×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mind control over gov’t matters

Media used to raise awareness of issues

While outsiders may scoff at the city-state’s ban on chewing gum, first-time visitors can’t help but marvel at (and even envy) the cleanliness of Singapore’s streets. And the government makes no apologies for the way it’s able to get things done.

No sooner is an initiative announced than the media are utilized to raise awareness of the issue in hand.

Take public transportation. With car ownership a status symbol among the upwardly mobile — its prohibitive cost proving an incentive to conspicuous consumption rather than a deterrent — Singaporeans need to be encouraged to use the excellent and cheap public transport system. The answer, it would appear, is Chinese-language foodie show “Where the Bus Stops.” Featuring Singapore’s favorite topic — food — popular celebrities take public buses to food centers islandwide in order to sample local fare.

Similarly, Singapore is having difficulty recruiting for its massive maritime industry — which accounted for 7% of the country’s GDP in 2005. In an exercise in product placement of epic proportions, top local stars are placed within the product — a 21-episode Chinese-language drama series “The Peak,” set in the world’s busiest port and sponsored by Keppel Corp.

It’s a huge industry, but it lacks PR. “This 21-episode series is the first in Singapore’s television history to showcase this industry,” according to the show’s promo materials, presenting the individual life experiences of those who work at the port.

Its effectiveness in attracting talent into the shipping industry is as yet unmeasured, but its sexy cast of Christopher Lee, Qi Yuwu, Elvin Ng, Jeanette Aw, Dawn Yeoh and Ben Yeo helped pull in roughly 1 million viewers for the show’s primetime debut on MediaCorp Channel 8 on Jan. 8.

In some cases, government initiatives can even help push the boundaries of censorship, as charismatic Dr. Love (aka Dr. Wei) has found out.

A practicing gynecologist and fertility expert, Wei was responsible for Singapore’s first-ever latenight sexual health program. He also organizes singles and fantasy parties and holidays, and has launched adult magazine Love Airways. He famously sent scantily clad models on cool Vespa scooters into Singapore’s suburbs to conduct a sex survey, and was in talks with Fremantle to produce reality series “Dr Wei’s Super Baby-Making Show” in which couples race to get pregnant.

Wei’s rationale for such outlandish and saucy initiatives? He had the backing of the Romancing Singapore campaign — to help boost the city-state’s dwindling birth rate.

More TV

  • Mipcom Wrap: The Shows, News, Trends

    Mipcom Wrap: The Shows, News, Trends and Talking Points in Cannes

    Mipcom remains the biggest international TV get-together of the year, and that makes Cannes in October the place where the industry takes stock. How programming is made, bought and sold is changing, as is the array of platforms that carry content. Here are takeaways from Mipcom 2019. Good Buzz – but No Title Dominates No [...]

  • Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham

    Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ Soccer Doc Series

    Amazon has greenlit a new “All or Nothing” sports documentary series, this time following London-based soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. “All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur” will follow a year in the life of the team, charting the ongoing 2019-20 season. The squad made it to the final of the European Champions League last year, losing to [...]

  • Steve Kornacki

    Steve Kornacki, Chris Matthews Stand at Center of New NBC News Podcasts

    After vowing to press ahead more directly into the world of podcasts, NBC News is readying the launch of three additional audio shows centered around politics. “Article II” will help listeners understand the impeachment process. The program, new episodes of which are slated to debut Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as people head for their evening [...]

  • FIRMA-ACUERDO-AMERICA-TV-THE-MEDIAPRO-STUDIO-PHOTO

    The Mediapro Studio, America TV Strike Three Series Co-Production Alliance

    Spanish TV giant The Mediapro Studio has inked a three-year collaboration deal with Argentine broadcaster America TV, aimed at developing, producing and distributing original content. The agreement will see the production of three series to be distributed in the global market, the companies said Thursday in a statement. No details of the projects were revealed. [...]

  • Trentino Leads By Example With Eco-Friendly

    Trentino Film Commission Leads by Example With Eco-Friendly Program T-Green

    In 2015, Luca Ferrario set out to lead by example. Though many European commissions already offered sustainability programs, none, he felt, did so in ways that could flourish in his own back yard. “Most of my colleagues offered guidelines to follow, only those were not enough, at least not in Italy,” says Ferrario, who is [...]

  • American Son review

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases 'American Son' Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix released the trailer for “American Son” starring Kerry Washington and first looks at Dolly Parton’s new anthology series, “Heartstrings.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has released the trailer for “American Son,” which premieres Nov. 1 on the streaming service. Directed by Tony award-winner Kenny Leon, the film is based on the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content