TV rapped up for lowbrow humour,
    poor English

  Associated Press
July 26, 2005

SINGAPORE'S monopoly broadcaster has been criticised for substandard levels of programming and widespread use of a mutated form of English, known locally as "Singlish."

The Programmes Advisory Committee, or PACE, urged Mediacorp, the country's only free-to-air broadcaster, to improve the quality and content of its programming.

"Proper standards of English should be maintained. Singlish should be avoided in broadcast programmes," PACE said in a statement late yesterday.

The call comes just over two months after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, also urged Singaporeans to reduce the use of Singlish, a widely used mishmashed version of English.

PACE also said the standards of local sitcoms such as the hugely popular "Phua Chu Kang" had fallen, with "substandard story lines as well as lowbrow humour."

"Local dramas could take a cue from good foreign dramas and strive for more complex and sophisticated story lines and wittier dialogue rather than straightforward entertainment," the committee said.

Phua Chu Kang first came under attack in 2000, when the administration launched its war on Singlish and blamed the programme's main character for a rise in bad grammar among citizens.