Jin Yinji’s Victory: PR Stunt, ‘Self-fulfilling Prophecy’ or Real Win?

Image: Facebook (Channel NewsAsia)

In the past, people would circle a date in a calendar and write this: “Star Awards; must rush home to watch!”

With TV being our only source of entertainment, Star Awards is like the biggest show of all local shows: some of us were so obsessed, we would call in every day to vote for our favourite celebrity.

I still remember how it works: you picked up the phone, called a number and hoped sheepishly to hear an automated thank-you speech from your idol, follow by a whip of cane from your parents. This went on every day until you saw your idol up on the stage, thanking you for voting for him.

Good old days when Xie Shao Guang, Chan Han Wei or Li Nanxing were the Ah Ges.

Now? I can’t even remember when is the last time I switch on the TV.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the other one who isn’t interested anymore: this morning, I asked my colleagues if they’ve watched it and they didn’t: instead, they just knew about Jin Yinji.

Which, of course, makes me (and many other people) wonder: this Jin Yinji thingy, is it just a PR stunt?

The History

Long story cut short, Jin Yinji is a veteran actress who has been with MediaCorp for 30 years (i.e. I wasn’t even born and she’s already acting).

Last year, she was allegedly offered a renewal of contract that is 1/3 of her current pay, and was insulted as someone claimed that they’ll rather hire someone who’s paid $50 per hour than her.

The more interesting part? She revealed this to Lianhe Zaobao, Mediacorp’s rival.

That grabbed headlines immediately, but then Mediacorp responded.

The 1/3 pay cut is, to put it simply, the basic pay, so with more projects, she might earn more (it’s like sales job: cut basic pay but they can be covered by commissions). As for the “$50-per-hour” insult, it turned out that it was made 10 years ago by someone who has no authority on hiring.

Ah Hock loved Michelle and asked her, ‘Ai stead mai?’ in the 90s. Today, he tried again but would it work? Prepare some tissue paper and watch their love story here:

In other words, Mediacorp angled it as a misunderstanding.

The story slowly lost its grip and people forgot about it.

Then, Yesterday

The Top 10 Most Popular Female (and Male) Artistes Award is one of the most coveted awards: it shows how popular a celebrity is that year.

And everyone would agree that for any celebrity, popularity is more important than skills. Just look at some popular celebrities’ acting: their wooden performances still land them countless roles (not that I can act for shit, but you get the idea).

Usually, these awards are reserved for young and popular celebrities. Take a look at last year’s winners:

  • Rebecca Lim (31 years old but looks 25)
  • Paige Chua (36 years old but looks 25)
  • Jesseca Liu (39 years old but looks 25)
  • Jayley Woo (26 years old)
  • Carrie Wong (24 years old)
  • Felicia Chin (33 years old but looks 16)
  • Sora Ma (34 years old but looks 25)
  • Tong Bingyu (34 years old…and okay, looks 34)
  • Ya Hui (30 years old)
  • Kym Ng (50 years old – the only exception here)

Other than Kym Ng, whom we love for her bubbly character though I myself am surprised that she’s already 50, the rest are young-looking, pretty and have prominent roles in dramas.

Jin Yinji is an extremely good actress (no one would deny that), but other than supporting roles, usually as a grandmother, she doesn’t exactly fit into the winners’ list.

And yet, she won. For the first time, in fact.

PR Stunt, ‘Self-fulfilling Prophecy’ or Real Win?

Now, here’s a disclaimer: she absolutely deserves the win. In fact, she should have won it years ago, together with other veteran actors.

But here’s the question: Why now?

One can’t help but to ask this question: is it a PR stunt?

If you’re been following the YouTube scene, you’ll know that the entertainment scene is like a snapshot from WWE: YouTubers are creating personas outside of their contents to gain attention. Take, for example, the (in)famous Logan Paul: to garner more views, he’s going to have a real boxing match with another YouTuber in August 2018.

Drama confined within a screen is no longer going to cut it for them: they need drama in their life, whether it’s real or fake, for more views.

And views = popularly. You can’t refute that.

But then again, it can’t be: the results of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes Award aren’t determined by one person, but through two factors: one through public voting and one through an independent market research company that conducted survey of 1,000 people.

It’s not by a panel of judges who can be influenced, but a numbers game. And like what businessmen often said, “Numbers are the best feedback; they don’t lie.”

If it isn’t a PR stunt, then what is it?

Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s self-fulfilling prophecy. Or something along that line.

You see, not many people know about her until the fiasco occurred. That parachuted her name into people’s mind: from a third-person POV, it looks like she’s the victim. It helps when various Mediacorp artistes leave the company, further cementing her allegations.

Self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when one thinks of something (e.g. she deserves more and should win) and it happens because he or she did things to make it happen (she wins).

So, were people voting for her because they thought she deserve it? And so, she received the award that was due to her years ago?

We won’t know. Or maybe we’ll know during Star Awards 2019 – by then, memories of her contractual disagreement would have been completely forgotten by people, and if she wins again, it shows that she’s really in the popularity game.

Or maybe it’s a real win.

That after 30 years, people finally remember her.

If that is so, that’s ambivalent: on one side, you’re happy for her and on the other side, you realize she took 30 years to gain your support.

Do come back tomorrow for more commentary!