MediaCorp has responded to criticism that its New Year's Eve countdown and 50th-anniversary celebration variety show, Celebrate TV50, was not multi-lingual enough.
"The show was conceived as a multi-lingual, multi-cultural show to reflect Singapore's multi-cultural heritage," it said in a statement that was released to the media on Thursday evening and also posted on its Facebook page at about 10pm the same night.
"A fair mix of English and Mandarin content was featured in the dual-channel telecast, with seamless programme transitions in both languages."
The five-hour telecast featured a red carpet segment, song-and-dance performances by local and foreign acts, and video montages. Headline acts were British-Irish boyband The Wanted and American-Taiwanese singer Wang Lee Hom.
Viewers slammed the show for its under- representation of minority artists as well as its excessive use of Mandarin.
Theatre actor-director Ivan Heng posted on his Facebook page on Jan 1: "Where were the Malays, Indians, Eurasians, Peranakans and not to mention, the dozens of other races and nationalities who today call Singapore their country and home. And could we not have featured more of our wonderful Singaporean talents on stage?"
As of yesterday, his post had garnered almost 9,500 likes and 3,000 shares.
Response to MediaCorp's statement on its Facebook page was similarly vitriolic.
Facebook user Deborah Branson commented on its page: "You couldn't even be bothered to provide translation for the non-Mandarin speaking audience. You should have broadcast it on Channel 8 then."
Netizen Khidhir Zaini commented: "I felt like I was watching Channel 8 charity show instead of countdown."
In its statement, MediaCorp said: "Besides established Channel 5 and Channel 8 artists, popular personalities from Suria and Vasantham were also part of the festivities, such as Taufik Batisah, Sharon Ismail, B.J. Kadir, Rahayu Ridwan, Shabir, Ebi Sankara, Vignesh Wadarajan and Suthasini.
"They were prominently featured in the main programme as well as the Walk of Fame segment."
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