4. What does the history of television demonstrate about the wider context of Singapore’s history in the post-1965 period? Roadmap for Analysis
2.Television and Society’s Changing Values2
3.Television as a mirror of the Government’s goals5
4.Television as a reflection of Singapore society’s maturing preferences6
Television was introduced to Singapore in 1963 by Radio and Television of Singapore, under close regulation by a department within the government’s Ministry of Culture. Today, local free-to-air television channels are wholly owned by state-owned Mediacorp Singapore. Thus, the government has retained its ability to exert close control over television content over the years. In addition, as Mediacorp is a profit driven organization, “entertaining the masses is more or less [our] top concern.” Thus, television in Singapore serves two key aims; the first is to support development objectives sought by the government and the second is to entertain the masses. The history of television in Singapore is thus a telling narrative of how the Singaporean government’s goals has developed over the years, and also how the preferences of the masses have changed with the progression of society, with the average real incomes of the general populace rising together with their level of education. Hence, this paper will demonstrate the development of Singapore’s history in the post-1965 period by analysing the history of television in Singapore. 2. Television and Society’s Changing Values
The history of television in Singapore serves as litmus to demonstrate Singapore society’s progression from a collectivist culture to one that is more individualistic in nature; the result of being a society that is unusually open to the world. This statement can be interpreted as Singaporean society becoming more westernized as a result of receiving basic education in English. In the 1960s and 70s, an increasing number of parents chose to have their children educated in English because those proficient in it commanded higher incomes relative to the other official languages. When broadcast television was introduced to Singapore in the 1960s, it was viewed in fifty community viewing centers especially set up to receive television. However, as society progressed and the masses grew increasingly affluent so that they could afford their own television sets, the number of television licenses per 1,000 population began to grow exponentially. In 1966, this figure was 43.87. In 1987, this figure had ballooned to 203.11. These figures represented only the number of licenses, and not the actual number of television sets; many middle class families were also adding second television sets for more personalized pleasure. By the time Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) celebrated the 25th year of broadcasting in 1988, television had achieved near total penetration into Singapore households, and had established itself as an important form of mass entertainment. This indicated that not only was television viewing becoming more significant in the leisure times of Singaporeans, television viewing was also becoming an increasingly personalized affair, as the number of people involved in watching a single television became smaller. For example, while families were now able to watch two programmes at home at the same time, in separate areas and on separate television sets. This was the result of growing affluence in Singapore combined with advancements in technology which rendered the price of owning a personal television much more affordable to families. According to a SBC report, broadcast content served to project the government’s aims for the people in terms of employment, social service, health, and education....