Saturday, 26 January 2008

Let's Hear it for the Beeb

Sometimes I am reminded that this blog is not just a self indulgent stream of consciousness. There are actually people who break, or add to, the daily tedium of their lives by reading it!

So it was when I received some feedback recently from an expat recently relocated to Singapore and who had followed my ramblings, as an information source prior to her shift.

Having lived in Singapore since September 2006 it is easy to forget the little things one needs to know when moving to a new country. With such readers in minds I thought I would recap on my early comments and suggestions

The efficiency of local public transport has been mentioned in this blog before and there is news in today that the MRT system is to be further extended with two additional lines. The buses are in the main very efficiently run although the quality & cleanliness of some vehicles leaves a lot to be desired. Taxis are comparatively cheap when compared to other countries and private cars are expensive to own and operate.

I have no desire to own a car here for the above reasons and with the possible exception of supermarket shopping, there is no reason to do so.

One big suggestion I would make is to bring with you, or purchase upon arrival, a radio capable of tuning into overseas stations. While I listen to a lot of radio via the Internet nowadays if you are a person who likes to hear what is happening in the big wide world, don't rely on the local Singaporean media to inform you.

In the main the programming of both radio and free to air television is parochial in its vision and content is very patchy. There are a few exceptions and Channel News Asia is one, although as its title suggests its focus is largely Asia. Not that I personally have any problem with the control of media here, it is simply a case of variety in one's listening diet.

BBC Radio has been a godsend in keeping us informed. Fortunately the 'Beeb' has a station base (relay?) in Singapore which has a powerful signal. I also use the web to subscribe to various podcasts from around the world and to scan online newspapers. That way I can create my own media channel and view it and as when I like.

A word about the local Mediacorp artistes (and I used this term advisedly). As Mediacorp owns and operates the free-to-air channels and there is a very small talent pool, the same faces can be found in situation comedies, gameshows, introducing documentary features and traipsing around the food courts, sighing orgasmically at every mouthful of local hawker fare.

This is not to suggest that there aren't a couple of talented people amongst the performers, it is just that they are totally over exposed.

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