Sunday, January 18, 2015

 Below write-up is by courtesy of from source
Please go into this source on  more information about interesting SBC Dramas in the 80s.

The Early Days of SBC
sbc logoThe eighties and a large part of the nineties were undeniably the golden periods for SBC, the predecessor of Mediacorp (and TCS). SBC, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation in full, was established in February 1980 as a statutory board, after the corporatisation of Radio and Television Singapore (RTS).
Back then, the sources of Chinese dramas were mainly from Hong Kong and Taiwan. The dramas, many of them in Cantonese and Minnan (Taiwanese Hokkien), had to be dubbed in Mandarin for Singapore audience. After its establishment, SBC decided to invest and produce Singapore’s own Chinese drama series.
star search 1990In 1978, Hong Kong’s entertainment realm was hit by the collapse of Commercial Television and the change in ownership of Rediffusion Television (now Asia Television Limited). The two incidents provided opportunities for SBC to recruit some of the top talents in Hong Kong scriptwriters and producers.
The early eighties also saw the first batch of local artistes recruited through drama training classes. This lasted a decade before it was eventually replaced by the Star Search competition in 1988, which produced the likes of Zoe Tay, Aileen Tan and Chew Chor Meng. In 1982, the successful production and broadcast of “Seletar Robbery” signified the birth of local Mandarin dramas.
Channel 5, Suria and Vasantham
Malay programs found their ways to TV as early as the sixties. “Pak Awang Temberang” (Uncle Awang Tells Stories) was the first Malay-language drama series aired in 1966. The seventies were the golden era for Malay dramas; many were produced and directed by Bani Buang (1929-1996), popularly known as the father of Singapore’s modern Malay dramas.
masters of the sea 1994Locally-made Tamil dramas soon followed. “Ippadiayam oru Kudumbam” (What A Family), aired in August 1980, was the first Tamil-language drama series produced in Singapore.
Ironically, Singapore did not produce its own local English dramas until the nineties, even though Channel 5 was the first TV channel debuted in April 1963. The much-criticised “Masters Of The Sea” became the first local English TV drama series aired in 1994.
20 Most Memorable SBC (Channel 8) Dramas
Between 1982 and 1990, SBC produced close to ninety Chinese drama series for Channel 8; many were forgettable, some became classic, along with their theme songs which were tailor made to suit the storylines of the dramas. Creativity was at its peak as SBC explored different types of drama genres, such as mystery, horror, comedy, science-fiction and wuxia (pugilistic/martial arts).
RemSG sorts out its list of 20 most memorable Channel 8 dramas. Which of these were your favourite ones?
1. Seletar Robbery 实里达大劫案
seletary robbery 1982Period: 24 July 1982
Episodes: 1
Genre: Thriller
Main Cast: Huang Wenyong (黄文永), Chin Chi Kang (钱治钢), Lim Sin Ming (林生民), Steven Woon (云昌凑)
Plot Summary: It was a police and thief game as three robbers got away with a $300,000 loot from a construction company.
Trivia: Although it had only one episode and lasted only 90 minutes, “Seletar Robbery” was considered the first locally-produced Chinese drama. It took less than a month to finish the filming of the drama.
Memorable Scene: Chin Chi Kang as the undisputed villain

Sunday, January 4, 2015

George is coming to Singapore
See message from George Favacho from Perth....

Yes indeed ... 2015 shapes as a significant chapter in the History of Radio & TV Broadcasting in Singapore ... The BIG MOVE
to a new Home located at the new Mediapolis@one-north, at Buona Vista.
No Stopping CHANGE and for many of us we can just look back and reflect on the many happy memories we have all experienced. We can proudly consider ourselves as "Pioneers" of Caldecott Hill!

I shall be visiting Singapore this month and once again Dear Colleagues Lucy Leong and Cecilia Tan will be organising a reunion gathering on Friday 23rd January 2015.
Do keep this date Free ... you will be advised of further details once the two ladies have finalised all arrangements.

See you soon ... CHEERS!
George Favacho - Perth

MediaCorp  New Campus coming soon
MediaCorp marked a milestone for its new campus at Mediapolis@one-north with a topping off ceremony on-site on Wednesday (Nov 12). The event was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Mr Khaw Boon Wan; Minister for National Development. To mark the ceremony, 17 remote-controlled mini planes took to the skies, each bearing flags of MediaCorp's brands and products.
MediaCorp's Chairman Teo Ming Kian said the new campus is a key part of MediaCorp's continuing transformation into a leading media player. The building is designed to facilitate closer collaborations among employees, by breaking down "silos" where they have worked in the past as distinct business units. "The new interior does not have walls, and open spaces abound," said Mr Teo. He added that it will be possible to see from one end across to the other. The public will also be able to visit the new campus, and there will be self-guided tours to allow visitors to learn about MediaCorp's history. They will also be able to view live productions for news, radio and drama.

"With better access, members of the public would be better able to visit our premises, feel closer to us, and give valuable feedback on our programmes, even at the pilot stage," said Mr Teo. "Building a new campus is a heavy investment, one that requires thoughtful planning to ensure that our move is more than just a physical relocation. It is an integral part of our transformation agenda."
"We will continue to push the envelope in our content and delivery, improving our reach and live up to our mission to engage, entertain and enrich our audiences," he added.

Monday, April 21, 2014

NewsFlash from MediaCorp

Here is the latest newsflash on the MediaCorp Campus from Karen Chia sent to COTs.
If you are a CaldecottHill Old Timer and wish to be alerted on news besides the campus update from MediaCorp please email

New Campus Update: (i)                  Site Progress
Here’s a sneak peek into how the site at Buona Vista is progressing...


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pioneer Generation Tribute

 Pioneer Generation Tribute

"About 450,000 seniors will benefit from extra subsidies for MediShield Life and outpatient treatment, as well as annual Medisave top-ups under the Pioneer Generation Package.

As one of the first Singapore 50 (SG50) events, the Pioneer Generation Tribute was held on 9 Feb 2014 at the Istana. Attended by over 1,000 members of our Pioneer Generation, the event was held to say ‘Thank You’ to our Pioneer Generation for their contributions in nation-building. These representatives of our Pioneer Generation included those who have served during the early years of Singapore’s nationhood in the uniformed services, unions and the community, former political leaders, and ordinary Singaporeans who contributed in many other ways and raised the next generation of Singaporeans.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced at the event that the Pioneer Generation will receive a Pioneer Generation Package that will be focused on healthcare. Wide consultations have shown that healthcare is at the top of the minds of older Singaporeans. The Package will provide benefits that cover different types of healthcare needs. All members of the Pioneer Generation will enjoy the Pioneer Generation Package.....For more details please see"

Some COT members were invited to Istana where the PM thanked the pioneers for their contribution. Among them were Ee Boon Lee, Mun Chor Seng, Chua Foo Yong and many others. I am pleased to attach herewith some photos of the event held at the Istana .

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The First National Day Parade

Mun Chor Seng remembers and writes about the first National Day Parade….  

“The other day while trying to tidy my photo albums, I found some local stamps issued in 1962.  Printed on the stamps were the words "National Day, June 3 1962, State of Singapore."  They were issued as commemorative stamps to celebrate our National Day on 3 June 1962 ( Photo 1).  It confirmed for the first time in print that 3 June 1962 was to be celebrated as Singapore's National Day but there was no National Day Parade (NDP) then.

The next year another set of commorative stamps bearing the words "National Day, 3rd June 1963 State of Singapore (Photo 2) was issued. A NDP was organised with the theme "Through Unity to Nationhood".  It was held at the Padang (Photo 3).  By coincidence, the same year, TV Singapura was established and "Live" TV was possible through the single 4-hour channel monochrome service then.

The NDP started in the evening with the first "LIVE" TV Transmission beginning at 5.30pm and ending at 7.20pm (Photo 4).  The Yang di-Pertuan, Yusof Ishak, and the Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, together with Assemblymen and Assemblywomen with Senior Government Officials were seated at the grandstand on the steps of City Hall to witness the parade (Photo 5).  The music for the parade was provided by the Singapore Police Band directly opposite the City Hall Padang.   After taking their eye salute march pass the City Hall, the contingents marched their way into the city streets.  The Singapore Infantry Regimen, The Uniform Groups, The Police Force (men & women), The Fire Brigade, schoolboys and schoolgirls, Workers' Brigade, Boys' Brigade and the Malay Contingent paraded with "Through Unity to Nationhood" Banner (Photo 6).  The floats that night were by the participation of Television Singapura, Chin Woo Athletics Association, Hokkien Huay Kuan etc.

Rounding up the evening parade was a long dragon dance support by live fire performers and the lion dancers from the Singapore White Crane Association ((S.P.H.D.A.A.) who later merged with the crowds into the night.

Photo 1:  1962 National Day Commemorative Stamps 4 cents & 10 cents.
Photo 2:  1963 National Day Commemorative Stamps 4 cents (HDB Flats)
Photo 3:  TV Camera Crews covering the NDP at the Padang.
Photo 4:  VIPs viewing the parade at the City Hall Grandstand.
Photo 5:  PM spoke at the First National Day Parade on 3 Jun 1963.
Photo 6: The Malay Contingent who took part in the march past.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Radio Orchestra on Caldecott Hill

 The Radio Orchestra (subsequently known as the RTS Orchestra and SBC Orchestra) must be the longest surviving support group on the Hill. It provided good music for more than 50 years for both a Radio and TV programmes. I remember them well as they appeared frequently to support our local singers. And also when we played the RTM/RTS games both in KL and Singapore, the Orchestra was  the team to appear in the exchange of cultural  shows hosted alternately by both stations.
Mun Chor Seng sent the article below to let us remember the Orchestra.

"The Radio Orchestra at it was known then was formed in 1945.  The string section was predominantly made up of the orchestra were filled by expatriate musicians.  In 1959, the Malayanairs was born, it produced music went out of the vogue.  More musicians and woodwind and brass instruments were added to provide a more versatile combination under the leader of the orchestra Mr. Dick Abel.  They provided recorded popular and classical music for transmission to all the section of Radio Singapore.  Some of the programmes featured then were:


b) RAYUN SUKMA, included mainly Malay and popular instrumental numbers for 15 to 30 minutes programmes for all the radio networks.  Three to six musicians were involved for the above programmes.

c) LATIN SIX, a programme that was mainly music from Latin America.

d) MUSICA VIVA, a classical programme mainly involved with Chamber Music, for violin, cello and piano.  During that time I heard over the English Network the complete work of Beethoven's Trio in B-Flat Major, "Archduke" Op. 97.  Such programmes were mainly broadcast over the weekend in the late evening.

e) THE MALAYANAIRS with augmentees where local Malay and Mandarin and Indian singers were involved in the 30 minutes programme recorded for the respective sections.

The Malayanairs, as the new orchestra was known, started with only 9 musicians.  It had to be augmented when the need arose to serve the four different radio networks which closed down at 11 pm nightly.

On 1 July 1960, commercial advertising was introduced on radio.  There was a higher demand for radio orchestra for sponsored programmes which brought in extra revenue and audience participation.  The radio orchestra was then lead by Mr. Gus Steyn who was performing in the Broadcasting House in Caldecott Hill as well as outside venues such as the Cultural Centre, Victoria Theatre, Singapore Badminton Hall and City Hall Steps etc.

In 1963 with the introduction of television, the same orchestra was known as the Radio & Television Singapore (RTS) Orchestra.  The musicians then were Mr. Gus Steyn (piano), Mr. Ahmad Jaafar (Saxophone), Mr. Valentine Otega (Baritone), Mr. Reynaldo Lanchica (1st Alto), Mr. Olimpio Galaura (Trumpet), Mr. Lano (Trombone), Mr. Winston Filmer (Double Bass) and Mr. Rofino Solinao (Drum).  In order to cope with the normal output for radio, it also had to bear the additional responsibility to provide additional music backing for the major live television shows.

On 19 Jan 1965, Gus Steyn gave his farewell performance as leader of the RTS Orchestra at a Chinese Variety show in Victoria Theatre.  At the end of the show, he was garlanded by members of the audience and gave a short speech.  Mr. Loo Koon Fun from the Chinese Programme Section presented a memento to Mr. Gus Steyn on behalf of the management of Radio Singapore.

In 1965, Mr. Ahmad Jaafar was the Deputy Director of Radio Orchestra.  He took over as leader in 1966 and as conductor of the orchestra from 1967 - 1982.  During that period, he established himself as a fine music arranger and composer for theme music for radio and TV productions.

When the station was converted into Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) in February 1980, the total number of musicians was increased to 31.  With those numbers, they could be divided to form two or three groups of smaller orchestras to meet the needs of the rapid bookings of the radio and television services of SBC.  Should the need arise, these musicians could be pooled together to perform as a concert orchestra.

In 1980, SBC played host to the visiting Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) Orchestra which performed successfully in Singapore.  In April 1981, the RTS Orchsestra paid a reciprocal performance in Angkasapuri in Kuala Lumpur under the title of "Puspasara" featuring the full RTS Orchestra in Concert.  According to the "Puspasara" programme, which was distributed to the audiences then, there were 31 musicians featured.  It was divided into 4 different sections, strings, brass, woodwinds and rhythm & percussion.  The SBC Orchestra then featured the following musicians: Strings: (1st Violins) - Wong Eit Sun, Braulio Bacsafra Jr, Chow Kum Leng & Quek Peng Hoon, (2nd Violin) Adams Lin Jui Fang, Yeo Teow Meng, Leslie Lim Wave Houng & Tan Kok Hwa, (Viola) - Julai Tan & Ng Boon Eng, (Cello) - Tham Chaik Kong & Patricia Wei. Brass: (1st Trumpet) - Jimmy Fong Pak Lee, (2nd Trumpet) Olimpio Galaura, (3rd Trumpet) Lit Woon Cheong, (1st Trombone) - David Chen Chao Hor, (2nd Trombone) - Tonni Wei Shi Ren, (3rd Trombone) - Louis Castillo.  Woodwinds: (1st Alto) Reynaldo Lachica, (2nd Alto) Celso Lachica, (1st Tenor) - John Lee Boon Eng, (2nd Tenor) -  Leonard St John Fernandez, (Baritone) - Valetine Ortega. Piano & Synthesizer -  (Organ) - Terrence Cyril de Souza.  (Guitar) - Danny Lim Ai Koon, (Drums) - Louis Soliano, Piano & Synthesizer -  Charles Godfrey Lazaroo, (Bass Guitar) -  Winston Malvern Filmer, (Percussion) - Tan Chin Boo. (Leader & Conductor) -  Ahmad Jaafar & (Deputy Leader) - Rufino Varella Soliano. The stage production was by Mr. Vernon Palmer and the stage management by Mr. Steven Lee with Miss Mini Fok Wei Ya as the compere. Orchestrations by: Ahmad Jaafar, Iskandar Ismail, Charles Lazaroo, John Lee & Sam Gan.

Mr. Ahmad Jaafar was honoured with the Pingat Pentadbiran Awan (The Public Administration Medal) award in 1969 and the Cultural Medallion in 1981 for his contribution to music to Singapore.  He retired in 1982 and passed away in 2009.

Rufino Soliano took over the leadership of the orchestra from 1983 till he retired in 1994.

In Jan 1987, Christopher Dainel, a graduate of Boston's Berklee College of Music was appointed as the new Director of the Orchestra.  By the early 1990s, the Radio Singapore Orchestra was disbanded.

Listed below are the photographs taken by me over the years where the Radio Singapore Orchestra took part in the following events:

Photo 1:  Inche Yusof Ishak, the Yang di-Pertuan of Singapore together with Mr. S. Rajarathnam (Minister of Culture) and Mr. John Duclos (Director of Broadcasting) met Mr. Gus Steyn and Radio Singapore Orchestra members  in the Radio Auditorium.

Photo 2: Launching of the Suara Singapura service of Radio Singapore by Inche Yusof Ishak, the Yang de-Pertuan of Singapore with the finale item of the programme on stage.

Photo 3: A sponsored radio programme held at the Singapore Badminton Hall.

Photo 4: A sponsored "Tiger Oil" Chinese radio programme held at the Cultural Centre (Fort Canning).

Photo 5: Group photo of Mr. Gus Steyn (left) with fellow musicians taken in Radio Auditorium of Broadcasting House.

Photo 6: Chinese TV Variety Programme featuring Miss S.K. Poon at the new TV Singapura Studio.

Photo 7: The Radio Orchestra took part in the TV inauguration celebrations at Caldecott Hill.

Photo 8: After the National Day Parade, the Radio Orchestra took part in the multi-cultural variety show at the City Hall Steps.

Photo 9: The National competition of the Asia Broadcasting Union (ABU) Popular Song Contest at Studio 5 of TV Singapore.

Photo 10: RTM/SBC joined production of TV variety programme which took place at Angkasapuri, KL, Malaysia. "