Singapore Star Awards: Moving Towards the Social

Lights, camera, action! Following a new format, red carpets were rolled out on the 17th and 24th April for the Singapore Star Awards. The awards show is easily the most glamorous local event every year. With 22 years of history and being the first event that celebrates the work of local artistes, the awards show have an undeniable power that can draw people towards watching it. But today, we are not here to discuss about gossips or the winners’ list; we are here to talk about what insights we can gain about the Media in Singapore from the highly-anticipated event.

It is heartening to see the shift from a digital era to one that is slowly – but surely – combining with the social. In a resource-limited land like Singapore, social media is a tool that is of utmost importance, especially because it can effectively generate results at a much lower cost. To us, the highlight award in the recently-reformatted awards show should undoubtedly go to the ‘Social Media Award’ which was implemented only 2 years ago. It is awarded to the artiste with the highest social media engagement and is the first award that incorporates social media elements since the inception of the awards show, highlighting the growing prevalence and importance of social media in Singapore.

Unfortunately, this award is thoroughly eclipsed by other awards and even unthinkably swept aside by the winners themselves, leading to the award being largely underrated. This is a pity if you ponder about it – America even has ‘The Shorty Awards’, an event that solely celebrates the best of social media, garnering much attention whenever it takes place. This award further fuels brands, influencers and artistes to give their all for their work on social media. In terms of the digital adoption model of ‘crawl-walk-run’, Singapore’s media is taking first strides towards becoming social and welcoming to all but such progress is slightly slower as compared to the media in the Western world.

Singapore is still more focused on traditional media, with a TV awards show having a clear objective of giving out awards to artistes. Although we have to commend the fact that Toggle does give it online coverage (after each show), more can be carried out before and during the show itself. It is great that Mediacorp is forming online communities using the official hashtag #SA2016SG but here’s the key question: why didn’t they make use of it and broadcast it extensively? In a society where an increasing number of people are turning to social media for the latest news and especially when the show needs more viewership from a younger audience who are digital natives, it is a pity that the hashtag – a great tool to create immense hype – is only used mainly during the red carpet. The media team could use it to rally the crowds, to get them to be more involved during the show, to let them feel that they have a part to play. The Oscars is a great example for this; with Facebook and Twitter exploding with viewers’ participation to the extent of these platforms becoming sideline commentaries.

On the other hand, there is a praiseworthy improvement observed from this year’s Star Awards. Viewers would be happy to see that there is now more genuine behind-the-scenes footage broadcasted on Toggle titled “what you didn’t see on TV“, portraying real-life stories that make these celebrities appear to be (occasionally) just as ordinary and goofy as us. Here are some memorable quotes from the show: 

“I had some chicken nuggets – not all 20, like, 10? that’s reasonable, right? It’s like lunch and dinner combined.” — Rebecca Lim

“I think I have to suck in my tummy. I just ate a lot: The dinner box – there’s rice, vegetables and meat. I finished all of it.” — Hong Ling

“(This dress) is not garang. It’s feminine, quite womanly, so I just have to be less chor lor (uncouth) later.” — Paige Chua

The media in Singapore has come a long way since its first establishment when the republic was new to celebrity culture. From exhibiting prim and proper glamour to the current state of being ‘real’ which effectively reduces the gap between audiences and entertainment, the Star Awards is progressing to be a modernised awards show that is increasingly introducing more social characteristics. The only key now is to completely breakthrough the longstanding traditional notion of compartmentalising TV and social media in order to fully involve the masses, and our local celebrities are ideal propagators of this action.

(Photo by Chua Hong Yin/TODAY)

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