Too much Mandarin in Countdown Party: Cultural Medallion winner

SINGAPORE - Cultural Medallion winner and artistic director of homegrown theatre company Wild Rice Ivan Heng criticised MediaCorp's New Year's Eve countdown show in a strongly worded Facebook post.

He said that the show catered too much to Chinese audiences and did not show consideration for non-Mandarin speakers.

He added: "Jack Neo and Zoe Tay wished me Happy New Year in Mandarin, and Wang Lee Hom took to the stage as the main act. Wake up your ideas Mediacorp. This is Public Service Broadcasting. This is the countdown for our nation.

"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?"

His post attracted more than 9,000 likes and 2,900 shares on the social media platform.

A former employee of MediaCorp has also lashed out at the lack of cultural sensitivity on his blog.

Mr Abdillah Zamzuri called the Countdown 2013 "an utter letdown" and "a social disaster".

He said: "I'm not sure who decided on the concept of Countdown 2013 but it certainly didn't impress me, neither did it impress a lot of people.

The postings have spurred a heated discussion online, with many netizens commenting that they share the same sentiments.



Another Facebook user, Ravi Samuel, said: "The Countdown show was a linguistic assault on the non-Chinese and non-Chinese speaking among us". 

His post was shared by Mr Heng.

MediaCorp said the show was conceived as "a multilingual, multicultural show to reflect Singapore's multicultural heritage" and added that "a fair mix of English and Mandarin content was featured".

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