I thought the “Peranakan Ball” was Mediacorp’s worst idea of a joke. Then my friend and actor Brendon Fernandez wrote about something else our fine broadcaster apparently did, apparently for laughs:
Mediacorp has been calling up actors and making appointments with them to attend an audition at Mediacorp for an English-language project which has been described as a “still in development drama-dy”. This is in fact completely disingenuous.
In the account that I heard from an actor who attended the audition on 25 May 2009, the waiting time was in excess of an hour and a half past the scheduled appointment time.
When the auditionee is finally ushered into the area in which the audition is supposed to take place, he or she is given several forms to fill out. The area is reported to resemble a badly-constructed mock up of a tv-set. The auditionee will be left alone in the room.
After some time has passed, the auditionee will hear a knock that appears to come from inside the wardrobe that is on the set. There will also be a voice of someone claiming to be locked in the wardrobe, asking the auditionee to let them out. When the auditionee opens the wardrobe, it will be empty.
At some point after this, the crew will burst out from concealment, and announce something to the effect of “Surprise, you’re on ‘Just For Laughs- Gags’!”
I was saddened and angered to learn that this is how Mediacorp treats working actors today. This was a deliberately concocted scheme to lure professional actors into a humiliating trap. The people who attended devoted their time and their skills in preparation for what they believed to be an audition for a role in a professional tv series. Some may have given up other opportunities for work in order to attend. These actors responded in good faith to what they thought was an opportunity for work, and they were treated abysmally.
If you feel the same way I do, please spread the word. Let people know that this happened. Tell friends in the industry. Tell friends who are not in the industry, but who watch Mediacorp TV. If you work in Mediacorp or for Mediacorp, please speak about this to your colleagues. Ask whose idea this was, and who ok-ed it. Basically, tell other people how you feel. I’ve reached my tag limit for this note, but you can link it, if you like.
I am aware that this is only one part of the story. Those from Mediacorp who perpetuated this charade will undoubtedly have their own version of events. Nevertheless, at this time I find it necessary to state that I personally cannot imagine any circumstance or combination of circumstances that can excuse such behavior.
It is never permissible to treat other people without respect.