Made in USA

Although Singapore is an Asian country, I believe that we are influenced very strongly by the American culture, and this is mostly due to the globalization of mass media. Globalization of media refers to the competitive process by which media companies attempt to acquire a larger share of the profits available in the international markets. Singapore’s television based company Mediacorp is definitely no exception. Mediacorp establishes a two-prong strategy by helping its viewers develop strong domestic roots as well as establishing an international development strategy by airing US television shows on our local channels such as America’s Next Top Model, Lost and The Walking Dead, just to name a few. In order for us to enjoy even more international programs, we subscribe to SCV which allows us to enjoy television programs for almost every major global media company, be it a US based company or not.

Even though Singapore, being part of Asia is known to be the fastest changing region over the past three decades, we are still not considered as a major market for global television program export industry as there would be language barriers, government restrictions, differences in cultural backgrounds and might not sit well with local viewers and limitations of television transmission and reception from certain countries. We have our home-grown directors and locally produced movies such as I Not Stupid and Money No Enough and local television programs such as The Little Nyonya, which was such a big hit among our citizens, but the exports of these media products to other regions are very limited. If I am not wrong, these media products were only distributed to Malaysia at best. With Asia being the largest regional producers of motion pictures worldwide, especially Bollywood films from India, Japan and Hong Kong but few of these films are distributed outside of Asia, not even having a chance of infiltrating into USA theaters.

We might feel as if we have several television programs to enjoy with SCV, but the truth is that there are so many more television shows available online. Why is this so? I feel that it is because of the government controlling the information flow into our domestic market for various different reasons. Shows like Jersey Shore or Teen Moms might be frowned upon by a large group of Singaporeans as it is deemed to be trashy and teaching the younger generation in here that getting pregnant at the age of 16 will catapult you to fame.

As much as several of us enjoy watching television, I believe that there is no cause for alarm over the quantity of American media products available for our viewership as long as the viewers are able to discern for themselves which is applicable to their culture and which is not. More over, it is due to the globalization of mass media that has allowed us to learn from other cultures and experience and learn about different things without having to leave the comfort of our homes.

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8 Responses to Made in USA

  1. Chloe says:

    It is true that Singapore is heavily influenced by American culture. I think that this is partly because English is the most widely used language here, especially among youth. Hence, it is not surprising that Singaporeans are more receptive to American media products as compared to other Asian countries.
    Asian media products, in my opinion, will not be able to infiltrate the American market easily as their market is already replete with their own homegrown media products, courtesy of Hollywood. It is even more difficult for Singapore media products to infiltrate foreign markets. Our domestic market is already small on its own. Our local productions tend to only appeal to the Singaporean and perhaps Malaysian audience, and are often lacking in creativity and diversity.

  2. Foo Ye Wei says:

    I agree with Chloe, and with Elvi as well. As Rodge in The History Boys mentions: “History is just one f*cking thing after another.” If infiltrating the global entertainment scene had been the priority of our country at the point of our independence (providing that that point had been shifted way earlier than when the U.S Declaration of Independence was penned and initialed) then judging by our supreme ability to achieve all that we set out to, I would say the average American would be riveted by a Singaporean albeit slightly adjusted Little Nonya.

    Most of Singapore’s worries, as Chloe mentions, do come from the fact that we were simply too late. We are playing a game of catching up now.

  3. Mike "The Situation" says:

    fully agree, with everything so tightly controlled, having to constantly adhere to rules and regulations even when im sitting at home, watching tv. guess what? my shows are censored. thanks a lot. furthermore, with so many “guidelines” to follow, local directors, producers, scriptwriters have so little room to work with, stemming creative juices. Hence, our local movies or shows can never make it off this small island. The day it does, please either wake me up from my grave or we have changed our government (there i said it)

    P.S Stappp it and bring uncensored jersey shore to our shores. get it?

  4. June Tan says:

    Well said. I agree.

  5. Seth Cowan says:

    Indeed, like i cannot even remember when i last watched a local production. They are all the same plotwise and somehow i feel like their trying to inject some sort of moral education into me, like i havent had enough of that in school. overseas tv series totally thrashes local ones. and btw, i think our local actors and actresses are kinda lousy as well. nx 😛

    • Yes I fully agree! There is always some sort of moral lesson behind every single local production. Gets pretty dry and boring and eventually you can even tell what they’re trying to put across before the episode even ends. The local actors and actresses need to brush up on their skills since their non verbal communication isn’t very convincing on screen

  6. D says:

    I agree. But so long as we have our Asian pride and not be influenced by the American culture, we can preserve our identity.

  7. LLL says:

    Another problem that compounds this situation is the mindset that many Singaporeans have. Most of them think that homegrown artists lack talent/creativity that artists from countries like USA have, and thus do not support local artists. Without the support from their fellow citizens, how are they supposed to thrive, let alone survive, in the industry?

    A prime example is Corrinne May. May was born and bred in Singapore, all the way until she left to pursue music in Berklee. According to an online source, “in order to pursue her dreams in music, she moved to Los Angeles in 1999.” Why didn’t she come back to Singapore , her home, to pursue her dreams? She obviously knew better. When May made it big in the music industry and rose to fame in the States/overseas, many Singaporeans naturally assumed that she was talent from overseas, a factor that I attribute to her success amongst Singaporeans (I am not, however, discounting her talent). If she had started her career here in Singapore, I highly doubt she would be where she is today.

    In a similar vein, Inch Chua, a local song writer/singer and multi-instrumentalist, left Singapore earlier this year to pursue her career in music in Los Angeles, a place she said “has a more progressive environment for the arts”. She wrote an angry letter on Facebook, expressing her displeasure in the lack of reception of Singaporeans to local talent (http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/musicscene/inch-chua-slams-lack-support-local-musicians-093158107.html). Despite being the first Singapore solo artist to be invited to the prestigious South by Southwest Music Festival, she did not receive any replies when she applied from various grants from several Government bodies like National Arts Council and Singapore International Foundtion.

    With the government exemplifying such support and mindset, how can local artists transcend regional boundaries? And how can more talent be cultivated in this hostile environment?

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