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Singaporean agency boss calls on MediaCorp to ‘loosen up’ rules blocking foreign talent from entering Cannes Young Lions competition

David TangThe boss of one of Singapore’s top advertising agencies has spoken out against the decision made by MediaCorp to exclude foreign talent from a competition for young creatives to compete at Cannes Lions, the world’s top ad show.

National broadcaster MediaCorp is running a competition that will select who will represent Singapore at Cannes in the Young Lions creative shoot-out in June. It emerged today that entries would be limited to Singaporeans and permanent residents because of a government drive to support local talent.

But David Tang, the long-time CEO of DDB Singapore who is one of only a few Singaporean bosses of a major ad agency in the city-state, told Mumbrella that locals creatives should compete with foreign talent in the Young Lions to help them “learn and grow”.

Tang said: “I think it’s the inevitable destiny of Singaporeans to plug into the world and compete on the world stage. I think our Young Lions should compete with young foreign talent here in Singapore. They will learn and they will grow.”

“Let’s not be too protective. And for goodness sake, this is a fun competition – I think MediaCorp should loosen up. Besides, we have some pretty good Young Lions born-and-bred in Singapore.”

“Our lions need to grow some guts,” he said.

His comments come after MediaCorp told Mumbrella earlier today that foreign talent not permanently based in Singapore would not be allowed to enter.

The company said: “In line with the government’s call to strengthen the core of Singaporean talents in key sectors, as well as Design Council’s strategy to groom local talents, the eligibility criteria of the competition has been altered to allow submissions from only Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.”

To be eligible for the Young Lions competition at the Cannes Lions, the rules do not insist that a country representative has to be a citizen of that country.

Cannes Lions has said that they were unaware of the rule changes in Singapore, and have “very little involvement” in how the candidates are chosen.

The deadline for entries for Singapore’s Young Creatives competition is Monday, 14 April.

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