Wednesday, August 3, 2011

8TV’s strange way of saying sorry

Patrick Lee | August 3, 2011-FMT

Television station 8TV wants to apologise over its Ramadan advertisements but at the same time they claim viewers misunderstood the advertising clips.

PETALING JAYA: Television station 8TV has a strange way of saying sorry. Though claiming that the Ramadan advertisements were an “honest mistake ” they went on to claim that the viewers misunderstood the clip.

The Ramadan advertisements – released as public service announcements (PSA) – appeared to be stereotyping a particular race, depicting a socially-inept Chinese woman embarrassing others at a Ramadan Bazaar.

The clips were withdrawn yesterday following an online uproar.

In the 8TV’s Facebook, the station said most people misunderstood the advertisements. It went on to say that featuring the socially-inept Chinese woman in a Ramadan Bazaar setting was merely an “honest mistake”.

Quoting Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, the station said in its Facebook note: “It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.”

“This is the unfortunate situation that has resulted from the 8TV Ramadhan PSA,” the uncredited note said.

The apology was not available on the station’s main website (

FMT yesterday reported that 8TV had put up three seemingly condescending PSAs in recent days.

The PSAs highlighted the clueless behaviour of a Chinese woman who embarrassed Malay hawkers and bazaar patrons alike.

In one instance, the woman dressed in a sleeveless singlet, proudly showed her censored armpits to passersby while touching a bunch of bananas.

Each episode was soon followed by a moral lesson, advising viewers on good public behaviour. Some of these messages included: “Do not be greedy and eat in public”.

Messages of respect

On this, 8TV clarified that the PSAs were misinterpreted, and that they were only meant to serve as messages of “respect” for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The message was not meant to offend anyone, race or creed in any way. This is an honest mistake involving a very small amount of humour that was misinterpreted which led to concerns,” the station said.

“In view of this, 8TV has pulled out the PSA and apologizes for any inconvenience or uneasiness caused.”

However, many 8TV fans and other Facebook users were not impressed with the station’s apology.

One user, Immi Yap said: “Stop saying we misinterpreted. That’d be insulting us twice. Come clean and issue a proper apology. We’re not stupid, okay. Stop patronising us.”

Another user, Boon Hun said that the station was blaming viewers for misinterpreting the PSA’s message.

“Gosh, you keep using the word ‘misinterpretations’, like it’s out fault! Like you said, the ad serves only as a message of respect for the Ramadhan month, then send the right message, in the simplest way!”

“Why do you have to go down the lowest possible way to do the alternate scenarios? I think I might have misintepreted your apology message, too!” he added.

Nazreen Hara Raj, another user, asked what 8TV’s true meaning behind the PSAs were.

“I’m really curious to know what the actual interpretation of those PSAs were supposed to be.”

She asked 8TV to publicly share the station’s creative process behind the PSA’s creations, so that viewers could point out where the former went wrong.

However, Nazreen added: “It’s obvious your creatives are not in sync with (what) the public (knows); a bit risky for a TV channel don’t you think?”

Also read:

Ramadan ads: Of armpits and morality

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