The government of Singapore employs multiple praiseries to sing of the city state’s attractions and achievements as a budding media nexus.
But nothing it has done of late has attracted attention as much as the production of a rap video, which shows leading civil servants, regulators and the country’s censors hopping and bopping while extolling the city-state’s virtues.
Dressed in suits and ties, the bureaucrats mouth predictably awful lyrics: “Get connected worldwide. Rock on,” and, from content director Amy Chua, “We classify media to give you a choice, we consult the community to give you a voice.”
Apparently produced about a year ago, the video was screened at a management conference and in the Media Development Authority lobby. But recently it emerged on YouTube — where it is classified as comedy — and has been seen by hundreds of thousands.
It sparked plenty of colorful debate in newspaper columns, with commentators asking whether it was a waste of money. Others point out the contradiction between the vid’s claim that Singapore is a “vibrant media city” and the reality that sees films and legit productions regularly censored. And there are the more snarky comments — that the YouTube clip is one of the most successful works that the media authority has ever backed.
All harmless fun and, for better or worse, the film is getting people talking about Singaporean media.
But it also highlights an unfortunate reality: that Singapore’s media administrators are bigger stars than its moviemakers.