Is China’s media less constructive, & nation-building than ours?

In Media on 28/02/2013 at 6:56 am

With SPH (see today’s ST) and MediaCorp working real hard to convince us that declining population growth is death*, I tot I’d show how unconstructive the Chinese state-owned media can be.

Xinhua could, in this rare instance, be a little more generous to its government.

And this. Somehow I can’t help thinking that SPH and MediaCorp will not allow such stuff to be seen here: could affect NatCon?

Even the state broadcaster, CCTV, has offered a rare hint that the party’s efforts to portray a country of growing happiness are being greeted by some with cynicism. Beginning in late September it broadcast a series of programmes called “Reaching the grass-roots: people’s voices from within”. Ministry of Tofu, a blog about Chinese society, reported that producers of the series must have been somewhat disappointed if they expected their interviewees, who were asked how happy they were, to gush with satisfaction. Many dodged the question and some gave answers that were nonsensical or funny.

On its website, the government news agency, Xinhua, offered a similar description of the responses given to the CCTV cameras (here, in Chinese). China’s ever-boisterous users of Twitter-like services gleefully took to one anecdote in particular, about a migrant worker in the northern province of Shanxi. The words “are you happy” in Chinese happening to sound identical to “are you surnamed Fu”, the worker replied to the question by answering, “My surname is Zeng”.  CCTV’s willingness to air this clip was an unusual deviation from its propaganda-driven norm. Xinhua blamed the responses of Mr Zeng and others on “the pressures of life” in a fast-changing China.

But let’s not only bitch about our 30-pieces-of silver (?) journalists and editors. Would S’poreans interviewed have given the kind of answers that the Cina public gave? Somehow I suspect not.

The media, like the govt, reflects the society, how imperfectly. S’poreans have to accept the responsibility for the media and govt that we have.

*Actually all they need to do is to point point that the conventional wisdom in macroeconomics is that declining TFRs, aging populations and  declining populations are bad. And the immigration ias good economics. But then that would remind S’poreans that LKY, Dr Goh etc defied the then conventional wisdom. Then the prevailing view was that MNC investment was another form of colonialism. They were right and the “wisdom” was wrong. While dad and friends defied the ang moh “tua kee” attitude, son and friends (like Tharman) embrace ang moh conventional thinking.


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