Friday, August 28, 2009

Looking to RTM for a Better Mix

By Joe Chelliah

POP music is actually a cult culture universally. Some view it wrongly as music appreciation. Pop music fans literally appreciate the artistes and their looks more than the actual music that they do deliver. This might help explain why the more popular artistes in Malaysia are always young and good-looking but end up with a very short commercial lifespan.

Over-commercialising of the broadcasting industry has left very little opportunity for non-pop music varieties to be heard or seen. Television programmes of yesteryear featured traditional music quite regularly, including non-Malay traditional music, jazz and classical music. RTM was responsible and can be credited for this but it has, sadly, slackened in this area over the years. Many of us may not even be able to remember such programmes, which have become history now. An entirely new generation of media producers and deejays has cropped up. These people may not have themselves experienced the joy of appreciating a good variety of music from young. This is quite ironic because many of the young broadcast media producers of today underwent the Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah system, in which music was a compulsory subject. It is obvious that what they learnt was far from music appreciation and understanding.

RTM, being a government agency, remains the best avenue for promoting a better mix of musical styles. It is hoped that this role will be revived by RTM, which now comes under purview of the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry. Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, too, recently stated that the culture and arts of the minority groups such as the Sikhs, Portuguese, Orang Asli, the Babas and Nyonyas and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak should be brought to the fore, not merely through news and documentaries.
What could be a more welcome assurance than that? Music lovers have long waited for such things to materialise.