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Monday with the Editor: Radio madness in the mornings

Hallo everyone

Some bantering over the local air waves recently landed two DJs in hot soup - they were sacked! A Straits Times reader had written in to the Forum page on 30 Jul 2004 to complain that he "was horrified by what Sheik said over the air, to thousands of schoolchildren all over Singapore going to school and listening in. He told the listener to ask the girl whether she was wearing white panties".

Then, in response to that letter, another reader wrote in on 4 Aug 2004, adding that "on another occasion, Jamie Tan ended a programme by saying ' we (she was with Sheikh Haikel) are enjoying ourselves here massaging and masturbating each other ' ".

Was the DJs' sacking from their jobs too severe a measure? A Straits Times reader thought so. She wrote on 27 Aug 2004 that she "enjoyed listening to Perfect 10 because of the pairing of Sheikh and Daniel Ong. But now, I no longer listen to the station as I feel that injustice has been done there".

I admit I do not listen in to the Morning Madness radio programme and therefore cannot comment on the type of noise that its DJs make over the air waves - I listen to Class 95FM's Morning Express.

But, from what has been written, I think the DJs were too explicit in their bantering. Singapore, I feel, is not yet ready for such excesses - yet. Particularly as the radio programme mentioned is broadcast in the morning, there is no way that children can be effectively stopped from listening to it. That, I think, is the concern of parents and the conservative-minded.

While in recent years, explicit terms such as "masturbating" have been appearing - to the giggles and blushed faces of many a student - in our secondary schools in the compulsory sex education sessions, they have remained taboo elsewhere. I think these terms should remain taboo on the radio airwaves, too.

Youngsters are impressionable and may pick up the wrong signals which they may mimic and then try on their peers, thinking that since DJs are using raunchy banter on radio, then, it would be perfectly alright for them to engage in such banter at school or when they are with their friends.

The Morning Express programme is more subdued in its banter. Let me give two examples. Last Monday, it ran a story on the Red Indian on a horse. In short, the story went this way:

The man gave a woman a ride on his horse and this woman held on to the horn in front of the man. The man kept yelling all the way. When the woman reached her destination, she asked someone why the man had behaved thus. The reply? - The Red Indian rode bareback! 

And last Wednesday, it presented a joke which went something like this:

What did the elephant say to the naked man?

It looked down and said, "That's cute, but can it pick up peanuts?"

Such banter makes contact with those who listen in. It isn't dirty bacause it is done in good humour. The listeners get a good laugh and then go on with the day's mundane work in higher spirits. The conservative-minded may cringe at the thought of such things happening on the air waves. But, we cannot please everyone. And we shouldn't shut out the rest of the audience simply because some listeners find such banter jarring on their nerves. The DJs on The Morning Express do rein themselves in when engaging in such innocent banter.

Don't you agree with me that these two jokes I have mentioned lift up the mornings for us? Morning radio programmes are not just about dishing out good music to accompany those who are at home or about to go to work. DJs must connect with the listeners, make them feel each new morning they wake up to is bright and chirpy, whatever the weather or the listeners' moods. 

Let me end with a joke from today's Morning Express programme. It goes like this:

A lady walked into a bar and saw a man with his feet propped up. He was wearing the biggest pair of shoes she had ever seen. She asked him whether it was true what they said about men with big shoes. He invited her to come back with him to prove it.

They spent the night together. The next day, the woman gave him a hundred dollars. The man was flattered as this was the first time he was being paid for his services.

She said, "Look! Don't be flattered. Just take the money and buy a pair of shoes that fits!"

Hope this last joke gets you going when you attack today's tasks, whether in the office or at home. Remember - life is great fun!

Have a good week!

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30 August 2004