Friday, December 18, 2009

Who is the first pay TV operator in Singapore?

Who is the first pay TV operator in Singapore?

No, it is not the present Starhub Cablevision(SCV). The first pay TV operator is the then SBC (now MediaCorp). In 1992 SBC ran three subscription TV channels on the UHF band. An engineer from SBC Chang Long Kiat was the first CEO. It operated through a company known as Singapore CableVision(SCV) owned by SBC. The three channels were Newsvision, MovieVision and VarietyVision. Newsvision was a mainly CNN channel with local news and news from UK. MovieVision contained movies from HBO and VarietyVision featured mainly Chinese drama, movies, documentaries from HK, Taiwan and Japan. A TV antenna and a SCV set-top were required and bundled into the services if a viewer paid for all three channels. The rational from offering this service was the need to offer more channels for Singaporeans and expatriates in view of the clamouring for direct satellite services and demand for information. The urgency was triggered by comments that the Gulf war was imminent when viewers saw the grim face of President Bush whilst walking out of a crucial meeting. Millions over the world where CNN was available especially businessmen watched this news clip and made their business decisions accordingly.
SBC took on the challenge to start the first pay TV service in Singapore..and with a view to also operate a cable network. I together two other officials were sent to US to study cable TV operations. Singtel and SBC undertook feasibility study calling for consultants to make proposals. More than five international consultants responded. Eventually Continental CableVision USA was selectd. Engineers from Singtel and SBC assisted in the design of the hybrid-coaxial network which remained in use to this day. When the cable licence was issued in 1995, SPH . ST Ventures, Continental Vision and SIM (which was then a holding company for a restructured SBC) owned SBC. The operations of Singapore CableVision was passed over to engineers mainly from the ST Group together with the running of the three UHF subscription services. In 1998 Starhub Pte the second telecoms operator was formed and 2002 Starhub merged with SCV. SCV then was renamed Starhub Cable Vision (SCV). Randall Coleman from Continental Vision USA was the first CEO and Khaw Boon Wan chairman of SCV.
Continental Vision divested its shares later on to the other shareholders… and the new owners were SPH 26.7%, MediaCorp 41.3% and ST Telecom 32%. (this position has changed over the years)
SCV now carries all the free- to- air channels on analogue and digital cable. For the digital services, a SCV set top box is required to receive MediaCorp channels.
It had been a good experience for me to be involved in this project in the early days ie from the technology perspective. There were high hopes then that engineers from MediaCorp would operate the cable network. But this was not to be. It is one of the disappointments of my career....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

If Trees Could Talk......

If Trees Could Talk….…memories wll come alive. And the stories they tell we'll know our heritage better.

I can imagine what stories the trees on Caldecott Hill tell if they could talk. Here is some interesting information on some trees ( with a quiz)

We are a cluster of old trees near the former street scene and next to the old canteen and broadcasting house. I think one of us is at least 75 years old when Radio started and the others are probably 10 years younger. Many had come by us to the canteen and many drama artistes enjoyed the shades during filming at the old street scenes. Perhaps you can see me in some of the archive pictures of old broadcasting house during the launch of television services when an OB van was parked next to us..or archive recordings of the fire that destroyed the record library a few meters away from us. Thank goodness we are still alive! You can find our kind at many places on the island as we are in the class of the heritage trees in Singapore. I think we will make it to the top 10 in Nparks campaign on the Top Ten Trees in Singapore.

We were planted during the 80s when RTS rolled over to SBC. The Management decided to upgrade the slope with greenery including a nursery nearby. I don’t think many people notice us as we are not shady. We are just there to soften the hard environment between OBH and the new radio and TV building. Staff come and go at the entrance nearby. It is also the exit and entrance for busloads of our artises and extras that go out for filming. We notice those beautiful people (Zoe , Fann , Eileen, Wenyong) in beautiful costumes that walk pass us daily after their make-up at the OBH.

I was rooted when the first satellite dish was built..which brought live news to our news bulletin on channel 5 and 8 then. And I am situated near the TV building entrance where VIP alights on their way to the TV studios. The land which I stand now was vacant land during the time when Lee Kuan Yew opened the black and white TV service in a ceremony at the entrance of the TV building. Now the place is clusterd with a number of different species of trees. It is a place where producers will do their outdoor shooting when time is short. Many can be found near the entrance of the Singapore Botanic Garden

Perhaps the biggest pride of Caldecott Hill is the beautiful entrance to the TV reception. I mean all of us line up in straight line and look majestic and tall with the MediaCorp signage next to it. It is nice to hear that we give out fresh air for the humans and beautify the compound. The whole concept of this scenic entrance is work of the ExCo chaired by the then boss Cheng Tong Fatt. It is said that Albert Hong contributed the idea of us being installed there to look nice and beautiful for the visitors . But we not sure that we were there because of complaints by the neighbours that the TV building did not gel with the high-class bungalows nearby.

I am part of a landscaping done in 1985 or so next to the Management Carpark. There are about 10 different types of plants in this location I guess you can say I am the most outstanding there. The CEO’s car (Cheok Yew, Hup Seng, Ernest Wong and now Lucas) would inevitably glance at me on their way to their office.

We can be seen on this short clip at video. Please watch this clip and send the names of 10 trees on this video to The first email that has the answers will get a prize.

For info, Nparks has launched the know 10 trees of Singapore movement. Please click here for details.

If Trees Could Talk.....

Monday, November 2, 2009

i love lucy

I Love Lucy debuted on CBS in October 1951 and was an immediate sensation. It spent four of its six prime-time seasons as the highest-rated series on television and never finished lower than third place. Eisenhower's presidential inauguration in January 1953 drew twenty-nine million viewers, but when Lucy gave birth to Little Ricky in an episode broadcast the next day forty-four million viewers (72% of all U.S. homes with TV) tuned in to I Love Lucy. When it ceased production as a weekly series in 1957, I Love Lucy was still the number one series in the country. And its remarkable popularity has barely waned in the subsequent decades. Since passing into the electronic museum of reruns, I Love Lucy has become the Mona Lisa of television, a work of art whose fame transcends its origins and its medium."

The above is gleaned from the web. I Love Lucy an American television sitcom, starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley was my favourite comedy TV show during the late sixties and seventies when the re-runs were shown on TV Singapore in B & W. Lucy never failed to make me laugh. I watched it on a 27 inch Setron set . Setron was a local TV set manufacturer located at Tanglin Halt industrial estate.

And what were the other acquired shows I tuned in those days? I remember All in the Family, Bonanza, 77 Sunset Strip, the Lone Ranger, Hawaii 5-0 and many more. In the early 80s I remember Dallas, Magnum and Charlie Angels, MASH, The Incredible Hulk...... I loved to watch TV after my school home work ,of course.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dawn of Chinese Dramas

In my view 1 Feb 1980 was the turning point for local productions especially Chinese Dramas. On this day RTS became a statutory board Singapore Broadcasting Corporation. The late Ong Teng Cheong was appointed Chairman Cheng Tong Fatt General Manager and the late Wong-Lee Siok Tin the Deputy General Mnager. According to Chairman Ong “ Western values and standards alien to our society are being introduced all the time. We must therefore produce our own programmes with standards and values suited to our society.” With this direction local entertainment productions increased and the Chinese Drama Production Division was set-up. It was not easy for our locals to meet the challenges of this venture. Production experts from Hongkong were recruited and on-the-job training started. The first drama produced with the HK producers was a film titled the Seletar Robbery – a true story about three men robbing a construction site. This was followed by the Army series in 6 parts telecast in March 83. Viewership climbed steadily. And the best series I ever watched was the 26-episode The Awakening – the story about Singapore immigrants from the 1920s. I could identify it with my father’s early days when he came to Singapore in a tongkang from Swatow. Then came Flying Fish a 8-part series on swimmers. After that there were many more successful ones. Please refer to Wikipedia for a full list.
I remember some of the incidents that happened during early stage of Chinese drama productions. I was the engineer-in charge of TV Studios and Outside Broadcasts. There were incessant complaints from the HK experts that our locals were not creative, our talents were dumb-dumb for example. In one of the post mortem on Seletar Robbery the producer pointed out the actor just took the money under his arms and ran and his facial expression did not appear that he has robbed someone. In another incident, a bird in a cage used as an extra flew out and could not be retrieved. The producer had to change the script to a cat instead. In another incident in TV Studio 4 the producer banged the production panel and shouted to an actress (she is with us till this day) “Cry , Cry damned it cry..” No tears came out. There were many retakes. After the recording the actress went behind a backdrop and cried this time for real! And there was this diligent HK producer who could not work without smoking in the TV Studio...........

Please email me if have any interesting memories of the early days of Chinese drama productions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Seah Hong Gim and F1

Seah Hong Gim ,a TV lighting expert in this region , helped to light more buildings along the F1 route again. This year STB asked him to light up three more buildings. The new areas included the Pit, Sheares Bridge, and the Merlion area. According to him the lights used this year doubled to 3,000. This would give the buildings greater contrast, a 3-dimensional effects and with an overall night-glow. With this the whole City skyline gave an impressive sparkle to the whole event.

Hong Gim worked for MediaCorp for more than 30 years. He was responsible for lighting up some of spectacular outdoor shows. And most memorable must be the 1986 NDP when for the first time the night entertainment displays segment was introduced. It remains a hallmark of NDP shows till this day. He is now a free-lance lighting consultant after his retirement. For F1 he worked through Showtec the show contractor.
At 65 Hong Gim is till active in work and enjoying his passion for TV lighting. He gives lectures frequently to TV production people in the region.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union

The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union(ABU) is a non-profit, non-government, professional association of broadcasting organisations, formed in 1964 to facilitate the development of broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region. it provides a forum for promoting the collective interests of television and radio broadcasters, and engages in activities to encourage regional and international cooperation between broadcasters. It currently has 199 members in 58 countries, with its broadcaster members reaching a cpotential audience of about 3 billion people.

I have been associated with the ABU for more than 30 years, having attending its technical meetings and contributed to its deliberations. It is a platform where one makes the contacts for business and career. Over the years I met many broadcasters from all over the world. It was through these contacts I could contribute more to the growth of my company in knowledge and skills of new broadcast developments. Many producers and management attended ABU meetings as well.
It was with great pride and honour that I received the award of the ABU Engineering Industry Excellence this year at the annual meeting in Ulaan Baatar Mongolia. It is for my work in introducing digital television in Singapore and promoting common digital TV standards in the ASEAN region. I am especially pleased to share this honour with engineers from the MDA , MediaCorp and RTB Brunei who are part of a team to promote common digital television standards in the region.

(Photo shows the ABU General Meeting in Singapore( in the early sixties. By courtesy of National Archives)

Friday, September 18, 2009

i remember Ian Hope

I joined the Department of Broadcasting in 1958 as a BroadcastingAssistant and worked closely with all radio producers from the fourdifferent sections including Mr. Ian Hope. He was then a radioproducer for the English Programme Section. He produced mainly talkshows, eg. Radio Forums on current topics, Youth Programme "Youth AtThe Helm" and he also read the news. Over the years, we got alongvery well. I understand from him that in 1954 he was a EnglishLiterature teacher at Bartley Secondary School. In 1956, he joinedthe Broadcasting Service, organised as "Radio Malaya, Singapore andthe Federation of Malaya" headquarters in Singapore. When TV wasintroduced in 1963, there was the News and Newsreel Programme. Theannouncer who read the News would appear on TV while the Newsreelannouncer would be seen off screen.I attached the following photographs which I took of Mr. Hope beforehe left for Australia in 1973.Caption for Photo No 1 taken on 23 November 1961Mr Hope and his 4 children taken at the Mount Emily Swimming Pool inSophia Road.Photo No 2 taken on 7 November 1962Mr. Hope chaired the programme "Youth At The Helm" in "B" Studio Radio Malaya.Photo No 3 taken on 26 March 1963.Mr. Hope and Mr. David Prior from Australia during a last minuteinclusion for the Newsreel portion at the TV studio.

Regards Mun Chor Seng

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In Memoriam - Ian Hope

In Memoriam - Ian Hope

Ian Hope, a former broadcaster, passed away in Melbourne on 2 Sept 09 at the age of 87. His body was cremated on 9th Sept.Ian was born on 6 March 1922. He retired from RTS in 1972 at the age of 50.He was a producer on radio on the English channel and did many programmes. When TV came on, he also read the news on TV.Maureen, Lucy and others fond memories of him

Above is a photograph of him and his wife Anita taken in his home in 2003 with Simplicius Cheong and his wife. (Simplicius was also a producer during RTS days doing mainly classical and jazz msuic recordings. Simplicius emigrated to Australia, I think also in the 70's).

Above info contributed by Norman

Sad to hear about Ian's passing.When I first joined Radio - RTS in 1968, he was like a mentor to me. He taught me how to read news and share market report. He was a good trainer, with patience and persistency, and I learned a lot from him as a broadcaster. He left RTS in 1973 and not 1972, I think. -Belinda Sunshine

Thanks for the news on the passing of our old colleague IAN HOPE. I remember him well - ever prim and proper and always helpful and willing to help out anyone in need. I recall the many moments when Stephen Lee and I shared long discussions with Ian in the old Canteen at Radio Singapore, sometimes over a few bottles of Tiger Beer.
May he rest in peace - George Favacho

Thursday, August 27, 2009

MRT in Singapore - The First Dig....

MRT in Singapore – The First Dig….

Do you know the place where the first hole was dug to start the MRT project? Answer: It is at a site in Shan Road (off Balestier Road).. I know because I was there with the Outside Broadcast team to cover the ground-breaking ceremony on 22 October 1983. It flagged off Singapore's largest single largest construction project with a capital outlay of $5,000million.
The event was opened by a Member of Parliament.. And there was a Shinto ceremony followed by some wine drinking, a lion dance and more celebrations. Apparently the company doing this construction midway between the Toa Payoh and Novena Station, believed in the blessings that such ceremony would bring. Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit system has now more 7o stations running through densely-populated housing estates of the island. A world-class system it is still expanding its services to other parts of Singapore.......

Friday, August 14, 2009

The MacRitchie Reservoir

The MacRitchie Reservoir has a special place in the hearts of those working on Caldecott Hill. Especially me. In my forty over years there Reservoir is still a pleasant retreat from the hectic pace of show business and broadcasting. Surrounded by lush greenery the 12-hectare park around the reservoir contains areas of primary rain forest and wildlife. Many staff of the company jog , exercise or take brisk walks weekly in the shaded tracks and use the exercise stations. Of and on I see some including myself do a bit of kayaking.( It costs $15 per hour to rent a kayak) From middle of the water whilst canoeing you can catch a scenic view of the top of the Radio Building and Satellite dishes on Caldecott Hill.
It is said there are three dragons living on the hills of Singapore. One of these resides on top of Caldecott Hill which is endowed with metal, wood and earth elements. It has chosen this place for its good feng shui and also plenty supply of water and from time to time will descend on the Reservoir to have his fill.
Mediacorp thrives on the Hill. It progresses from a government entity to what it is today. Knowing the value of this catchment area to the company and as a responsible corporate citizen Mr Lucas Chow signed an MOU with PUB and the National Parks to promote activities to conserve to enhance the enjoyment of the beautiful environment of the MacRitchie Reservoir.

a bit of history
MacRitchie Reservoir, located off Lornie Road and completed in the late 1860s, was the first water supply system implemented in Singapore. The Impounding Reservoir, as it was then called, came about through the donation of S$13,000 by philanthropist Tan Kim Seng in 1857. The reservoir was renamed Thomson Road Reservoir in 1907 and its name was changed again to MacRitchie Reservoir in 1922 after James MacRitchie, who was the Municipal Engineer of Singapore from 1883 to 1895.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Telecentre

The Telecentre at 1 Hillcrest Road
The Telecentre in the 70s was the training school for the
Telecoms Department (known as the Telecommunications Authority of Singapore,TAS
the Singapore Telephone Board, STB and Radio and Television of Singapore RTS
It was set up with assistance of the ITU. I remembered the training
centre well because I was there for about five years training RTS engineering staff for the roll-out of colour television. I enjoyed working there. One reason was that it was also the location of Telerec- the recreation wing of TAS and STB. Where else do you get a work place
with a swimming pool, table-tennis,badminton and tennis courts? Staff and trainees
always looked forward to the end of day where they could cool off in the swimming pools etc. And we had wonderful people there like Ng Siow Fan, Low Sin Leng, John Tan, Lim Shoiw Shiaw ,John Tan and Ching Koo Leng. We had two experts from the BBC Alan Bermingham and John Kirkus who came with their families- the most warm and friendly people I ever met on earth! And not forgetting other ITU experts from all over the world training the Line Plant, Switching and Transmission staff.
The Broadcast Wing as it was called ran about twenty courses
ranging from Lighting Techniques for TV to 8080 microprocessor programming. Besides
RTS staff, trainees came from other companies like the MOE,EDB and NPB. RTB Brunei
regularly sent their staff here as well.
The picture above showed the old building . In the 80s a twin building was built and the centre was known as the Singtel Academy. RTS moved out later ...and Singtel as well after they sold the place to MCL a property developer. The buildings were demolished and made way for more than 150 terrace houses selling for about 850 per sq.ft.
Now the training of MediaCorp staff and other external trainees on media is undertaken by the Singapore Media Academy a subsidiary of MediaCorp.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life." -Chinese Proverb

The above pictures are by courtesy of Singtel and John Tan

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wish Singapore a Happy Birthday

Every year 9th August brings back good memories...memories of the National Day Parade..which I supported for more than 30 years since the 60s a private soldier of the PDF marching pass the President, a TV sound operator fixing microphones on the Padang to chairing the NDP Technical Committee. Every year this time gives me a sense of joy and achievement...and every year on 9th August my heart is with the many in front and behind the TV cameras. Here is wishing them and the Chairman a successful and Happy National Day!

For more info:

Dont forget to watch this video "The Unsung Heroes" at

Monday, July 27, 2009

Long Service Awards 2009

On 23 July the CEO Mr Lucas Chow presented long-service awards to about 240 staff of MediaCorp. These staff had worked between 5- 40 years. Most are surprised
the company still dish out this award in view of the financial crisis. Staff I spoke to
to indicated… their families are very happy that MediaCorp recognises loyalty and
dedication. I received the 40-year award last year. I fully understand
how they feel. According to research long-service awards remain one of the
benefits of staff in an organisation which treasures human capital.
I had the opportunities to talk to three recipients all whom I know over the years. Ang Wah Lai, Asaad Sameer and Yeo Kim Pow . I asked them two questions

Can you let me know why stay so long in the company and what are your two memorable events in the company?. Here are their interesting replies.

Wah Lai: "Over the years there are many memorable events.Too many to remember all, but I would like mention these two.During an interview with the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew for the 25th Anniversary of the British Commonwealth I recommended that I record him with a handheld boom to make him stand out from the rest of the Head of states as all of them had a table microphone. May Lin was the Producer and she was not sure that PM can buy the idea. To everyones surprise he just say “That’s different”. The recording came out well and the next thing that surprise us was that he had a photo taken with us.The other I would like to mention is a trip to Oman where we went in a Military Helicopter to the Yemani border to take a look at the war zone from the Omani side.
As to how I stay so long. Our organization is an interesting place to work in as long as we put aside office politicking.In many areas the bosses themselves are also caught up in it. We must inculcate into our staff that such behavior will not be condoned. The organization can then excel as all energies are spend on excellence.I think that this is the principle that brought me this far."

Asaad Sameer: "The single most important reason for my long stay with this company is the people I work with. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working with very wonderful people from colleagues, peers, subordinates and bosses. There was never a time when I dreaded going to work or entertained the thought of looking for another job elsewhere. I have fond memories of past colleagues in Engineering like Joseph Ng, Koh Hock Seng, Jimmy De Silva, Lee Yew Kwan, Wong Yew Wah, Ong Kim Bok, Tan Cheng Kee, Leong Ngai Weng, Chang Long Kiat, Lee Soo Wah and Ujagar Singh; to name a few. The 2 Engineering Directors I worked under then, Sebastian Tan and Lam Lychow treated me just like a friend!
My posting to Radio to head the Engineering Division there in 1993 was very memorable. There were many accomplishments during my 14 years there, notable among them were the digitalization of Radio’s operations, launch of DAB and setting-up of a fully automated & unmanned digital MCR. Another proud accomplishment was when I set-up the Technology Business Development Unit in 2001 with the objective of generating new revenue streams from the Internet platform and other technology-related services. This has paved the way for the introduction of many more commercial applications and services on New Media platforms in MediaCorp. "

Kim Pow: "There is no one identifiable factor to explain why I stay so long in MediaCorp. I even wonder whether it is possible to give a satisfactory compact answer as there are both push and pull factors involved along the way and these changes constantly. But if I have to give a short answer, it would be that MediaCorp has managed to meet both my minimal material and intellectual needs throughout the last 30 years except on a few occasions (one of which was when I decided to take study leave to get a Masters in Australia in early 1990). The salary can only be described as decent if one chooses to live a modest lifestyle. At times, the work environment and people issues reaches “toxic” level and work demands can only met at the expense of long term physical and mental wellbeing. However, with the cooperation and support of colleagues/bosses, the frequently under-appreciated understanding of family members and the feeling of satisfaction and achievement from the successful completion of yet another important assignment, one makes quick magical recovery in body, mind and soul from these episodes, hopefully with little long-term ill-effects. I guess when the works are always urgent and constantly need immediate attention, the passage of time went unnoticed and it is rather difficult to account for the years that had gone by. For me, one great attraction is that the work challenges are always intellectually stimulating. Although, I have not changed the company I serve, I have had the opportunity to do a variety of assignments both within the Engineering division ….. spanning the whole breadth of the field of Broadcast Engineering from RF transmission, teletext (analog data broadcasting), building development projects, news computerization, TV signal digitilisation (both baseband and transmission), DVB service planning and lastly introduction of IT-based systems and file-based work-flows, and outside of Engineering as the technical lead of our ill-fated Chinese Satellite Channel (5 years of exposure to a foreign TV environment) and Chinese88 internal portal (2 years of mastering an entirely new field) enterprises. I am thankful for being given so many mind-expanding and experiential opportunities to be involved at a deep level with all the major technological developments that took place in the broadcasting industry.

Perhaps, at the subconscious level, the reason of staying so long is that I joined the broadcasting industry just it entered its most glorious phase. However, sadly, as foretold by doom prophets, left, right and center, the inexorable decline of the broadcasting industry as we knows looks inevitable and imminent. I can therefore tell the world, that I have ascended and declined with a great industry, witnessed its glorious periods and harnessed its many myriad brilliant technical breakthroughs and interacted with the best engineering brains and practitioners. Come to think of it, it is a great way to spend one’s professional life."

Recipients who wish to say something about this occasion please email to me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Remember the WTO event in Singapore

Remember the WTO event in Singapore
One of the most memorable days of my career at Caldecott Hill is in Dec 1996. The company the then TCS gave support to the WTO event at the Suntec City where the conferences were held and a big show "ONE" at Sentosa.

The World Trade Organisation(WTO) Ministerial Conference hosted by Singapore drew about 4,000 delegates from more than 120 countries. This prestigious international event held from 9-13 December 1996 paved the way to greater economic co-operation and understanding among the participating nations. As host nation, Singapore rose to the occasion and achieved tremendous in the staging of this major event.

Besides the big effort put in by the crews of radio and Television , the mega show at Sentosa also stretched our resources to the limit. The show "ONE" captures the guiding spirit of the WTO one world of many nations, one mission of working together, one show of diverse cultures. This heartwarming and moving show is produced by Kenneth Liang and his team of Lim Puay Kim and Steven Ong. From the company the big event was co-ordinated by Niam Chiang Meng with capable engineers Loh Siu Yin and John Tan . The Outside Broadcast Crew included Seah Hong Gim,Ong Kim Bok, Yew Tian Hock etc. The CEO was Lee Cheok Yew.

I was pleased with the outcome of the technical support for the whole event. I enjoyed "ONE" as well. My favourite was Sarah Brightman singing Music of the Night.

You can view a video of her at

Info above also contributed by John Tan. Email me if you have more to say and memories of the event.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

the first kiss

Do you remember the first kiss on local Chinese drama??

Chinese drama productions in the company started when it rolled over to a statutory board –the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation. The first was Seletar Robbery broadcast in July 1982 followed by the Army Series. Both were popular with the locals. But one of the common complaints at that time was that the dramas were ‘clean’ and not so realistic. Unlike the shows on US television and Hongkong. For example there was no kissing scenes. The producers were concerned that SBC's government regulator might not like it. And so this feedback was noted and with more Hongkong producers recruited..what the heck if there was no kissing Singapore's local drama would never compete with Hollywood and Hongkong! Eventually the first kissing came about in one of the series on channel 8. (Can anyone reading answer this .. who were the actor/actress in the first kissing scene of our local drama and the title of the drama series? The first correct answer will receive a prize from the blog administrator. You can email or use the comments link)
The newspapers went to town when the first kiss by our local artists was telecast on channel 8 in the 80s.
And for info the first kiss in US was recorded in 1896 on motion picture in a film by Thomas Edison. It was between John C. Rice and actress May Irwin (please watch
And the first inter-racial kiss on US television was in the Star Trek series episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” first aired in Nov 1968.....
Please email information on your favouriste kisses on foreign and local television, maybe from your personal experience as well . email:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the Golden Reunion

Remember the Golden Reunion at the Indoor Stadium

I found this CD in my library last week. It is titled the
Golden Reunion – a channel 5 presentation of the unforgettable gathering of local pop icons of the 60s and 70s produced by Ken Lim of H Hype Records.
When I was part of the TV studio crew in the late 60s I enjoyed their presence in television studio one and four almost every week. They came for the variety shows which in those days had magicians, jugglers , singers and magicians all in one night of
great entertainment fun. The popular ones I could remember were Sakura, Rita Chao, the Tidbits, the Quests, Anita Sarawak and the Crescendos. And of course I could remember the booming voices of the comperes in the likes of Larry Lai and Tan Hock Lye.

About the event Ken Lim Director of Hype Records had this to say:

On 9 Dec 1994, a local pop icons of the 60s and 70s performed before thousands at the Singapore Indoor Stadium to commemorate the first successful season of Television Corporation of Singapore’s musical nostalgia programme Rollin’ Good Times. These
pop icons were flown back from all over the world . Anita Sarawak from Las Vegas,
Anneke Gronloh from Amsterdam, Sakura Teng from New York, Veronica Young from France and the Blue Diamonds from Holland. After more than 2 decades for some, they performed in this historic concert in Singapore with other unforgetables- Rahim “Nat King Cole”Hamid, Julie Sudiro, The Quests, Ann Hussein, Zul, Mel & Joe Ferdinands
And Masquerades. The concert was hosted by popular singers, Douglas Oliveiro and Jessica and television host Loretta Alabbons. The evening included the winners of the talent quests in Rollin’ Good Times backed by the TCS Orchestra. It was a golden reunion of stars, memories of whom have never been forgotten”.

Share your memories of work and fun on Caldecott Hill. Email to

"Memories are not only for the rich and famous"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

we remember the Film Processing Laboratory

-we remember the Film Processing Laboratory
When we started the first TV channel portable video cameras and video cassettes were at its infancy. News footages were shot on film and rushed to a film processing laboratory outside RTS for processing. Because of transport and processing delay getting news out on time was always a problem.. To improve the immediacy of news for the channel we had the first black film processing on Caldecott Hill. Mr Benjamin Cunha deputy chief engineer was asked to head the Film Processing Lab. He had this to say in one of the TV interviews when asked what were the teeching problems in the new unit:
“None of us had any training or experience in film processing when we started. We had the services of a BBC Film expert to help us along the way. We had problems of getting the right balance of chemicals for the processing. And we experienced during a period scratches on the film from the early processor. With time we managed to get the Film Laboratory running well and infact not only we were servicing news, current and affairs we were accepting jobs from outside RTS ”
Miss Jumiah Karim who started work in the Lab in 1975 and spent thirteen years remembers the heydays of the work in film processing laboratory. Camera and Producers would queue and wait for the films to be processed, then edited to ready for newsreels on the same night. Speed was the essence and later years when viewers were more appreciative of quality film scratches and other related defects had to be removed and edited quickly for transmission . When Electronic News Equipment became possible, the pressure on time was reduced somewhat. And in 80s the Fim Lab was made obsolete by the profileration of portable cameras and video cassettes (Jumiah now works as a Senirl Library Executive at MediaCorp.
Mr Mun Chor Seng Senior Cameraman during the period had this to say.
“On 15 February 1963, the inauguration of TELEVISION SINGAPORE with apilot monochrome service was launched on one channel. The Camera &Sound provided the filming needs for News and General Section. Thefilm used was 16mm monochrome Reversal Film and the processing wasprovided by Cinecraft at De Sousa Avenue, next to the Bukit BatokBoys' Hostel. The processing time for 100ft of filming took about 45minutes to complete. We needed at least 3 hours from the start offilming then the completion of film processing and editing before thefinished footage can be aired on the News Programme. Whatever footagethat could not make it for transmission in the News Programme will beused as soon as possible in the next News Programme as Newsreels.By 1968, Cathay Kris in East Coast Road, took over the processing ofmonochrome for Reversal and Negative films. In addition, they alsoprovided the prints from these Negative film.We set up our own Colour Film Processing Lab in 1974 for Kodak 7242Colour Reversal Film and later included the Kodak 7239 Colour NegativeFilm.The entire Chinese Drama for the Army Series was shot with Kodak 7242Reversal Film. It was transmitted on 4 March 1983."
Francis Chowdurie Senior Film Editor was one of those who loved film and was sad to see it go.He said:” Although film is slower than videotape, the new media did not do justice to actors and actresses. It made then 10 years older. Of course the advantage of video is you can see the results of your shoot almost immediately”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fire on Caldecott Hill

In Feb this year while holidaying in Harbin, China I got news that part of CCTV
new building in Beijing caught fire. It reminded me of vulnerabilitis of a television station to fire hazards.
I then remembered there were three major fires at Caldecott Hill over the years. The first was in August 1965 . It happened in the main TV Studio at Old Broadcasting House (this was the studio which PM Lee Kuan Yew held his press conference seven days earlier to announce break-away from Malaysia). Studio lights, cameras and accessories were destroyed . Fortunately back end equipment such as film projectors, telecine and programmes on films were intact. Emergency transmission was carried on at the Bukit Batok transmitting station. About quarter of million of dollars of equipment were destroyed. It remained a mystery how the blaze got started and it was a coincidence that the tv production that night was a campfire by boy scouts.
Less than a year later a new TV Complex was opened with four TV Studios. New regulations were introduced on the use of nake fire in TV studios production.
Till this day no fire happen again in television studios.
The second major fire occurred in the record library where vinyl discs were kept for radio programmes. A big a chunk of the record library was destroyed.

And on 25 Dec 2002 fire destroyed the street scene used for Chines drama productions at OBH. Fortunately in all the fires no life was lost.

Friday, May 22, 2009

What is Ee Boon Lee up to?

Ee Boon Lee was Senior Controller of News when he left broadcasting in 1981 to go back to print journalism. He became the news editor of the Singapore Monitor. After the newspaper folded-up in 1985, he took on the job as editor of NTUC News. Concurrently, he was editor of Petir, the PAP publication.

Retirement 2000 allows him more time for jogging, swimming and dancing. From time to time, he has get-togethers with his former colleagues in the print media and broadcasting. He also finds time to do some writing and editing.

When Boon Lee was in broadcasting, I didn't have a chance to work closely with him except for some short spells in the Television Studio Three where the daily news bulletins were produced. When he was with NTUC, I had occasion to meet him during some of the major events of trade unions.

I know Boon Lee to be a warm and very jovial person. He cracks jokes like crazy . It is very comfortable to talk to him.

Recently he became an actor in a two—part documentary which aired on 3 and 5 June 2009 9.30pm. The programme is to commemorate Singapore’s attainment of self-government 50 years ago. Together with the granddaughter of the late Mr EW Barker and grandson of Dr Goh Keng Swee he turned storyteller on Channel News Asia’s "A State of Mine" , This documentary takes viewers through Singapore’s journey from self—government to independence.
(Above picture shows Boon Lee being interviewed by ChannelNewsAsia 3 June 2009 on his part in A State of Mine)

email me at to tell your story about life on Caldecott Hill when you were young.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My Big Bosses at MediaCorp

My Big Bosses at MediaCorp

In the 42 years that I have worked at CBC Caldecott Hill I have seen 7 bosses (Director, GM, CEO etc) and 11 chairmen /deputy chairmen served the Broadcasting company known by viz Dept of Broadcasting, Radio and TV Singapore (Ministry of Culture), Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, Singapore International Media (of which Television Corporation of Singapore was the flagship company) and MediaCorp. Before the 60s two caucasians ran the radio broadcasting station. I didn’t get to know them. In fact I never got to know most of the chairmen and heads until the later part of my career. When I was interviewed during one of my retirement parties I was asked my perception of some of them. Obviously I remember some of them better than others ..and certainly will make some comments about them on this blog (sorry no juicy stories here) after some reflections.
Here is a list the bosses at Mediacorp since the 60s.

Director of Broadcasting, General Manager, CEO
Eary 60s – P S Raman
60 -80s - Wong-Lee Siok Tin
80s - Wong-Lee Siok Tin (retired in 1991)
90s - Moses Lee
2000s - Lee Cheok Yew (appt CEO TCS 1 Oct 1994)
- Lim Hup Seng (appt CEO SIM and TV12 15 May 1997)
- Ernest Wong(appt GrpCEO MediaCorp 1 Oct 2000)
- Lucas Chow (appt GrpCEO MediaCorp 1 Dec 2005)(current CEO)

Chairman and Deputy Chairman
- Ong Teng Cheong (appt 11 Feb 1980)
- Wee Mon Cheng
- Wee Kim Wee
- Yong Pung How (appt 1 Dec 1985)
- Cheong Choong Kong (appt 1 Oct 1994)
- Moses Lee (appt DyC 1 Oct 1994)
- Cheng Tong Fatt (appt GM SBC 1 Feb 1980 and later Dy Chairman)
- Goh Kim Leong
-Cheng Wai Keung (appt 1 Apr 1999)
- Kwa Chong Seng ( appt 2 Oct 1995 SIM and again in 1 Apr 2002 MediaCorp)
- Ho Kwon Ping (appt 30 July 2005)(current Chairman)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

i remember the Quests

The Quest was a pop band popular during the 60s and I believe one of the successful pop music group in the region that did Singapore proud. It started at Queenstown Secondary Technical School –the school that I attended from 1959 -1963. They used to perform at the school’s concerts which made the principal, the teachers and students proud ..more so when they became popular.
Jap Chong (rhythm) and Raymond Leong (lead) both attended Queenstown during the 1960s. They named the band after the school’s name. Their original songs Shanty and Gallopin’ won them a EMI Records contract in 1964. In 1963 they were the first local band to play electric instruments on Radio Television’s talentine in 1964. Henceforth they started performing in the television studios at Caldecott Hill. They were supporting popular artists like Rita Chao and Sakura Teng.
After my college and when I was posted as technical operator in the television studios in the late 60s, I remember lighting and vision control the group in television studio one for a number of occasions. They appeared on many radio shows as well. The band disbanded in 1971.

For more information please check out the following links:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Day MM cried

The Day MM cried
Many Singaporeans remember this historic moment. This story is told umpteenth times as part of history lessons of Singapore in schools and over the internet.( Just google search “Lee Kuan Yew cried” ) MM cried when he had to announce that Singapore was going to be separated from Malaysia. It happened on 9 August 1965 at a TV Press conference in the black and white television studio at the old broadcasting centre, Caldecott Hill. Two technical operators of the TV equipment (Lim Sho Shiaw and Goh Kee Chai)witnessed the moment and when I talked to them last week, they said they were shocked to watch him cry in the studio in front of cameras.
Chandra Mohan a young producer then producing this event said he was stunned for a moment.And against all the rules of production that such shots of him should be avoided he instructed the cameramen to dolly in to get a close- up of him . This footage proved to one of the most popular in the history of local media. It was a moment only television was capable of capturing. The TV camera that caught the emotion of this historic moment is shown elsewhere on this blog. The producer said he could feel the anguish and pain from the TV monitors in the production room and for him and the TV crew this was to have lasting impression that could never be forgotten.
Many watched him on national TV when emotionally MM Lee Kuan Yew said “For me, it is a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I have believed in merger and unity of the two territories.’And this incident became a pivotal point of Singapore’s history….the day Singapore entered the brave new world….I joined the department of broadcasting two years later. When the separation was announced I heard MM on radio whilst having coffee in a sarabat stall along Prince Edward Road, after classes at the Singapore Polytechnic nearby.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Road to Digital TV - a satisfying experience

Road to Digital TV – a most satisfying experience

I think it was around February of 1998 that the company received
word from the authority that Singapore had to adopt a digital TV
standard soon as the world was already digitising. There were 3 world standards then - DVB from Europe, ISDB from Japan and ATSC from USA. The Singapore Broadcasting Authority then wanted a test of the three standards as Singapore’s high-rise buildings of residential houses is almost unique and could pose a problem for digital television reception. Lee Cheok Yew who was then the CEO got me to get quotations for a test and an evaluation of the three systems. The quote came to a $1m dollars from a reputable company. The reply from him was “Shit !#@* much... do it ourselves.. Tay you get your engineers to test it! And report” This assignment turned out
to be one of my most satisfying in my career. I took up the challenge.

I visited the three standard bodies in Tokyo, Geneva and Washington to get the experts to come to Singapore to test the three standards. We set up a national committee (chaired by me) and representatives from the industry and institutions of higher learning. The experts and our local engineers took 3 months all over the island to do the field tests. The result led to the adoption of the European DVB standard mainly because of its ability to
to offer mobile services and acceptable signal ruggedness. (I made a presentation to George Yeo who was MITA's minister then, he approved and officially announced the DVB standard for Singapore) Subsequently the company was given licences to operate digital services for channel5, 8 and ChannelNewsAsia as well a TV Mobile service. The TV Mobile service on the buses was the world’s first for Singapore and in a way established the island as one of the leading test beds for digital television services. It was one of the most successful project the company engineers had ever done.(we saved the company $1m bonus and i dont remember us getting a bonus!!Ha Ha!)
In the 2000-2003 we had many visitors from the USA, China, Russia, India, Taiwan..etc to study the system in Singapore. Beijing and Shanghai quickly adopted tvmobile services. Taiwan too introduced mobile TV in the buses. These services proved to be commercially very successful there. But for Singapore, because of its size, it was an upheld task trying to make money from TV services in moving vehicles.
Before long the idea of trying to get the countries in this region to adopt the same standard was mooted. I was given the task together with the regulator and our friends in RTB to help convince the ASEAN countries to adopt the same standard. And we travelled to Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Phillipines to sell the idea of a common digital TV standard for the region. Mainly for the reason of economies of scale and mutual benefits in digital services. This effort paid off when the ASEAN Ministers for Responsible for Information finally approved the adoption of the European DVB standard for digital television in ASEAN region. This effort was one of the most challenging and satisfying experience with my friend Mr Lim Chin Siang of MDA and Haji Ibrahim of RTB. 10-20 years down the road when DTV is prevalent in all the countries in this region we would remain the unsung heroes.. on the road to digital television.

Comments are welcomed from the industry especially those who were involved in the test for a national DTV standard for Singapore. Email:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

SMART Alliance

Here is a press release by MediaCorp
ASEAN broadcasters forge SMART Alliance
Singapore, 24 March 2009 – A group of broadcasters has announced its commitment to form an alliance, called SMART Alliance, which hopes to create and deliver commercial benefits to its members.The six founding members – ABS-CBN (Philippines), BBTV (Thailand), International Media Corporation (Vietnam), Media Nusantara Citra (Indonesia), Media Prima (Malaysia) and MediaCorp (Singapore) – met at an inaugural meeting on 24 March 2009 in Singapore and inked a Memorandum Of Understanding pledging to work on 3 specific areas: (1) Content (2) Selling and Marketing (3) Technology.As a region, ASEAN alone presents a combined market size of more than half a billion eyeballs and a growing middle-class population with increasingly substantial spending powers. The alliance is well positioned to exploit economies of scale both as a supplier of coveted content as well as a buyer of technology and equipment. For advertisers and clients, the alliance grouping will be able to deliver marketing and promotional solutions on a regional platform.Mr Lucas Chow, MediaCorp CEO and Chairman of SMART Alliance Steering Committee says, “As a community of regional media companies, we believe there is scope for an alliance that is established and driven purely by commercial considerations and goals. Our hope is that we will be the Alliance of Choice of all media companies in the Asia Pacific within the next 3 years or so”.
Issued by Corporate Communications, MediaCorp
For more information, please contact:Clarence PongAssistant Vice President Corporate CommunicationsMediaCorp Pte LtdTel : (65) 6350 3343Fax : (65) 6251 5628E-mail :
The operation and management of SMART Alliance is directed by a Steering Committee consisting of:Chairman - Mr Lucas Chow, CEO, MediaCorp
MembersABS-CBN - Mr Eugenio L Lopez III, CEO
BBTV - Mr Khun Veraphan, Director
IMC - Mr Tim Lam, CEO
Media Prima - Mr Abdul Rahman Ahmad, CEO
MNC - Mr Hary Tanoesoedibjo, Group CEO
MediaCorp - Mr Chang Long Jong, Deputy CEO

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thomson Foundation TV College, Glasgow

Thomson Foundation TV College

I remember whist installing some equipment in a make-shift colour OB Van in 1974 , George Ang the then Chief Engineer of the Department of Broadcasting informed me that I had been nominated to attend a four-month course in Colour TV Engineering in Scotland. Subsequently I was told by my immdiate boss Mr Lam that WY Chan who was my senior and earmarked to go had tendered his resignation to migrate to Australia. I was happy to attend the course, being the first out of the country for me and to learn things which proved to be very useful in my later career. The course was conducted at the Thomson Foundation TV College in Newton Mearns,Glasgow Scotland ( The College was started by Lord Thomson of the Fleet)
The College held residential training courses in television production and engineering for people who were already employed in stations in developing countries. They also sent lecturers to train staff in TV stations in countries such as India, Zimbabwe, Bahrain and China. It was an interesting place to work, meeting people from all over the world and learning a little about the world of broadcasting. So for four plus months stayed in the college with 20 other students who were full time broadcaters. They came from all over viz Brazil, Lebanon, India, Nigeria, Kenya, Turkey, England, Scotland. It was months of intensive learning of colour television engineering and operation techniques.
The four-month study included subjects like fundamentals of colour television, transmitter technicques, camera and studio lighting operations, videotape operations and some management principles of broadcasting stations.

During the week-ends and short holidays the students travelled to places north of the River Cyde eg Inverness, Loch Tay, Loch Ness (The Loch Ness monster did not appear that day when we were there) and visited Edinburgh castle as well. It was during these travels that I learnt a lot about the Scottish people...and the fact that the Scots and English could not get along... would poke at one another when occasions arose..and I also learnt to like bagpipes and Scottish songs. Loch Lomond and the Skye Boat are my two favourites.
As mentioned earlier the knowledge and skills learnt gave me more opportunities at the then Radio and TV Singapore Engineering Division. After the training I was posted to train engineering staff at the Telecentre Centre, 1 Hill crest Road and later promoted to Head of Broadcasting Training(About Telecentre the joint training school for the then Singapore Telephone Board , Telecommunications Department and Broadcasting Department..that is another story). Later I was promoted to Head of Training there . And after few years there I subsequently returned to Caldecott Hill to be engineer-in-charge of television studios………

The above pictures were taken (around Dec 1974) one at the school in Glasgow and the other in London with Lord Thomson.
If you recognize yourself in the pictures please email me and tell us more about yourself since then (I guess most will be in the age group 60- 80 now) email:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

i remember Foong Choon Hon

i remember Foong Choon Hon
Mr Foong Choon Hon Hon one of Caldecott Hill Old Timers died suddenly on 30 Mar 2009. He was a retired broadcaster, TV Producer and journalist. At the age of 80 he was still on Radio 95.8 current affairs programmes. I met him only recently at Caldecott Hill canteen and he appeared to very healthy. I am shocked to hear that he has passed away.
He retired from the company in 1984 after spending time in the current affairs department and later on help to establish the local Chinese drama unit.
I remember him to be a soft-spoken cheerful person. In 60s and 70s I used to meet him at television studio 3 where the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yews recording of National Speech was done. I was then operating the auto-cue machine. His advice was sought to make PM’s script easier to be be understood by heartlanders of Singapore. I understand he was also a tutor for Mr Lee Kuan Yew when the then PM was mastering Mandarin.
His last memorable project was to convert the 160-year old villa at Balestier Road into the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall together with another Caldecott Hill Old-Timer Mr Mun Chor Seng. For this he earned the respect of the Chinese community.
I knew him to be a humble, simple person well-respected by his peers and staff …and salute him for his dedication and work till the last hour of his departure. His departure is a loss to the media industry and community.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

CaldecottHill Old Timers - Vernon C Palmer

CaldecottHill Old Timer – I remember Vernon Palmer

I started work with RTS in 1967. Mr Vernon Palmer started in 1945 and it was some years before I met him in TV Studios when he was reading TV News. Also from time to time he would deliver his humorous talk to new recruits at the Telecentre HillCrest Road when I was there as Head of Training. Whenever I encountered Vernon he never failed to tell me a good story about his career at CaldecottHill. One story he used to tell us was the day when he was stopped from reading TVNews. He said whenever he bent his head the TV lights in the studio would get reflected into home viewers TV sets causing a big glare on TV sets and in some instances damaged TV studio cameas. Wearing a wig was not an option for him. The late Mrs Wong then took him out of News and he got posted to Training. It was this kind of stories that most of the staff endeared to him in every conversation with him. I was pleased to meet him again last week in a gathering of Caldecott Old Timers. He was still his usual self.. full of humour about life on Caldecott Hill.
Here is an interesting write- up about him from the Broadcaster –the monthly newsletter of the station dated Mar/April 82:
“Mr Vernon Palmer calls it quits on Tuesday 13 April 1982. Vernon Palmer surprised and shocked a number of his friends and colleagues. He went around bidding farewell and many thought it was one of his many poker-faced jokes.
“It is true” he affirmed solemnly, “This is my last day.” “I love SBC and broadcasting is my life. I am sorry to say goodbye to all my dear friends.” He went on. Mr Vernon Pamer joined the station 1945 as a technician. He steadily progressed up the ranks and his last position was that of Head(T) He had been a phenomenal success in broadcasting and had worn practically every known hat in the profession. After 36 years on the job he has been dubbed MR BROADCASTER-a fitting title to a man who had given his all to broadcasting “It was not just a job, it has been my life.” He often says.
A farewell was hurriedly arranged and was held on Monday 19 April 82 at the Orchid Inn, Dunearn Road. A large gathering of his friends and colleagues turned up to bid him happy retirement. The General Manager Mrs Wong-Lee Siok Tin and almost all the Directors were on hand to bid Mr Palmer adieu.
Our best wishes to Mr VC Palmer for a well-deserved and happy retirement!”
To COT: if you have an interesting tale of life on CaldecottHill whilst you were there email me at

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Top Management Changes at MediaCorp

TODAY dated 12 March 2009 reported the following:

"MEDIACORP is setting up two new units to expand its content
business and grow its international footprint. The Singapore media giant is also appointing
three new managing directors. Commenting on the management
changes, which take effect from April 1, Chief Executive Officer Lucas Chow said there was a need to “align our organisation structure and leadership to the company’s business strategies”.
The changes, he added, reflect the company’s priorities, and “are also the fruition of our
succession planning”. “I am confident this will boost our management bench strength” said Mr Chow.
New Television units
Mr Kenneth Liang will assume the role of Director, International
Productions, a new unit focusing on business opportunities in international television
content. As such, he will relinquish his appointment as Executive Vice-President (EVP), TV
Programming and Production, Channel 5. Taking over his portfolio will be Ms Lim Suat Jien. She
will also oversee Okto, a channel with kids programming, as EVP — Channel 5 and Okto.
Ms Lim’s current responsibilities overseeing MediaCorp’s ethnic TV channels will be taken
over by Ms Ong Lay Hong. Currently a Senior Vice-President (SVP) at Channel NewsAsia’s
China operations, Ms Ong will be appointed Managing Director MD) — Suria and Vasantham.
The other new unit is the TV Content Distribution unit. Itwill consolidate all MediaCorp’s
genres — drama, documentaries, info-educational, lifestyle et cetera.
This unit will be headed by Ms Doreen Neo, SVP of Studios Business distribution unit.
All four will report to Deputy CEO (Television) Chang Long Jong.
Changes at CNA , Radio
Over at MediaCorp’s news, radio and print cluster, the current Chief Editor of TV News,
Ms Debra Soon, will be appointed MD — Channel NewsAsia. She will succeed Mr Woon
Tai Ho who has decided to pursue other interests. The newschannel celebrated its 10th anniversary last week. Ms Florence Lian, who currently helms communicationsand marketing activities at MediaCorp, will take on the appointment of MD, Radio from
Mr Philip Koh. This will allow Mr Koh toon his other portfolios as MD, Press and Media Research
Consultants, as well as undertake certain strategic business development projects. All three will report to Deputy CEO (News,Radio, Print)Shaun Seow."

for more stories click

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What a memorable night

Just back from a memorable event- it was a gathering of Caldecott Hill Old Timers. Lucy the mamasan of Caldecott Hill organised a dinner to welcome Mr and Mrs George Favacho and Mr and Mrs David Lowe who are back for holiday from Perth. George was TV producer in the 70s well known for EnglishVariety and Sports productions . Maureen joined in the 50s and retired in 1987 after spending many illustrious years on Caldecott Hill. She rose to the rank of Director of TV and was responsible for such megashows like Miss Universe Pageant, Hello 85, Singapore 25th Anniversary Gala etc. I was then a young engineer supporting them in their endeavours. Who else was at the gathering ?..,at the Acacia Bishan Park. The grandfather of Caldecott Hill..Vernon Palmer who spoke about his wonderful years there. George stood up in the middle of the dinner and in his usual humourous way said I have bad news and good news . The bad news is you will have to pay for the dinner! The good news is.... Ee Boon Lee chipped in and said ..the end of the News. Yes he was there . Boon Lee was Senior Controller of News in the 70/80s and left to join the Singapore Monitor. George said the good news is the dinner only costs $17..and Miss Yam will made sure you pay up. Yes Miss Yam the accountant at Caldecott Hill was there..all recalled every cent spent was accounted for during her time. Then George got everyone there to say something..
Horace Wee - the guitarist of the Orchestra. George said he remembered him for spotting long hair!
Lim Heng Tow - a tall figure in the HR department during the 80s. He spoke about some ofthe dark secrets on the Hill..for the audience there only
Norman Lim - the radio and TV announcer who rose to Controller Radio. Besides enjoying his retirement he teaches Better English Pronounciationfor corporate and community clubs.
Fong Hoe Beng - our long-time sports commentator..welcome to the National Stadium n all that.
S C Leong - Head of Programme Supplies. He left us in 1989 to join Turner Broadcasting as General Manager..and introduced one of the CNN channels to cable.
Lucy Leong - famous Radio Dejay and Controller (Radio) .She made tonight gathering possible. Many Thanks.
Cecilia Tan (Popular Radio Dejay and Producer),Pauline from Make-up, Ling from MDA, Kok Ying Poh (Chinese Variety Producer and Controller) , Lee Beng Hoon ( Producer and Controller),
JOAN CHEE (Well known Radio Personality in the 60's and then joined CPU (Central Productions Unit) as a Producer. She married well-known Radio DJ - TAN HOCK LYE / "Baby" Belinda Yeo - a colourful Radio personality in the late 70's and enjoyed doing a variety of programmes from Request to Documentary Programmes / BANU VELLU - was a TV Script Assistant and worked in English and Indian television productions. George remembers her as a "Feisty" but hardworking SA, never a Dull moment when she did productions. Currently still involved in Media work in Singapore.
Jeffrey Goh -Sports Producer and Controller, Ow Kee Hong , and Michael Loke who was the Director of HR during the hey-days of Chinese Drama Production....
And of course me who had been there 42 years - one job one department -Engineering.Glad to see they are in the best of health and enjoying their hard-earned retirement.
When I rose to speak I said please contribute your memories to this blog. They sure have memories -the combined age of this group about 2000years!
One parting cackle from George Favacho - we should get all those old timers to form a COT- CaldcottHill Old Timers Club!