Dated: 11 July 2001

Singapore and Canada are pleased to announce the first-ever Canada-Singapore TV Co-productions under the Canada-Singapore Audio-Visual Co-production Agreement. Two television documentaries will be co-produced by Crest Communication Singapore, an independent Singapore production house, and Four Square Productions Canada, a leading Canadian documentary producer. Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) and Telefilm Canada are supporting ​the co-production of the two documentaries, which demonstrate the spirit of co-operation between the Singapore and Canadian production companies.

Both documentaries will be part of a historical documentary series entitled "Scarred by History". The first documentary is entitled "End of Empire", a one-hour documentary featuring Alexander Cockburn, a medical volunteer from Canada who worked in Singapore during the Japanese invasion in World War II. The second documentary is entitled "Among the Disappeared: A Cambodian Odyssey", a one-hour documentary featuring the story of a Cambodian-born but now Canadian resident Kodain Ear. It recounts his childhood experience in witnessing the Khmer Rouge atrocities in 1975. Both documentaries will be telecast on local television in Singapore (on Channel NewsAsia) and Canada (on History Channel) sometime this year. (See Annex A &B for synopses on the two documentaries.)

The Audio-Visual Co-Production Agreement between Canada and Singapore, signed in Singapore in 1998, establishes a framework for cooperation between audio-visual production companies in Singapore and Canada. SBA has been working closely with Telefilm Canada to administer the Agreement and facilitate co-productions between Canada and Singapore.

Said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, CEO of SBA, "We are pleased that the collaboration between SBA and Telefilm Canada is beginning to bear fruit. These two documentaries represent an important first step in co-production between Singapore and Canada. The Singapore production industry looks forward to more international co-production with its Canadian counterpart as an important way to broaden its exposure, upgrade the industry and create quality programs that can travel globally."

Mr François Macerola, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada, was also pleased to add, "The number of co-productions with Asia has increased significantly in the last few years, especially in the areas of documentary and animation, where Canada has a unique tradition of excellence. I am particularly glad to see that Canada's first two documentary co-productions with Singapore were undertaken with the participation of an outstanding Canadian documentary producer. I wish all the best to our future partnerships with Singapore.''

Says Mr S Kumar, CEO of Crest Communication Singapore Pte Ltd, "This international effort has opened up opportunities in the entertainment industry for both countries. It is such pro-active efforts by SBA that are helping to develop Singapore as a creative and dynamic entertainment and media hub. Co-production provides creative companies invaluable opportunities for sharing of skills and will result in fabulous work. This project has been possible due to the excellent support offered by the SBA."

Editor's Note:
Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) is an active promoter of the broadcast industry in Singapore, and it is committed to developing Singapore as the premier broadcasting hub. One of SBA's efforts towards this goal is in participating and supporting activities and projects that promote and facilitate developments in the broadcasting industry.

Telefilm Canada is a federal cultural agency dedicated primarily to the development and promotion of the Canadian film, television and new media industry. The Corporation acts as one of the government's principal instruments for providing strategic leverage to the Canadian private sector.

Crest Communication Singapore Pte. Ltd. (Crest Singapore) is a part of the Crest Communication Ltd. a media and entertainment content provider is targeting the international markets. The Company will also soon be providing multimedia content for broadband in the Singapore market.



As news of Japan's imminent surrender spread, the inmates of Changi Prisoner of War camp rushed through the now unguarded gates headed for Singapore. Left behind were the sick, the dying, and camp medical officer Alexander Cockburn. Eight years before, Cockburn left his fiancée in Britain for a four-year contract as a colony pharmacist. For the last four years she had not known if he was alive of dead. He too hoped to reach Singapore and contact home, but nearly four years of brutal occupation had taken their toll. Tending to the sick he collapsed from exhaustion and was sent back to Britain. He would never see Singapore again. Smack between India and China, colonial Singapore was a beautiful, bustling city of business - Britain's far eastern pearl. It's surrender to Japanese forces in the Second World War has been called Britain's greatest military disaster;a stunning, humiliating defeat that shattered the myth of white superiority and effectively sabotaged Britain's colonial hold over the South Pacific. The young pharmacist Cockburn arrived at Singapore in time for a few twilight years of cultural splendour, only to be caught up in their swift, violent end. As a medical volunteer, Cockburn worked against the death and destruction caused by incessant Japanese bombing in Singapore as well as caring for those hurt in the jungle warfare on the Malay Peninsula. At the city's surrender, he witnessed brutal atrocities committed against the ethnic civilian communities, and then continued for three and a half years to live through horrific conditions in Japanese prisoner of war camps. This one-hour documentary will tell his story and, through it, that of Singapore itself throughout the Second World War. Mr. Cockburn, now living in Canada, will return to the Singapore for the first time since being shipped out of Changi at the war's end. Enhancing his story will be those of native Singaporeans who were also participants in the war. One of these, Mr. "Chip" Ghee Tan, now lives in Toronto. He and his family bore first-hand witness to conditions in civilian Singapore throughout the war, as well as knowing intimately the atrocities suffered by the city's Chinese population. We will also speak with witnesses in Singapore itself, Chinese, Indian, and Malay alike.

When Kodaim Ear smiles for the camera at his wedding in Regina this summer, he will be told yet again how much he resembles his father. But he can't be certain. He can't recall his parents' faces. His father, mother, and four siblings have long since disappeared - murdered in the terror that the Khmer Rouge revolution brought to his native Cambodia in 1975. In the five years that followed, his childhood also disappeared - lost in fear and hard labour, until a dangerous path of escape would lead him finally to Canada. Today, he is set to marry, to establish a foundation over the loss within his past. Yet even in this secure new beginning there is a gap he cannot fill. The images of terror won't leave his head;the faces of his parents won't come back. Kodaim Ear is returning to Cambodia to remember and tell his story, a story he has always wanted his Canadian friends to understand, but that he was never certain how to tell. By accompanying him back, well help him to share with his new country the story of his old one.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023