(North Bridge Road. c.1970)
My grandmother would bring me to National to watch free TV programmes when the night fell. Two TVs were showing Chinese news in black and white, and English news for the other two. The TVs were like bulky cabinets which housed the assembled picture tubes and electronics. Switching on the TVs in those days required a lot of patience. It usually took more than a minute or two before the sound and picture appeared. It also went against the theory of light travels faster than sound. We usually received sound a couple of seconds earlier than images.
Broadcasting in Singapore began on 5 May 1923 when Radio Singapura was established as the first local mass market radio service. 40 years later, on 15 February 1963, Singapore launched the first television service through Televisyen Singapura (TV Singapura) under Radio Television Singapore (RTS). The inauguration of regular television broadcast took place on 2 April 1963 with four hours of English programmes daily in Channel 5. Channel 8 was introduced on 23 November 1963 to broadcast programmes predominantly in Chinese.
(Typical "1st generation" bulky B&W TV found in Singapore)
RTS became part of the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) in 1980. SBC was fully privatized in 1994. Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS) took over the television broadcasting arm of SBC and Radio Corporation of Singapore (RCS) took over the radio broadcasting arm of SBC.
In 2001, the broadcasting groups were restructured again into Media Corporation of Singapore (MediaCorp).
The changes from RTS, SBC, TCS, RCS to MediaCorp were too complicated for ordinary folks like us. For the general mass, the concern was to receive valuable AV entertainments to brighten up our days.
(Classic from RTS: 王沙野峰，1970s)
（Classic from SBC: 红头巾，1986）
（Classic from TCS: Stepping out, 出路，1999）
（Classic from Mediacorp: The Little Nyonya，小娘惹，2009）
Despite the long history of radio broadcast in Singapore, I only owned the very first palm size portable AM radio in 1974 when I was a secondary one student. It took me tremendous effort to convince my dad to buy one at a price of less than $10. The reason I provided was that we did not have a TV at home to receive news on time. I felt extremely handicapped when communicating with teachers and schoolmates the next day. The most cost-effective option to bridge such gap would be a small radio. After weeks of consideration, dad finally decided to buy a transistor radio as a gift for my secondary education.
（Portable AM transistor radio）
In the same year, colour TV was brought in to Singapore market although Singapore broadcasting technology had yet to be fully colour-ready for quality signal transmission. In July, I went with my neighbour to People’s Park to watch a midnight live telecast world cup final between Germany and Netherland. People’s Park was flooded with crowd to watch the football match in colour. Netherland was the favourite as hot as their orange jersey. They even scored an early goal. But eventually Germany displayed the finest teamwork and greatest efficiency in alignment with their traditional black and white outfit and won the match 2:1.
(Highly innovative advertisement)
Since then, we witnessed the rapid wave of technology changes over time. From CRT, it developed into flat square tube (FST), projection TV, HDTV, plasma, LCD, LED and 3D. In 2004, I visited Japan NTT Cyble Communications Laboratory Group (Yokosuka) and deeply impressed by the 4D technology which has yet to be commercialised today. We were like boarded a yacht riding in giant wave without having to put on 3D spectacles, and yet we experienced the 3D effect and the familiar kind of sea sickness! The demonstration was virtual but the feeling was exceptionally real.
(Outside NTT Cyble Communications Lab Yokosuka, 2004)
Since then, we also kissed goodbye to our very first portable radio. Step-by-step, we moved on to 2-in-1 radio cum cassette player, stereo radio, and HiFi with multiple modern features and surrounding sound effects.
(Portable stereo radio cum cassettee player and recorder)
Today, we are also able to access to radio broadcast through handphone and computer. We do not have to dial a fixed line or use a mobile phone to communicate with each other, not forgetting that we have to pay huge overseas fees to telecom companies. We can simply download Skype and enjoy free AV communication over internet. We watch MediaCorp programmes through starhub cable. We could also watch many TV programmes and live broadcasts through the net.
(Kissing goodbye to $110 TV license fee from 2011 onwards)