As more people are connected to the world wide web and getting their daily dose of news and information, it would seem that print media has just been served its ‘past expiry’ deadline.  This perception is certainly not true in Singapore just as it is not true in many other parts of the world.

I for one will read newspapers from cover to cover including the advertisements devotedly on a daily basis because I appreciate newspapers’ core attribute to analyse and provide much deeper insight on news coverage (Maclean, 2005).

However, print media like The Straits Times, Lian He Zao Bao Chinese Daily in Singapore have kept up with the times and are also now available online and are interactive as well with video podcasts and journalist blogs inviting feedback on hot topics of the day.  People are drawn back during the day for news grabs and is definitely a firm favourite of the younger generation.

Let me now share about a subject very close to my heart that I have seen harnessing the power of the media in its varied forms to grow and reach out to the masses very effectively – promoting the joy of eating wonderfully delicious asian food!

Makansutra, founded by food expert K. F. Seetoh started out publishing food guides that lists yummy ‘die, die must try’ hawker or street food that Singapore is world famous for.  The 7th edition of Makansutra Singapore is now out in all major bookshops. What amazes me is the entrepreneurship of Mr Seetoh and how he has tapped on new forms of media publishing to share and promote Singapore hawker food and in the process Singapore, to the world.

Makansutra is now available via the various media:

  • Makansutra Mobile/3G – info on the Go where the listings can be downloaded into your mobile with each listing linked with GPS guided turn-by-turn navigation mapping system
  • Makansutra TV – unplanned, unscripted, unannounced and raw! Each week, he”ll descend on five hawkers and a restaurant unannounced and catch the chefs, cooks and restaurateurs totally off guard and with a spoon in the mouth. Seetoh will, in his usual inimitably frank and uncompromising style, review the eateries in their natural best, or not so
  • Makansutra online forum – foodies are encouraged to register and share their views on their favourite subject “good food”
  • Makansutra Foodcast – a podcast on national radio Power 98FM where he shares with radio listeners tempting ‘makan’ soundbites daily

I now cannot imagine not having access to such gastronomic delights via the different media channels which in reality has just only happened in the last couple of years!  There are many other food related television programmes like The Naked Chef and Ready Steady Cook which educate, motivate and influenced people on what to eat and to adopt healthier eating habits.

The new media has definitely contributed to making the topic of food more accessible to the women and men on the street almost 24/7 especially in Singapore when hunger pangs hit!  They can just use their mobiles to find the nearest ‘die die must try’ chilli crab, chicken rice, satay, bak kut teh etc via the GPS mapping system!

To me, new media complements print media like newspapers, magazines and books, not replace them.  At least not in the foreseeable future.

References

MacLean, S 2005, ‘Print learns to love the web’ The Australian’, April 28, p. 15

Makansutra – celebrating Asian food culture and lifestyle viewed 28 August 2008, http://www.makansutra.com/aboutus.html

Power98FM – Makansutra now on Power 98FM, viewed 28 August 2008, http://www.power98.com.sg/pages/makansutra.php

The Naked Chef, viewed 28 August 2008, http://www.jamieoliver.com/

BBC Food, Ready Steady Cook, viewed 28 August 2008, http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/tv_and_radio/readysteadycook_index.shtml

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The Blog Phenomenon

August 22, 2008

The word phenomenon according to the Online Dictionary has a few meanings:

  1. a fact, occurrence, or circumstance observed or observable
  2. something that is impressive or extraordinary
  3. a remarkable, exceptional person; prodigy; wonder

A Weblog is an online personal diary of expressed opinions of one person on any topic that happens to be the flavour of the month.  Currently, cyberspace is rife with opinions on the two hottest issues:

  • the toxic melamine-tainted milk and milk related products scandal that has spread its poisonous tentacles as far away as Germany
  • the U S of A doing its biggest bailout of corporate America to prevent the world financial system from total collapse

In my opinion, the Blog Phenomenon would then qualify as a remarkable wonder.  In the space of 10 years or less; blogging has skyrocketed. There are now more blog diaries than one can fathom and as I type, many more people many more people are creating their own ‘cyberspace voice’ for posterity until it gets deleted (which somehow never happens!).

On May 9 this year, the The Straits Times reported that Singapore homes will be getting a thin fibre optic cable to hook up to ultra-fast broadband in two years time and broadband users will get faster access upto 1,000Mbps.  This puts Singapore up there with the most wired up countries in the world.  Fantastic news for Singapore bloggers!

My two daughters Rebekah and Rachel who are thirteen and sixteen respectively are avid bloggers.  Rachel commented two days ago that she is going through a hiatus where blogging is concerned and she feels guilty that she cannot find the time to post.

I think this is another phenomenon – blog guilt, a phase coined by Hamilton (2004) in one of her posts.  It hits you when you are most vulnerable.  You want to be responsible, witty and interesting with your posts to attract eyeballs and comments so that your site registers ever increasing number of hits.  Then it drops to zero almost overnight when people find that there are no new juicy details to lap up because you have ‘disappeared’.  Bloggers deal with this by letting you know that they are too busy to blog or by posting an “I’ll be back” entry.  You will not catch me doing this for sure.  I find it so lame!

You know that the blog has arrived when mainstream media like the Straits Times gets its journalists to blog breaking news 24/7 which can be accessed online anytime by everyone.

References

The Straits Times, viewed 22 August 2008, http://www.straitstimes.com/Home.html

Hamilton, H 2004, A new phenomenon…blog guilt, viewed 22 August 2008, http://blogs.msdn.com/heatherleigh/archive/2004/07/21/190774.aspx

Satire at its best

August 20, 2008

Satire at its best!

I tuned in to Channel 5 on and caught an episode of The Noose where the reporters were giving their tongue-in-cheek take on the latest hot topics Singaporeans are most concerned.  In one recent episode, The Noose investigates the financial crisis which has hit Singapore with worried investors queuing up to cash in their insurance policies. This comes in the wake of front page news coverage in print about AIG, the global insurance giant facing total collapse.  Although AIG is not completely out of the woods, it has completed a deal with the FED to get its US$85 Billion injection.

The Noose programme touts itself as bringing news to the people all other local news sources won’t.  It makes blatant fun of government policies like the ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) which is an electronic toll collection system implemented in September 1998 to manage traffic by road pricing in the central business district areas and on expressways with heavy traffic to discourage usage during peak hours.  In the Human ERP system episode on The Noose, people in heavy human traffic areas like Raffles Place will be charged a fee for access to these areas. This outrageously extreme picture painted by the programme attempts to comment on the extreme nature of traffic regulations in Singapore. I, like many Singaporeans I’m sure, had a good laugh!

Singaporeans and residents will appreciate the issues highlighted in The Noose that take obvious digs at government policies.  It is an outlet where we can laugh at ourselves and the government done in satirical good taste.

Many people criticise the local media scene to be largely, suffocated; restrictive, if you will by governmental control. However, The Noose is a breath of fresh air where the media is free to make lighthearted jabs at governmental policies and get away with it. It, perhaps is an indication of the emergence of the new generation of Singaporean media that can bring the local media scene to greater heights!

Image Source The Noose