We thank Ms Leow Hui Min for her comments ("Countdown show not socially inclusive"; last Friday).
Celebrate TV50 was special because it was the grand finale to a year-long celebration of 50 years of television in Singapore. More than the usual countdown show, it was conceived as a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual showcase of television's history, personalities and memorable moments.
Hence, it was a five-hour show instead of the usual 11/2-hour programme. A show of this scale allowed us to bring together our most popular artists from all TV channels and also two international acts, The Wanted and Wang Leehom, to lend an international appeal.
MediaCorp decided to simulcast it on Channels 8 and 5 to broaden the reach of the show, instead of having separate countdowns as in previous years.
We are very mindful of sensitivities when producing a show for a broad audience. The programme was primarily in English, though Mandarin commentary was interspersed for Channel 8 audiences.
We featured performances in the four official languages, making sure the 180 local artists represented Singapore's multi-ethnic make-up.
They included iconic names such as Margaret Chan, Brian Richmond, Dick Lee, Duncan Watt, Asnida Daud, Jayaram, Taufik Batisah, Sylvia Ratonel and Shabir.
The early part of the show celebrated the history of television, and more airtime was given to Mandarin productions because we have a 30-year history of producing Mandarin dramas, longer than for any other language.
Hence, there was a larger pool of Channel 8 artists, who are our most popular, reflecting our TV audience profile.
Some parts of the show had blocks of Mandarin dialogue as some Channel 8 artists had chosen to speak in Mandarin. To insist that they spoke in English would have meant they might not have been able to express themselves clearly.
While many viewers enjoyed the show, we understand there are viewers like Ms Leow who thought the use of Mandarin excessive ("Countdown party not multi-lingual enough"; last Friday).
We could have done more to engage Channel 5 audiences, and will continue striving to get the right balance of language content for such future shows.
We will also consider the use of subtitling, although this could mean losing a fair bit of spontaneity as dialogue would largely be scripted. We assure Ms Leow and all our viewers that MediaCorp will do its best to serve TV audiences better.
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