Saturday, August 28, 2010

S Chandra Mohan

Another Caldecott Hill Old-timer dies – S Chandra Mohan

It is with sadness that I hear the news that Chandra has passed away. Auntie Lucy Leong
called me this evening to inform me.
Please read this news from Channel News Asia

Broadcasting veteran S Chandra Mohan dies
By Milton Sau | Posted: 28 August 2010 1558 hrs

SINGAPORE : Former director of news and current affairs at the then-Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, S Chandra Mohan, died on Saturday afternoon after a long illness.
He was 72.
For those who were privileged to know him well, Mr Chandra Mohan was a man of smiles.
Former colleagues remember him as a mentor and dear friend.
Tan Lek Hwa, vice-president, English Current Affairs, MediaCorp, said: "He showed me everything from how to tell a story, how to peel the layers of stories and in fact, the most instrumental - it is how to manage national programmes. I feel very sad that he has passed on today because I think we have really lost an industry giant."
The industry giant started his broadcasting career in Radio Television Singapore in the early 1960s.
As a producer, he was on the ground to capture that historic moment of Singapore's separation from Malaysia on 9 August 1965.
He held key positions within the then-Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, playing a pivotal role in the station's programmes and driving award-winning shows such as Diary Of A Nation.
He was also instrumental in the launch of Radio Singapore International (RSI) in 1994.
He retired in 2007 but remains dear to those he had worked with
,,,,,”. For more at

ST dated 30 Aug also reported that

"DUBBED by some as 'the father of Singapore's broadcast journalism', veteran broadcaster S. Chandramohan passed away on Saturday after a long illness.

The former news and current affairs director, who started his career with Radio Television Singapore (RTS), was 71.

His career spanned five decades - beginning with a stint at the now defunct RTS in the early 1960s. After RTS became the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) in 1980, he was appointed director of current affairs and played an important role in the station's programmes, with the Diary Of A Nation series being a particular success. He was also instrumental in the launch of Radio Singapore International in 1994.

During his tenure, Mr Chandramohan was on the scene to report on, and later oversee, many milestone events - ranging from Singapore's separation from Malaysia on Aug 9, 1965, to various live telecasts of election results and also the Prime Minister's National Day Rally speeches.

Ms Jacintha Stephens, a former current affairs producer at SBC who has been in the broadcast industry for 23 years, remembers him fondly as the 'father of broadcast journalism', who was instrumental in shaping the field in Singapore.

'He mentored and nurtured several generations of broadcast journalists and documentary producers - who are now all over the world. He brought to the profession an intellectual vigour and great passion,' said the media consultant........." Read more at

In a letter to his wife Mdm Chandramohan Nirmala Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said "...he was
a professional with a fine political sense, a good understanding of the issues of the day as well as keen insight into the medium, of what would work on was a pleasure working with him..." For more read TODAY or ST dated Aug 31 2010

When I was a young engineer, Chandra Mohan already made his name as a producer of current affairs programmes that won a number of awards. His programmes informed and educated the population. He rose to the top position of Director of News and Current Affairs in the late 70s and early 80s. It was then that I had encounters with him at the Television Studio Three where the Prime Minister’s National Day messages were recorded. My job then was simply to operate the auto-cue. Over the years he took charge of productions such the National Day Rallies (done at the Singapore Conference Hall and the Kallang theatre) and the General Election coverages. He was instrumental in the early 80s to introduce programmes such as Friday Background, Feedback, Tinjuan, Focus etc which were impactful to Singaporeans. He co-ordinated the implementation of Today in Parliament and the engineers supported this project in okaying the microphones and lighting systems which were critical to this coverage, among other things.

I knew him to be a very serious person in his work. In the years I know him one outstanding habit of his was to be perfect in his production work. He would want pictures to be properly composed and make-up to be properly done. In one of the production meeting much to the relief of the engineers he said “ I can tolerate technical breakdown but not a bad picture composition even though it is just a talking head” He must have countless productions where VVIPs were involved, sometimes there were scoldings from important people and more often he took the blame on behalf of the crew. The production crew respected him a lot.
In 82/83 because of the expansion of SBC the News and Current Affairs were split with him running the Current Affairs Unit. Improvements were made in presentations and the acquisition of new technology equipment such as Electronic News Gathering cameras transformed the face of News and Current affairs reporting.
In the late 90s when he became Director of Radio Singapore International which he set-up I began lunching with him together
with Michael Loke Director of Human resources. The other half of Chandra was friendly and warm but still a reserved and serious person exhibiting a high level of professionalism in his work. During the extension years after his retirement, he was still immaculate in writing a VVIP story with enthusiasm.
Taking account of all his work on Caldecott Hill over the years I think he
should be remembered as one of those dedicated and loyal backroom boys that helped build the nation.

Farewell Chandra and rest in peace.