Singapore's media authorities go rap route

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SINGAPORE -- Singapore's media authorities have taken center stage this month -- and not only because of the annual Asia Media Festival, which ends next week.

A 4 1/2-minute video starring Media Development Authority senior management team rapping to the theme "get creative, can do, rock on" continues to attract attention in and outside of Singapore.

Various versions of the "MDA Senior Management Rap" video, posted on YouTube, had been viewed more than 100,000 times as of Wednesday.

These include a recut version, "MDArena," highlighting some of the titles, such as "Evil Dead" and "15," that the MDA has banned or censored.

Reviews of the original video have been mixed.

One YouTube response called the video "cringeworthy." Others said "the silver lining here is Singapore corporate culture actually embracing hip-hop (albeit poorly)" and "don't our senior civil servants have anything better to do? And doesn't MDA have a better use for its budget."

More positive responses included "the song is actually quite good" and "I actually quite enjoyed this ... much better than a boring corporate video."

Malaysia's government-based Multimedia Super Corridor gave the video the thumbs up. "MDA -- you rock man. Respect you all from your friends at MSC Malaysia," the MSC response posted on YouTube said.

U.K.-based strategist Hugh Mason, from Pembridge Partners, called the video "the most unexpected presentation by a government department that I've ever seen."

"It takes guts to try something new, and when you do it makes people question their prejudices," Mason, in Singapore this week for the media festival, said in an e-mail to the MDA.

The official MDA response is that all attention is good attention.

"When you try new ways to communicate, it is understandable that there will be people who appreciate your efforts and those who do not. This comes with experimentation and breaking new ground," MDA communications director Cassandra Tay said.

The rap video was made earlier this year for a staff conference as an "informal way to communicate our future directions for the media industry," Tay said.

The video also was bundled with the MDA's annual report and was meant to show a lighter side of management without taking anything away from the annual report, she added.
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