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.
Ms. Leow Hui Min (Reader)
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