"Litigation is not the way to go" - the President of the Singapore Dental association said in the Straits Times' Forum (March 20, 2003).
Ironic that the head of folks dealing with teeth should make such a remark considering that our masters with teeth are prone to believe and practise otherwise. Sigh. Such is the truth about symbolism-watching on these shores: a pain (and a tooth-ache) to those who see. Moral of the story is - we should never look at the mouth. Besides, poet Alfian Sa'at thinks we ain't got one anyway. (We've only got mouthpieces but what a-plenty at that!).
So Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was looking forward to playing in Singapore again (ST, March 20, 2003). Wonder if he knows that Sticky Fingers is (still) banned (if it's been un-banned, we're not told). Oh, and about how he heard firecrackers the previous time the Stones came to Singapore during Chinese New Year, maybe somebody should tell him that funky as we are now, it ain't ever gonna happen anymore. We may be loud but we don't come with that kind of a bang!
Just when you thought I'm always overstating my gripes - like the one about David Cronenberg's The Naked Lunch being snipped to pass with a PG-rating on these shores many years ago, along come the latest scissor-works on Chicago and The Hours to appall film-buffs and prove my point again. 11 cuts were made on Chicago to delete scenes of a couple humping (fully clothed) and for a line in a song mentioning "screwing". In The Hours, all the scenes where the three female leads kissed another woman were cut. Justified?
Sure. The censors have a job to do, and who's to argue about the rules laid down by the authorities in relation to protecting ASIAN FAMILY VALUES, especially those against homosexuality. Besides, in our cover-backside system, the censors have a great 'excuse' - the distributors of the two films had pushed for a PG-rating, mah. But even if The Hours were granted an R(A)-rating, the kissing scenes between females would still be censored because R(A) doesn't mean suspending censorship. Now, 'clever' Singaporeans are referring to The Hours as "that lesbian movie".
For a country like Singapore, which constantly aims for transparency to maintain an upright system, the law against homosexuality (even between consenting adults) is baffling. Baffling because if the law believes that homo-sex (-the activity) is a crime against nature and society, why then are half-a-dozen gay saunas ALLOWED to thrive in our midst?
That's like declaring gambling to be illegal yet closing one eye to a handful of favorite gamblers' haunts. (The officials don't know? Are they that inefficient?). In the name of righteous transparency, it just doesn't gel. Or, are the reasons for the 'liberal prohibition' really economic to begin with? - as in retaining our nation's 'pink' dollar, not to mention attracting the foreign ones. Fine if it is. But don't belabor us with the morality issue. It's very tiresome and - read my lips - painfully hypocritical.
For a film like The Hours made with adult-themes, surely we have the cow sense for it to be restricted to adult viewing. But no, the distributors here believe it can appeal to all (we know that to mean wanting to reap bigger profits at the box-office). So that's like the same rationale for The Naked Lunch going PG a decade ago. The Naked Lunch - PG! How intelligent. And with "the hours", how we've progressed!
Alas-alas. I realise how wrong my above arguments are. All the censorship and PG-preferences made on Chicago and The Hours are more than justified and valid. Why? Simply because Singapore truly believes in doing things for our young. We love them so much we don't want to deprive them of viewing those Oscar movies. Our future leaders should be let in on a good picture. Let no youngster be afraid of Virginia Woolf, especially since we are now all about PROMOTING the ARTS.
hear it for the scissors! X'Ho
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