Countdown used more Mandarin due to longer TV history

Countdown used more Mandarin due to longer TV history

SINGAPORE - The controversial New Year Countdown show organised by MediaCorp, meant to celebrate 50 years of television, devoted more airtime to Mandarin productions because the broadcaster has produced Mandarin dramas for 30 years, "longer than (in) any other language".

Mr Remesh Kumar, senior vice-president of MediaCorp's English entertainment productions, said this in a statement yesterday aimed at addressing recent letters to the media, as well as "social-media chatter", about the programme.

Many online, including theatre practitioner Ivan Heng, criticised it for its excessive use of Mandarin.

Mr Kumar said they are "very mindful of sensitivities" and that the programme, broadcast on Channels 5 and 8, was "primarily in English, though Mandarin commentary was interspersed" throughout. There were also performances in the four official languages.

With a longer history of producing Mandarin shows, there was a "larger pool of Channel 8 artists, who are our most popular" and to insist that they speak in English "would have meant they might not have been able to express themselves clearly".

He acknowledged that they could have done more to engage Channel 5 viewers, and said they would consider using subtitling in the future, "although this could mean losing a fair bit of spontaneity as dialogue would largely be scripted".

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