Spandau Ballet star comes to Singapore man's rescue in radio row

Lawrence Kim
May 23, 2020

When Singaporean man Muhammad Shalehan was denied the $10,000 prize (£5,760; US$7,060), the Spandau Ballet singer himself despatched a video of help.

But the radio station remained adamant Mr Shalehan was unsuitable - till now.

Mr Shalehan - a father of three, with a new baby due in August - told the BBC he was "so shocked" but "so happy".

Shalehan is in the worldwide spotlight after celebrity Tony Hadley backed his bid to claim a $10,000 prize from radio station Gold 905.

Hadley said there may have been a slight accent, "but as far as I'm concerned you said my name correctly, so you should be entitled to whatever the prize was".

After "hundreds of attempts", he got on air on April 21 to give his best shot at the Celebrity Name Drop challenge hosted by Gold 905.

The 14 celebrities are Tony Hadley, Madonna, Maggie Wheeler, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, David Bowie, Belinda Carlisle, Julie Andrews, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Meryl Streep, Michael Buble and Rebecca Lim.

The issue arose after listener Muhammad Shalehan called into the competition to be told he answered incorrectly, while another listener dialled in with the same answers, later on, to be told they had won.

To Mr Shalehan's amazement, the Spandau Ballet singer replied with a video, endorsing the pronunciation.

But on 6 May, another caller said the exact same answers - and was awarded the $10,000.

On Friday, Gold 905 said they were "deeply sorry" and awarded the money.

"Second, once Tony Hadley himself confirmed that the pronunciation was correct, it should have apologised and made Mr Shalehan the rightful victor then". "I've listened back to the tape and as far as I'm concerned you pronounced my name absolutely correctly", Hadley, 59, said in the video, which Shalehan posted on Facebook.

Mr Muhammad Shalehan was backed by English singer-songwriter Tony Hadley, who said the SMRT train captain had pronounced
A Singaporean radio listener was denied $10,000 quiz prize for 'mispronouncing' Tony Hadley's name; then the station caved in to criticism

Mr Shalehan despatched the video to the radio station, however they have been unmoved.

Muhammad later revealed that the "token of appreciation" from the station amounted to a S$5,000 compensation, but he remained convinced that he had been judged unfairly and was the rightful victor of the original prize.

When saying the "goodwill gesture", the station posted a clip of Mr Shalehan's pronunciation, alongside Tony Hadley's model, and the profitable entry.

"I'm not after the money", he said. "I'm after the fairness, the equality, the justice of the game".

In a statement posted on Gold 905's Facebook page on Friday (22 May), the radio station said, "Thank you for all your feedback and posts".

The story was initially coated in early May by Singapore web site Hype and Stuff, however gathered momentum after Mr Hadley's intervention.

By Friday morning, the station had reversed their resolution. "That was my last fighting chance", said the 32-year-old train driver. We have reached out to Mr Shalehan again to convey that we. The full prize of $10,000 cash and shopping spree will also be awarded to Mr Shalehan.

"I was so shocked", he stated. I hope this serves as an inspiration to others, that you do not just shut up because of some money. If there was any doubt as to who (Mr Shalehan) was referring to, you could have made him spell out the name.

"When my wife told him the news, he was literally shouting with happiness", he said.

The case got global attention and Muhammad was even interviewed by BBC Three Counties Radio to discuss the dispute between him and Gold 905.

Mr Shalehan says he did not accept that offer because it did not come with an apology saying that the rules were not well explained and were not applied fairly.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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