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Pioneers from media, communications and infocomms sectors lauded

Among those recognised on Friday by the Ministry of Communications and Information were Board of Film Censors alumni Raymon Huang and Rama Meyyapan.

SINGAPORE: At a Pioneer Generation Tribute on Friday (Aug 8), The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) honoured close to 150 people who previously worked at the ministry, its relevant statutory boards or in the industry.

About 70 per cent of those honoured are from the public sector, including Mrs Kiang-Koh Lai Lin, 63, who has been with the National Library Board for 41 years. Mrs Kiang-Koh recalled how she had approached hairdressers and taxi drivers and offered them free books so they could start book clubs, only to get a lukewarm response. She said: "They told me they don't want to read anymore, so it was not easy to even get them to accept my books. So I decided I can go to the hairdresser to cut my hair weekly, and if I sat down to cut my hair, they would listen to me and we would have a chance to talk."

The oldest in attendance, Mr Raymon Huang, who led the Board of Film Censors in the 1960s for 11 years, turns 88 this year. 

"What many people thought, mistakenly, was that we were preoccupied with sex and violence, this was not true," shared Mr Huang. "The primary considerations were religious, racial and political issues, and of course in other kind of ways, language issues. For example, if I were to fall asleep while censoring a bedroom scene and that scene came out in cinemas, all I would get would be a lot of mothers protesting. But if it's religiously offensive, the result will be in the streets."

Another former Chairman of the censorship board, Mr Rama Meyyapan, 68, was also recognised. Almost 350 guests attended the event including actors Moses Lim, 65, Chen Shu Cheng, 66, and singer Asiah Aman, 84. 

Mr Lim, known for his role in a popular local drama Under One Roof in the mid-90s, reunited with his co-actors for a skit at the celebration. "I think it's good to give tribute to the pioneers, not only to pay respects, but also to give them an opportunity and tell the younger generation about the past. And to let them know that we went through all those days, and that what we have today is a result of hard hard work," he said.

Communications and Information Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim presented tokens of appreciation to the pioneers. "As we celebrate our 50th year of independence next year, we must remember the people who rose to the challenge of nation building at a time of great uncertainty. The people who worked tirelessly to transform Singapore into a place we can now proudly call home," said Dr Yaacob at the event.

"Our pioneers have contributed to the growth and development of our respective sectors in big ways and small." 

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