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5 things about Singapore that Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders got wrong, and 1 they got right

AsiaOne | Ariel Pang | Thursday, Apr 20, 2017

W.T.M.

Why This
Matters
American TV drama Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders features Singapore in one of its episodes, but netizens have called its portrayal of the country inaccurate and stereotypical. Local blogger mrbrown dissects the episode scene-by-scene and corrects the misleading facts that the episode is carrying.

Creative license is one thing. Artistic direction is another. Blatant ignorance is, as well. Add these three things together, and you may feel your blood pressure rising.

Yes, we're talking about that Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders episode. Again.

After posting a series of hilarious comebacks to various scenes in the show, local blogger mrbrown, or Lee Kin Mun, has now taken it upon himself to correct the inaccuracies in the show's portrayal of Singapore.

Once again taking on the persona of Kim Huat, "Singapore's No. 1 Police TV Show Fan", mrbrown explained that he was filming the new video because "I watched the video again yesterday, and I made myself angry again!"

Here are five things that Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders got wrong about Singapore, and what mrbrown had to say about them.

on Facebook

Kim Huat watches the Singapore episode of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders AGAIN and makes himself mad again. #CMBB

Posted by mrbrown on Wednesday, 19 April 2017

1. Dubious history books

Tourist Lisa Carter (played by Corie Vickers), reading from a book: It says here that Singapore's a completely planned society. It was built from almost nothing after World War 2…

mrbrown: Singapore was built from almost nothing after World War 2? What book are you reading?! You think we were some sleepy fishing village at 1942 ah? I call the Sir Stamford Raffles come and hantam (hit) you then you know ah!

We're not sure what history book she was reading.Photo: Video Screengrab

2. Campong or Kampong?

Air stewardess Kathy Hall (played by Toni Trucks): Well, I always like Kampong Glam. (mispronounced as cam-pong glam, as in camera and glamourous)

mrbrown: Kampong Glam lah. (said with correct pronunciation)

3. Kangaroo Court, or not

Special agent Clara Seger (played by Alana de la Garza): When caught, she's most likely going to face an expedited trial and then execution by hanging.

Special agent Matthew Simmons (played by Daniel Henney): Well, running certainly implies guilt, and that's all the Singapore courts are gonna need.

mrbrown: Hello, we certainly need more than that to convict someone lah. You think our court is made of kangaroo one ah?

4. The Singapore Police Force is more than capable, thank you very much

Inspector Cheong (played by Tzi Ma): Thank you. I don't know if I could have handled this situation myself.

mrbrown: Walao eh, why this Singapore police inspector is so cui (lousy) one? Don't have FBI cannot meh? Chao turtle (a replacement swear word).

Don't forget, we have the famous cardboard constable. We also have Tay Ping Hui in C.L.I.F. He's a very pro policeman you know? Shoot from behind the canister of gas! You got see anot, C.L.I.F.? It's the most accurate depiction of our police, understand?

Who needs the FBI when we have our own policemen?Photo: Video Screengrab

5. For the last time, Singapore is not in China and English is our official language

Police officers, in Mandarin: See, here are his identification documents.

Another police officer, apprehending a villian, also in Mandarin: Hold still, you're under arrest!

A villian, speaking in Mandarin: No, you have to wait for the boss. ('Lao ban', the Mandarin word for 'boss', was mispronounced, making it sound like a homophone of the famous local beancurd chain, Lao Ban Soya Beancurd)

mrbrown: Eh, Lao Ban is a tau huay lah.

When the camera began panning across images and scenes of Singapore, which were noted by mrbrown to be stock footage, he was not impressed by the choice of background music.

mrbrown: Eh, why this show so many 'ching chong' music ah? Every time Singapore is featured ah, got the 'ching chong' music leh. The only time got so many 'ching chong' music ah, is when the Chinese New Year time ah, the Mediacorp artistes come and sing the Chinese New Year song you know.


That being said, not everything on the show missed the mark.

1. Big Brother is watching you

Inspector Cheong: In the interest of national security, Singapore has security cameras at virtually every intersection of the city.

mrbrown: Actually ah, the CCTV part is quite true. Just now I went downstair to buy the bak chor mee hor, the lift down there already got one CCTV. Then ah, I went to the next block ah, got two CCTV. Then I go the carpark ah, wah, another CCTV.

Singapore really got a lot of CCTV leh. Scared ah.

CCTV left, right and center.Photo: Video Screengrab

pariel@sph.com.sg

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