Tag Archives: Fighting Spiders

Injecting local flavour in TV serials

Please click to enlarge the image.

It’s always easier said than done, but what do we know of the limitations faced by content providers in trying to inject local flavour into local content?

I once spoke to a certain official from a particular government organisation who said he would like to see more colour in our local dramas, especially since we are a multi-racial society, so that should be reflected in our shows. But it’s excruciatingly painful for  someone whose mother tongue is not Mandarin to memorise lines based on hanyu pinyin, and have to act and react at the same time. Also I think there could be a certain rule set by MDA that limits the percentage of alternative languages that can be spoken in Chinese drama. So unlike in American dramas where you see people of different skin colour in every setting, we don’t have a common language to unify us.

But this lack of a common language is what defines us.

In fact, I think the way Singaporeans speak is very uniquely Singapore, (but I’m not sure we are exactly very proud of that). The truth is when we speak Mandarin, we inject a bit of English here, a bit of Hokkien there, and throw in a Malay adjective once in a while, and while we don’t have terrible pronunciation, we are not Beijing-accurate either. Yet we are not encouraged to speak this way on TV, which I think could be due to a certain guideline, but then again I never asked to know for sure. I think though, that even if we are allowed to do so by our directors and executive producers, it would certainly anger some disapproving viewers who think we should be setting a good example instead of perpetuating a less-than-perfect speech pattern.

From what I see, it’s a sticky situation.

It certainly doesn’t taken one person or even a panel of decision-makers to alter the status quo of our local television content. It needs a revolution (or miracle, depending on how you want to see it) that won’t take place overnight. But I think that shouldn’t deter us from recognising the need to solve the fundamental problem that is causing  lacklustre audiences’ response.

Results don’t come if you don’t start from somewhere.

我在回复这位朋友时,认为或许可以与更多人分享我的看法。

读者认为应该多制作具有本地风味的电视剧,比如《出路》和 Channel 5 目前还在播映的 “Fighting Spiders”.

我呢,则认为,不是以那种年代当背景的电视剧,并不代表它就没有本地风味。毕竟我们的国家已经成长了许多,现在的环境,人民所面对的压力和挑战都和以前不同。那我们要怎么样把这个年代给搬上电视,制作一部脍炙人口的电视剧, 才是接下来应该关注的挑战。

我认为本地电视剧就好像是一个国家的相簿,记录着不同年代的环境,也描述了国家和人民的进步和成长。80年代的代表作有《雾锁南洋》,《红头巾》等,就算不是出生在那个年代的人,看了电视剧也能对当时的新加坡大概有个概念。可是十年、二十年后,人们想知道我们这个年代的思想和环境是如何的话,如果所观赏的都是年代剧,那我们不是好像没有前进吗?

不过说来容易,我们又对制作组所面对的限制了解多少呢?

曾经听过某个政府机构的高层说,希望在我们的电视剧里看到更多色彩,既然我们是多元宗族国家,电视剧就应该凸显这一面。可是要一个母语不是华语的演员靠拼音背台词,然后又要演戏,又要作反应,真的会要了他的命! 况且听说有某个政府条规,限制在华语电视剧里能说其他语言的比例。所以我们不象美国的电视剧,能靠一个统一的语言让不同肤色的演员在同一个环境切磋。

虽然我们少了一个共同语言,但这也是我们独特的地方。

我们大部分新加坡华人的其中一个特色,就是平时的对话里常常参杂了不同语言,发音不很差,但也不是特别标准 。(这或许不是每个人愿意接受的特征。)电视剧不鼓励这么做,应该是因为要按照条规吧,我也不清楚,也从来没有人提过可以还是不可以。但是我想就算可以,播了出去也会惹来观众的批评,认为我们应该给下一代树立好榜样。

我在此又在强调的是,要让本地制作包含着本地风味,要制作杰出的电视剧不是靠一个人的努力,或是一个条规的调整,而是整个大环境的改革。这也不是一朝一夕能发生的事。

不过如果能意识到我们必需从最基本的根源下手,那已经是一个开始。

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Elle Awards 2009 (Singapore)

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Jason Liang from Fighting Spiders and I

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Sharon Lim (Editor-in-Chief of Elle Singapore) and I

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The Wall of Fame

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One of the Polo Boys, Paul Foster was there too!

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He's grown so much taller!!

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Group editor Corinne Ng presenting the award to me for Actress of the Year.

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Actor and Actress of the Year posing at the Wall of Fame.

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Jack & Rai, love their music. I joked that I'm the newest addition to the group! Then it's going to be Jack & Rai + Jo. LOL!