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)