Museum puts on show on television

Museum puts on show on television
Curator Vicky Wong (above) with a Zenith TV set and a photograph contributed by a member of the public. Costumes worn in drama series such as The Awakening and Samsui Women are also on show.

Growing up in the 1980s, Mr Raymond Soh remembers eagerly waiting for the magic hour of 3pm each day. That was when television transmission would start.

The 37-year-old engineer "spent lots of time watching Chinese drama series and children's programmes such as Electric Company and Sesame Street".

He is among those who contributed their memories and photographs of TV's impact on their lives to 50 Years Of Television: An Exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore. It runs till Jan 19 at the Stamford Gallery and admission is free.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the goggle box's arrival. Over the years, it has played a part in recording pivotal moments in Singapore's history and also entertained with homemade dramas.

The story of TV is told in five sections at the exhibition: TV Comes To Singapore (1963-1985), Making Television Our Own (1986-2013), Televising Singapore, From The Reel World To The Real World & Celebrity Culture and The Future Of Television.

From a pricey luxury item that only a few could afford in the 1960s, the TV set is now very much taken for granted. Back in January 1963, only 1.5 per cent of the population owned a TV set.

In January 2009, 98.5 per cent owned at least one TV set. These are among the informative statistics found at the show.

Curator Vicky Wong, 34, says the exhibition highlights the communal setting of TV watching from the early days of watching it at a community centre to families watching programmes together.

She notes: "It's not just about what we watched but how we watched it and who we watched it with."

Accordingly, the television set is placed in different social contexts at the exhibition, from community centre to living room to kopitiam.

Ms Wong herself has fond memories of accompanying her grandmother to the community centre. She says: "I remember watching the adults watching television and she and her friends would scold the bad guys together."

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