STB shoots back at Criminal Minds for massacring Singapore's image

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is making a stand for our little island after the airing of a controversial episode of CBS’ Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

During the episode, the show makes several misrepresentations about the island. First, it refers to Singapore district Geylang as the “dark side of paradise” and an "overcrowded slum with a thriving underworld" (which is factually incorrect despite the area being known as a red light district). The show also used incorrect footage of Gluttons by the Bay when showcasing Geylang, which is located elsewhere on the island.

Since then STB has published a series of photographs on its Facebook page. Each photograph was accompanied with captions which took a jab and debunked most of the geographical and factual inaccuracies of Singapore portrayed in the Criminal Minds episode, which is called Cinderella and the Dragon.

Take a look:

In a statement to Marketing, Terrence Voon, director of digital and content over at STB said:

“A key thrust of our marketing strategy is to connect fans with the richness and depth of Singapore through storytelling. To do that on social media, we need to be agile and creative – and the Facebook post in response to the Criminal Minds episode is an example of that."

This is not the first time STB's digital content team has responded swiftly and smartly to defend our nation. In August last year, the team was lauded for responding to a Buzzfeed UK article which shamed Singapore’s loved ice cream sandwich, a snack which is often sold by carts located in central shopping district locally.

Voon said that the content that the board creates at speed in such situations has been enabled by its Destination Newsroom, a social media command centre which helps it to mine the latest trends and conversations for real-time insights and content ideas.”

Meanwhile, on the Criminal Minds episode, other places in Singapore which were dragged into the fray included Changi Airport and Kampong Glam, along with the inaccurate portrayal of the Singapore Police Force.  Following the airing of the episode, the show quickly came under fire with several netizens and media outlets calling out CBS for not doing their research.

The show was also slammed for misrepresenting Singapore and being misleading.

Meanwhile, a two-part reaction video by veteran blogger Mr Brown also made its rounds on the internet.

The first video alone garnered over 1 million views, 13,000 reactions, over 2,000 comments and 17,995 shares at the time of writing. Meanwhile, the second video has reached over 431,000 views, over 8,000 reactions, 7,633 shares and 1,000 comments at the time of writing.

The show also drew flak for the use of what it terms a “Singaporean proverb” which translates to “Where there is sea, there are pirates.”

We say, well done STB for standing up for this little island we call home!