TL;DR – Are Singaporeans finally ready for better free-to-air programs?
I was catching up on some my favourite shows on NetFlix the other day. I’m a big fan of political dramas such as House of Cards and Designated Survivor these days. Despite the fact that I do not fully understand the political landscape of USA, the shows are so good that they actually got me reading up more about politics. While these shows use fictional characters, they will have mentions of their current political system as well as some historical events. Sensitive topics such as racism or gun laws would often be mentioned too.
Edutainment at its best!
It got me thinking – that if someone like myself who technically has nothing much to do with USA politics can get interested enough to do some reading up on my own to understand the system, does that mean that it’s probably a good way to get people (by that I mean apathetic Singaporeans) interested in politics? We all know the power of media when it comes to advocating messages as well as endorsing some stuff. Just take a look at Jack Neo’s movies and the amount of product placements. As much as we detest it, we have to accept that product placements on TV and movies still work.
I’m not saying that we should have a TV show to sing praises about our leading party or to have propaganda-sounding dramas teling us how to spend our CPF but I guess it’s a good platform to stir interest hopefully. It will also be a good opportunity for kids to learn about some historical events via the telly, isn’t it?
Take a look at the recent success with the Channel 8 drama When Duty Calls 卫国先锋. While I do not have official stats to back me up, I’ve heard good things from those who have watched it which includes better understanding of our SAF. And if you are as old as me, you would probably remember the iconic The Price of Peace television series where tribute was made to some of our war heroes with impressive acting by Rayson Tan as Lim Bo Seng.
I spoke to an ex-Mediacorp producer recently about our local TV programmes. More often than not, we hear people passing comments such as “I no longer watch local TV”. This producer explained to me that some (if not most) shows are produced the way they are because they are targeted at the older folks who still depend on free-to-air TV instead of online shows. We concluded the conversation that Mediacorp are still producing programs for their current users and isn’t trying to attract and acquire new viewers at all. Maybe it’s time that things change?
And more importantly, can Li Nan Xing be my president already?