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Mediacorp typecasts mongrels, provokes the ire of animal welfare group

Regardless of race, religion, and species.

Mandy How | May 2, 2017 @ 04:40 pm

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Racial and religious stereotypes are unfortunately quite rampant in any media scene.

Animal stereotypes may be less common, but also possess a certain quality of insidiousness – as one MediaCorp producer learns.

In a text to welfare group Exclusively Mongrels Limited, the producer asks for a mongrel to star in a MINDEF commissioned series “When Duty Calls”. The chosen dog should be able to “bark fiercely [and] chase after people”:

Source: Exclusively Mongrels Limited Facebook

 

The request, however, was not well-received by the welfare group:

Source: Exclusively Mongrels Limited Facebook

The group highlights concerns of public perception, namely how such a role would reinforce the notion that mongrels are aggressive and hostile.

The request has also incited a deluge of comments condemning MediaCorp – something that is to be expected, seeing that the thread is in a welfare group:

 

Another perspective
But there may be another way of looking at the issue other than as something that warrants an automatic condemnation.

First, the producer explained that since the scene will take place in a cemetery, a pure-bred dog would be unconvincing. To his/her credit, the producer remained polite and non-aggressive (like a certain misunderstood species, eh).

Source: Exclusively Mongrels Limited Facebook

 

Taking context into consideration, this Facebook user also points out that we don’t know the specific details of the scene:

 

And with labels of “cliché” and “typical” floating around, it implies that such scenes have already been around for sometime – and yet no ruckus has been made about it (by the general public, at least) until now.

 

While the animal welfare groups in Singapore have done a lot of good work in changing public perception of strays, there’s still a long way to go regarding the image of certain breeds that are thought to be more aggressive – and the mass media could certainly help with that.

However, any ignorance or oversight on part of the producer could have been gently corrected, as this Facebook user points out:

But MediaCorp probably shouldn’t have asked a Mongrel welfare group if they’re looking to cast a seemingly unflattering role of a mongrel . Ah well.

 

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About Mandy How

Mandy is a pantry rat. She eats everything in the pantry (except other people's food).

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