Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We "Strongly Encourage"

There's a joke in our ministry that when we want people not to do something, but don't want to be too harsh, we don't forbid it, but we "strongly encourage" people not to do it. We Americans don't really like to be strict most of the time.

Not so the Singaporeans. Culturally they are much more comfortable with drawing lines. Here's my case in point: On the route I take running, I pass many bus stops. Most of these bus stops have a big sign with an ad on it. Two of the stops have had ads for TV shows which do not originate in Singapore. One is for a show which must air on HBO or something like that, called "Californication" starring David Ducovny of X Files fame. I think we can all guess at the content of this show. The other show is called "The Riches" and must be a British show because it had Minnie Driver and some other Brit on the ad. Minnie is dressed a bit skanky.

This morning when I ran, both of these ads had a huge white piece of paper taped over them, which read, "This programme conflicts with our values and therefore you are DISCOURAGED FROM VIEWING." It was an official looking sign from some Singaporean agency. Why not take the ads down? Is this a way to continue to get the revenue from the ad while still expressing disapproval? That seems so very Singaporean. But what struck me the most is the phrase, "Our values." I assume they means our as in "the whole of society." You could never say that in America. There would be a little picket line around these ads or something. From an American standpoint it seems so patronizing to tell your citizens what to watch, though from my perspective I think it's wise to caution people.

What I'm really wondering is - did they put up these ads to peak interest, then put up the disclaimer to shame people who have started watching?


Anonymous said...

hey Gina, as far as I know these are just a clever ad campaign kind of poking fun at Singaporean sensitivity and trying to get people's attention.. There is no such govt Dept :).

Gina Marie said...

I don't know - why are the ads all gone today then? It if was an ad campaign they didn't give it much chance. I have some friends who saw a similar public notice on television the night before I saw it, also in regard to a program.

Anonymous said...

If you notice at the bottom right of the poster, it clearly says "Advertisement".

You might also enjoy this:

I would guess if the ads are gone it is because the premiere dates for the shows were Nov 3rd & 4th, which has now passed.