NDP organisers apologise for Tamil language errors in NDP 2020 evening show

A line of lyrics with a Tamil phrase that was supposed to read "My Singapore" had strokes and letters in wrong places.
A line of lyrics with a Tamil phrase that was supposed to read "My Singapore" had strokes and letters in wrong places.PHOTO: KARTHIKEYAN SOMASUNDARAM/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The organisers of the National Day Parade (NDP) this year have apologised for errors in the Tamil text that was broadcast live on television in the evening show on Sunday (Aug 9).

Referring to a line of animated Tamil song lyrics that were displayed on the LED screens as part of a performance, chairman of the NDP2020 Executive Committee, Brigadier-General Frederick Choo, said: "Unfortunately, the animation effects resulted in one line of the Tamil song lyrics having misaligned characters."

He added: "The NDP2020 Exco apologises for the error. The Exco had engaged Tamil translators to ensure the accuracy of the Tamil song lyrics and the Tamil translations of the films and performances in other languages.

"All lyrics for projection were accurate prior to digital animation. We will further strengthen the production process and be mindful for future NDPs."

The executive committee worked with broadcaster Mediacorp to correct the animated text for the online footage streamed on YouTube and meWatch, he said.

During the evening show, a line of song lyrics with a Tamil phrase that was supposed to read "My Singapore" had strokes and letters in the wrong places, which made the words unintelligible.

The Tamil words for "friends" and "siblings" were also misspelt.

Mr Karthikeyan Somasundaram, a 36-year-old freelance artist, wrote about the blunders on Facebook on Monday night, asking officials to take "extra care" when it comes to Tamil.

He wrote that while he understood that mistakes can happen, someone should have checked and pointed them out.

Speaking to ST, he said that he is "very disappointed" by the mistakes, especially since this is not the first time that Tamil language errors have popped up in official documents or materials.

He said: "This has happened one too many times. What irks me the most is that while the officials show the effort to reach out to the Tamil community, by writing or speaking in Tamil, they fail to ensure the accuracy of the language.

 
 
 
 

"It's just one extra step, but by not checking the accuracy, they're showing complacency."

E-commerce business owner Vijaya Kandasamy, 45, also wrote about Sunday's gaffes on social media.

In a Facebook post, she wrote: "It always happens in our national events. I am sure multiple rehearsals were on before the programme got aired on the channels. Disappointed that none of them noticed to rectify."

She told ST: "Maybe these mistakes don't matter much to people who don't speak Tamil, but they are very disappointing to the Tamil community because we feel like our language has not been given the same level of respect."

In 2017, the organisers of the NDP parade apologised for Tamil language errors printed in publicity brochures that were distributed to Primary 5 students ahead of the National Education shows.

The Tamil phrase that was supposed to read "let's come together as one nation" ended up being gibberish when the letters were jumbled.

In a written reply to Member of Parliament Murali Pillai, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told Parliament that the original Tamil translation submitted was correct but errors were made by the printers.