SINGAPORE — Chinese Singaporeans who subscribe to pay TV have a new choice in programming: product from Hong Kong and Taiwan in the original language of Cantonese or Hokkien.
This turn away from Mandarin is officially explained as catering to a small minority of Hong Kong emigres and the older generation of Singaporeans, but many people see it as a move to help boost the 14% subscription to Singapore CableVision, currently put at about 60,000 homes.
The main cable channels of Chinese programming — VarietyVision and Hong Kong’s TVBZ — will no longer need to dub films and variety shows, recorded in Cantonese, into Mandarin. Films made in Taiwan can now be shown in Hokkien.
The government launched a Speak Mandarin drive 20 years ago. This has successfully wiped out Chinese dialects in one generation. Chinese make up 75% of the population.