised the Malaysian authorities over ‘too many Eurasian faces’ in the media in 2007, which drew accusations of xenophobia and racism.  I don’t care much for TV, but I don’t see a problem with ‘Pan Asian’ actors coming here to spice up the entertainment industry, or what’s left of it (Channel 5 in particular). Let’s face it, this ain’t  and never will be Bollywood, and it won’t be long before they pack their bags for a taste of greater stardom elsewhere anyway.

F word on Last Man Standing

From ‘F**k word seen on Channel 5’, 29 Aug 2011, article in insing.com translated from SM Daily

Former radio DJ Danny Yeo posted on his blog yesterday that he had spotted the F word appearing in a Channel 5 programme. The gaffe is understood to have come from the programme “Last Man Standing” which airs at 11pm on Sundays.

Danny uploaded a screenshot of the programme on his blog and commented that TV seems to have trumped newspapers in media freedom.

The former DJ remarked that even newspapers had universally refrained from printing the F word during the recent uproar over Trinetta Chong, the valedictorian at an Nanyang Technological University (NTU) convocation ceremony who uttered a profanity at the end of her speech.

Member of Parliament Teo Ser Luck also added his take on the issue. He said that vulgarities should not be appearing on TV, and that the broadcaster should consider the thoughts and feelings of different segments of society. He emphasises that this may convey improper messages to the young.

Channel 5 has apologised for the gaffe and attributed it to a technical error. The Media Development Authority (MDA) is investigating the incident.

That sounds serious

Last Man Standing is about pitting the puny urban male physique against the battle-worn chassis of the tribal warrior in a bid to prove whether modern life has made us wimpy. Which explains why contestants may overcompensate by spouting language taken in the city context to be an indication of raw masculinity, or rather bearing a bark worse than his bite.  Even veteran users would be stumped by this substitution of ‘fuck’ for verbs which are sufficiently harsh and descriptive to begin with: hurt, hit, injured, scraped, sprained, twisted etc. If he had bumped his head would he say ‘I ‘fucked’ my head’? What if he got knocked on the buttocks? The use of the F word here doesn’t amplify the emotional impact of the injury, and the non-carnal use of ‘fuck’ as a verb is often restricted to sweeping ambiguity rather than to replace a specific force, such as ‘fuck it’ (the hell with it) or ‘This project is fucked’ (doomed). The more appropriate expression, without making one’s statement sound like a depraved auto-erotic act, would be ‘I got thrown yesterday and hurt my ‘fucking’ knee’. But that’s besides the point. This snippet should have been bleeped from the source, and we wouldn’t know if gritty profanity was the producers’ intention, or Mediacorp simply inherited a production error.

So much work has gone into the details of defining restrictions for PG-13 movies that the Board of Censors somehow let this TV gaffe slip by. But the irony is that children are spending more time online over TV, where they are more likely to pick up more creative permutations of the f word, be it through forums, video streaming or by downloading music, which makes regulating TV and programme subtitles somewhat like plugging a sinking boat with cotton balls. We persist in it because we still see our broadcasters to be responsible role models, being both educators and entertainers, while this invisible moderator is absent in the new media. We have somehow personalised the TV as a nanny surrogate, which makes us less tolerant to profanity if TV is supposed to be keeping the kids occupied while we work. But that’s not saying that television shouldn’t be censored. It should and will be for as long as TV exists, but only because we can, and it gives the Board of Censors people a job to do.  Trinetta Chong’s ‘fucking did it’ speech has nothing to do with this mistake, and newspapers haven’t ‘refrained’ from printing the F word according to Danny Yeo. They were NEVER SUPPOSED TO at all.