Friday, December 09, 2005

Singaporean Series...Portrait of a Family 同心圓

I have been watching this Singaporean serial called 'Portrait of a Family' on cable TV Astro in Malaysia recently, and really enjoy it...i find the Singaporean serials are so much better than the Chinese or Taiwanese ones (mainland Chinese serials are either boring and serious or just commercial wannabes with tons of violence and twists and Taiwanese ones have bad actors who cannot act, look ugly and storylines which are so lame) and they really seek to retain chinese culture through the emphasis in many series on food and big families....i like this drama as it is nice and revolve around food and big families just like Holland V which i enjoyed....further, this drama has tried to include several characters which are relevant to Singaporean society currently such as prostitutes from China and Vietnamese Brides which i really like.....however there seems to be some complaints by SGs that there is too much repetition of themes such as the focus on big families and food in many serials, however i really enjoy this format and also feel it represents chinese culture...which brings me to another topic on the status of culture in Singapore....although many Singaporeans criticize the SG govt for emphasizing too much on the 'mother tongue' policy, i feel it is one of the few non-democratic good policies of their govt. Basically this policy promotes and encourages the three main ethnic groups in Singapore to learn their own language which means Chinese students must compulsorily take Chinese language, Malay students Malay and Indian students Tamil in schools. Further, Mandarin for chinese is widely promoted....this is reflected in the TV dramas where though there are English language TV serials in Singapore, it is the Mandarin language TV serials which produce the big stars and which catch the attention of audiences. It is obvious that the govt has placed more money and effort into the Mandarin serials in part of its efforts to retain 'Chinese language n culture' amongst the increasingly westernised chinese population of Singapore. Thus, all actors and actresses who want to make it big like Fann Wong (the girl in Jackie Chan's Shanghai Knights) have to be able to speak Mandarin which is good in my opinion...i feel many Singaporeans, especially the younger generation, have become sooo westernised that many nowadays despite the compulsory chinese language lessons and exams they must take, still have a poor grasp of Mandarin and prefer to speak english amongst their peers. I mean if it were not for govt policy and compulsory mandarin study , can one imagine the state of Mandarin?? if younger sg;s are already not able to speak and write good Mandarin now, what would happen if the 'mother tongue' policy of compulsory mandarin were to be abolished?? There also seems to be a certain strain of racism running through a large segment of singaporean society(this is true of other Asian societies as well though like Hong Kong)that knowing English somehow elevates one into a 'higher', 'more prestigious' strata of Society whilst Mandarin-speakers are 2nd class and dialect speakers like Hokkien are 'bottom or working class' people. I strongly dislike this kind of mentality though it still seems to be true even now...Therefore i always show great respect for ppl who have a good command of Chinese as i feel sometimes too much emphasis is placed on learning English all across Asia when we should, especially in highly westernised Asian countries such as Singapore, stop to ponder what is being lost in the non-stop race towards modernity...

2 comments:

Ronnie said...

i tend to agree with ur comments. although i'm also a korean drama junkie, i do enjoy our own spore local mandarin production too..instead of the lofty romantic ideals that's portrayed in korean dramas, our local drama touches base with the struggles of average sporeans from various walks of life, how they cope with crazy medical bills, kidney dialysis, loansharks, petty family squabbles, raising a kids, old age, prices of staple foods, etc..to some these are very uninspiring..but to me, these dramas offer to teach me something larger than myself..

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

Ronnie: Thanks for your comment, glad to know u like ur homegrown dramas...i've visited ur blog, wow, u r a devoted christian aren't you? the whole blog had a large christianity portion in it...