Her world, HerSay

She is one of the quartet of stars hosting Dubai One’s groundbreaking show HerSay.

By Mohamad Kadry

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Published: Sat 31 Jan 2009, 9:47 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:30 PM

She was recently awarded the Media Personality of the Year at the Masala Lifestyle awards, but for the outspoken Tia Singh the honeymoon seems to be over as she braces up to wade into uncharted waters in the show’s season two.

WHAT DOES IT mean to give voice to a city in a region that depends on cultural sensitivity while avoiding, for the most part, controversial topics and taboo issues?

Dubai is by no means a melting pot, but rather an amalgamation of societies and sects. While much of the world deals with segregated populations, and more importantly segregated ideas, the city thrives on the diversity of its residents as well as the ideas they bring with them.

HerSay, a local Dubai One TV programme based roughly on the American daytime show, The View, has a long way to go before countering Barbara Walter’s success. But for many in the region, it’s a huge step to empowering voices and raising vital issues that were all but ignored in the past.

One part of the show’s quartet of hosts is Tia Singh, an outspoken component that is on a mission to give light to people’s grievances.

Being part of the cast is awesome because I now understand more about the different cultures that coexist so happily in Dubai, she claimed. I know more about what’s happening with the different communities that live here because people traditionally tend to stick to their own kind and because of the show I’ve sort of realised everyone needs to break those boundaries and just hang out.

Dubai’s media world is still in its infancy, like much of the city that continues to grow at exponential rates. Glad to be a part of history, Tia initially turned down the job offer to complete university.

The job was still there, and in that sense it was destiny, she said. Initially I said no, and a year later it was still waiting for me.

It’s not the easiest thing to do a show where you want to tackle a lot of issues because there are things you just can’t say. That’s where your talent comes in because you’ve got to learn to get your point across without actually having to say it, she explained.

I hope we reach a stage where nothing is taboo to discuss here as long as you’re culturally sensitive. I would never want Dubai to become sensationalistic, she added.

In a city with hundreds of nationalities and ethnicities and millions of perspectives, are we really sewn into the same fabric or are we becoming a polarised state of cliques?

Very often I feel at the core, we all have the same values and we all want the same things, she explained, but we sometimes differ on how to get there.

From issues like the environment and child welfare to international causes like war and politics, HerSay is adapting to what it believes viewers want to see. A show that initially targeted women and lifestyle entertainment, Tia claims the cast is taking a more serious approach in using their platform in Season two.

The show is not about giving women a voice, it’s about giving a voice to anyone who needs to be heard or is doing anything worthwhile.

But how do you judge the success of a programme built on different opinions in a region built on conformity?

It may be measured by how reactive residents become to use the show as a platform for their own causes and passions. In glitzy and often superficial Dubai, many are crying out for a bit of raw debate.

My mind has opened up a lot, Tia claimed, recently crowned Media Personality of the Year by the Masala Lifestyle awards. My experiences have gotten so enriched because doing this gives you back so much more than you are giving it.

I manage to entertain and create awareness. For the longest time I was considered to be the ‘kid.’ One of the biggest challenges was fitting into the Dubai mould, she said.

I can’t do the air-kissing. My private time is me and my friends chilled out watching a movie. There are all these fancy events and I'm expected to be there, but I can’t be bothered, I’d rather be curled up at home.


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