Thursday, November 26, 2015

COT Gathering

Caldecott Hill Old Timers gathered at the cafe poolside of the Singapore Recreation Club on 23 Nov 2015 6.30pm chit chat and warm memories of our time on Caldecott Hill..and to welcome Georgre Favacho and his darling again to Singapore from Perth. The event was organised by Cecilia and Lucy and anchored by George.. We had jolly good time..with George making introduction for the umpteen times on all the old timers namely..
Horace Wee, Ruth Heng, Lee Peng Hock, Michael Loke, Liew Ter Kwang, Philip Tay Joo Thong, Susan, Susan Ng, Ow Kee Hong etc. We were also joined by Narayan as well as Jeffrey Goh. The late Steven Lee s darling Amy also was there and George cracked some jokes about Steven which brought back some old memories. He was my regular lunch kaki with Michael and Lucy.I was very glad to meet up again especially Ow, Michael, Lucy, Joan Chee ,Liew Ter Kwang, Lee Peng Hock etc.
 Karen Chia was there. She has recently left Mediacorp for greener pasture elsewhere. We wish to record our appreciation to her for keeping COT informed of the latest in MediaCorp and keeping the Group well posted about the move to Mediapolis.
For those interested to join us for the next COT gathering please contact Lucy or Cecilia or email to George at or email me at

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Big Guns

Broadcasting in Singapore and the Big Guns

The direction of broadcasting in Singapore is set by a group of important
people and highly qualified people from industry. Most were with the
Government. They were responsible for the health of broadcasting to
inform educate entertain the masses…also for the successes (and failures)
of many projects on Caldecott Hill. Here is a list of the Big Guns and the Hill.

Ministers: S. Rajaratnm, Othman Wok, Jek  Yuen Thong,Ong Teng Cheong,
Yeo Ning Hong, George Yeo, David Lim, Lee Yock Suan, Lee Boon Yang, Yaacob
Ibrahim (present)

Permanent Secretaries: Lee Siow Mong, JohnDuclos, P S Raman,
Hsu Tse Kwang, Cheng Tong Fatt, Goh Kim Leong, Tan Chin Name, Niam Chiang Meng, Chan Yeng Kit, Aubeck Kam

CEO of Authority: Ho Meng Kiat, Goh Liang Kwang, Christopher Chia,
Aubeck Yam, Koh Lin-Net, Gabriel Lim (present)

Chairman of Company: Ong Teng Cheong Choon Kong, Cheong, Wee Kim Wee, Wee Mon Cheng,
Yong Pung How, Cheng Wai Keung, Ho Kwong Pin,  Teo Ming Kin(present)

CEOs of Company:

1960s: John Duclos, PS Raman
1970s: Hsu Tse Kwang, Mrs Wong Lee Siok Tin
1990s: Moses Lee , Lim Hup Seng
2000s: Lee Cheok Yew, Anthong Chia, Sandra Buenoventura, Ernest Wong,
Lucas Chow, Shaun Seow (Present)

Note: CEO was called Director of Broadcasting in the 60s and 70s until the company was
corporatised to SBC in the 80s.
The broadcasting company on the Hill was known by various names viz
Department of Broadcasting, SBC, Singapore International Media and its
components RCS, TVS, STV12,  Media Corp (present)
The Ministry was called Ministry of Culture, Sports and Culture, Information
And the Arts, Information and Communiction and the Arts, Ministry of Information
And Communication
Authority: The Authority was called Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA)
and later Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)

(Please email me for errors and omissions)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

MediaCorp Digital Television

Come 2020 roof top TV antennas like the ones seen above would completely clear the Singapore skyline. This is made possible by use of indoor antennas with your digital TV set using a digital tv standard  DVB-T2 adopted by MediaCorp. MediaCorp is transmitting all free-to-air channels in digital since Dec 2013, of  which all except  Ch U are in HD . Ch U will go HD in 2016. Asean countries except the Philippines had agreed to switch off analog TV by 2020 and  to adopt DVB-T2 standard thereby creating a big market for digital TV equipment and exchange of information.
Digital TV can be received free to air by an integrated digital TV set or with a digital TV set top box connected to existing TV sets. The Government has announced subsidies for more than 150,000 households to switch to digital by 2020. And sets with a DTV approved label are now available at TV retail outlets.
 MediaCorp engineers have been installing transmitters progresively island wide since 2013 to be completed by 2020 or earlier. You can find out if you area is digital ready by checking this website
Digital TV pictures are digitally coded and as such lead to better quality pictures and enhanced related data services. It also enables the telecast and display of high definition pictures and sound. Because the channels are free to air viewers need not subscribe to any cable service.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Liew Ter Kwang

In 1967 when I arrived at Caldecott for my first job as a technical cadet,  I was greeted by Liew Ter Kwang who was then the Engineer in Charge of TV studios.Mr Liew put me to do viision control(the technical term is CCU,,camera contro unit) My stay at Ca;decott Hill lasted for 43 years. Of the years I know him, he had always been an engiineer who had high standards of professional conduct and was very knowlegeable on new broadcast equipment and developments. He was responsible for many of the broadcast systems which improved and expanded the the operations of the company.
Here is a short write up from Karen of MediaCorp//Reminiscing Liew Ter Kwang.....

(Talking to official from China TV at an international conference)

Ter Kwang joined RTS in 1962 as Engineer-in-charge (Master Control Room) and retired in 1997 as Senior Executive Engineer (Projects and Development).
An honours grad in electrical engineering, Ter Kwang has held various senior engineering positions in SBC for the past 30 years and has a wealth of experience in planning and designing of broadcast engineering facilities. He also spent two years as VP of Business Development in SIM Communications.

Recalling back the time in 1963 when TV Singapura was first launched, Ter Kwang was in charge of the operations of the Master Control Room, responsible for switching programmes from the right sources on air and ensuring that the technical equipment are in normal correct operational conditions.
On remembering the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew:
The TV Production Studio at the Temporary TV Studio Complex was the venue for the recording of many press conferences held by the then Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. This included the significant press conference held on 9 August 1965, in which PM Lee announced the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. In the middle of this recording, Mr Lee broke down in with tears. The recording had to be stopped for a of couple minutes before it could be continued. Immediately after the completion of the recording, Mr Lee asked the reporters not to report his crying scene in the press. Ter Kwang recounted that after much persuasion by the then Director of Broadcasting, Mr P.S. Raman, Mr Lee said before he left the TV Studio, "I leave the matter to the broadcasters to decide whether to broadcast it or not".
TV Singapura decided to telecast the complete recording on air and that clip has become part of an important archive of a nation’s turning point.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sandra Buenaventura

 I met Sandra at the recent get-together by MediaCorp to pay tributes to its pioneers. I was certainly glad to meet up with another old timer whom I had worked with for a number of years on Caldecott Hill. Sandra was then the Head of Programme and Scheduling unit and I was engineer in charge of the Master Control Rooms where TV programmes were delivered to homes via the TV transmitters. Being one of the professionals with the TV team under Cheng Teng Fatt she acquired a good many overseas TV programmes during the days of SBC. I knew her to be a no nonsense kind of manager who always demanded the best from her staff. When the company restructured into several component companies under Singapore International Media Pte Ltd she was promoted to President and CEO of TV 12 (the other TV company was TCS Television Corporation of Singapore).
To share more memories with other COTs here is a write-up with courtesy from Karen of the Corporate Communications Department of MediaCorp
 (Photo above: from left Sandra, Paramajit Singh, Michael Loke)
Reminiscing with …. Sandra Buenaventura
Sandra found her way into broadcasting as a secondment to then RTS from the Ministry of Culture in 1979. She was part of the pioneer team that revamped the programing content of Channels 5 and 8 as RTS evolved into SBC. During her tenure, she acquired foreign TV programmes and movies, scheduling of both foreign and Singapore-produced programmes, publicity, promotion and subtitling of all TV programmes on the 2 channels. She later launched Channel 12, dedicated to documentaries and the arts and became its first female President and CEO of TV12.

During her 17-year career, Sandra was part of the Senior Management team at SBC and became the first Asian to be appointed on the Board of Promax – a radio and TV international body based in the US. Sandra left TV in 1997 and joined Mindef as Head Public Communications.
 “The support and the patience and tolerance shown by my 300 plus staff for my raving and ranting. In fact they tell me it is payback time for me now as I have been tasked by them to organise our annual get together lunch for the past 17 yea Sandra's Quotable Quotes: "if you survive under my management you can survive under any boss rs.”  

Friday, August 21, 2015

MediaCorp remember Caldecott Hill Old Timers (COT)

Mediacorp remember COTs

It is not often that a company remembers its staff who had retired many years back 30,40,50 years. Mediacorp did . It invited its pioneers to a gathering on Thurs 20 Aug 2015. And briefed them  on the latest development of the company and its new complex at MediaPolis . Minister Lawrence Wong was there as well together with officials from MDA and the Management. I was certainly glad to meet and greeted by the CEO Shaun Seow, Deputy CEO Long Jong and CTO Joseph Igo. It was very heart warming to meet up with old colleagues and friends. At lunch we shared many memories. My first supervisor fifty years ago Ong Shee Chek (Technical Producer) was there too. He brought up the occasion I was scolded by Ben Da Cuhna Deputy Chief Engineer for not removing a studio camera cover before switching on. Ha ha ha...some memories one cannot forget. And the COTs (this term is coined by George Favacho) I worked with over the years and met that day were ...
Raymond Huang, Param Singh,Liew Ter Kwang, Goh Kee Chai, Michael Loke, Anwar, Cecilia, Joan Chee,Wong Yew Wah,John Tan, Andrew Cheng, SimChoon Hing, Kong, Gay Tong Beng, Ho Pan Chun, Seet Leong Teik, Tan Cheng Kee, Sandra , Ow Kee Hong, Banu, Hashim Yusof, Kenneth Liang, George Netto, Brian Richmond, Norman Lim etc and many others..
It was very nice and thoughtful of Mediacorp to organise this event...remembering its pioneers.
For a report of the event by CNA please refer to this link.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lee Kuan Yew Gone

  Lee Kuan Yew Gone

Below Message from PM's Office

Passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, founding Prime Minister of Singapore

The Prime Minister is deeply grieved to announce the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore. Mr Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital today at 3.18am. He was 91.
Arrangements for the public to pay respects and for the funeral proceedings will be announced later.

23 MARCH 2015
 We express our heart-felt condolences to PM Lee Hsien Loong and families of Mr Lee Kuan Yew                                                    ....................................................
I had the opportunity to work on some of his TV programmes at the Caldecott Hill TV Studios, For a number of years he would record his National Day Messages mainly in Studio Three and his National Day Rallies at the Kallang Theatre. I worked with the producer to provide technical support such as TV lighting and cameras as well as the operation of the Auto Cue .Although many might think that he was a tough person to work with but somehow he gave me the impression that he was a considerate and kind man. At times there were technical problems on the recordings and he had alway been tolerant of technical faults and breakdowns. On one occasion his TV recording had to be done three times due to failure of the auto cue system. And he took it quite well without the crew and producer feeling uncomfortable.
I had also opportunity to attend to some TV signal reception problems at his house in Oxley Rise.I was surprised to see that it was simple and humble house without any of the luxuries that normally one would expect of a man of his status. He had a TV set.. a SONY Trinitron..which he used for twenty years and was reluctant to change a new one when it broke down often. From this I learnt that he was a very frugal man. 
My wife and I respected him very much for what he had done for Singapore. We brought up our three children up to university level and now having good jobs and families ....and wife had always reminded children without  Mr Lee we would not hot be in a position to have good education, good housing, good environment and a good life.
Thank you Mr Lee, the founding father and founding  Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore.
Rest in Peace.

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.