The Voice, that had been hughly popular in China, producing none other than our famed Nathan Hortono, is having its Singapore-Malaysia version. Although there is no restriction on race, the requirements do state the need to be ‘fluent in Mandarin’. This has caused irk among many netizens and the mainstream media in Singapore has added fuel to the fire. They say the organisers are not living up to multiculturalim and could be undermining potential non-ethnic Chinese talents.
However, there is a bigger, less-talked-about problem with the requirements. That is, that songs ‘of any language’ can be sung, with the exception of ‘dialects, like Cantonese or Hokkien’. This is believed to be due to dialect restriction on the Singapore side. (PAP has anti-dialect regulation in its Broadcast Acts; although it has allowed dialects on TV during the SARS period, and Radio 95.8FM still has daily dialect news broadcasts, and movies also allow a certain percentage of dialect use.)
This is awkward because even Mandarin-promoting China is not fuzzy about dialect songs. G.E.M, who hailed from Hong Kong, is a star in China through these singing competitions where she wowed with her Cantonese songs, no less. No authority or individual in the Greater China region, had any complaints. It is unpalatable that far over here in Singapore, where dialects were our mother tongues, these vernacular languages are dealth with with such intolerance, to the extent of exterminating them. Is this not a greater suppression on talent?
Of course, our mainstream media will not pay heed to such ‘difficult topics’. They will only seek to thrive on silly arguments amongst you, and mix and match on their ‘non-confrontational’ news coverage. As long as it does not say bad about our government!