7 May 2005

Film-maker now under police probe


12pm, 6 May 2005 - I received a call on my mobile from Assistant Superintendent Chan Peng Kuang from the Central Police Station informing me that the police had obtained a copy of 'Singapore Rebel' and is in the process of "investigation" although he did not disclose on what charge.

In a civil and almost apologetic tone, he asked if we could meet on Tuesday 10 of May. I replied that I was working that day and asked to meet tomorrow morning (7 may 2005) instead. He then replied that he would be overseas and would make time for the "interview" at my convenience. So the date is fixed for the "interview" on Tuesday at 7pm at the Central Police Station on Cantonment Road.

He asked too if the Singapore International Film Festival has acknowledgement slips to verify my submission of 'Singapore Rebel' for the short film competition. And then added another query as to whether other person(s) were involved in the production process. After I replied that both answers were negative, he expressed relief at the answer to his second question, to which I can only venture that his relief stems from the thought that he doesn't need to interview anyone else but me.

'Singapore Rebel' was withdrawn from the SIFF on March 11 after a phone call from its director Lesley Ho. At no point did I hear from the Board of Film Censors or from any department of the Government. This is my first direct contact with the authorities since the withdrawal.

Email me at singapore_rebel@yahoo.com (Need all the advice I can get)

Martyn See

The crackdown is in full swing. So much for letting a hundred flowers bloom. I smell an 'election' coming.

The article below takes you to a trailer of the offending documentary...

The two links below will take you to a trailer of Singapore Rebel. The production quality of these wav. files is in no way representative of the high quality production that the entire documentary meets. This is only a very small trailer and is not the entire documentary. I have no intention of uploading the entire documentary.

The wav. files last approximately 1 minute and 16 seconds in length and you will need to turn up the volume on your PC.

Once you have been taken to the page, click the download options illustrated in this picture....

For those of you WITHOUT broadband click here.

For those of you WITH broadband click here

If you want to read up on the documentary read the article below which was posted on Singabloodypore before, also visit singaporerebel.blogspot.com to learn more..

Tuesday March 22, 2005

A film-maker has withdrawn his documentary about Singapore's leading opposition figure from the city-state's annual film festival, after the government warned him its political content could land him in jail.

Martyn See's short film focuses on Chee Soon Juan, a frequent government critic who was ordered to pay S$500,000 (£160,875) to Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, and former leader Goh Chok Tong for defamation during the 2001 elections.

See decided to pull his movie from the Singapore international film festival after the country's censorship board warned him he could be jailed for up to two years or fined if his 26-minute film was screened.

Singapore's the Straits Times reports that the board had also advised festival organisers to remove See's documentary because it was a "party political film." Under Singaporean law, local films that "contain wholly or partly either partisan or biased references to or comments on any political matter" are banned, the paper added.

Despite its strictly controlled media, Singapore has been seeking to promote itself as a centre of Asian arts, with the international film festival one of its cultural highlights. Still, Singapore regularly bans movies, on the grounds that it needs to maintain ethnic and religious harmony in the south-east Asian country of four million.
From the Guardian Newspaper

Well there goes the promotion of Singapore as a centre of Asian arts. And all despite the recent call for a Singaporean Michael Moore by youth and media conference .

"In attendance was Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam some speakers referred "to how wacky political websites and show business figures such as film-maker Michael Moore led the way in encouraging turnout among young voters during last year's US presidential elections."


meLis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
meLis said...

Sad to say and know that many film makers or those involved in theatre arts are under such scrutiny. It'll be hard to see the development/improvement of Singapore arts.

akikonomu said...

Copycat bureaucrats. All they needed was someone to start the ball rolling - Chen Zhan first, castigated by Singaporean bloggers for racism; then AcidFlask, targetted by Singapore's John Bolton. Mandarins unsure of whether the name of the game is "liberalise" or "repress" then follow on, one after another.

Assuming the police have a full copy of Singapore Rebel, and assuming it has not been distributed, then it follows they got their copy from the SIFF, as part of 'routine interviews'.

Is the coverage of the film in Mr McDermott's blog to blame? The police may not have cracked down if this blog hadn't mentioned possible avenues for Martyn See to either secure an overseas screening or find a way to get it shown to Singaporeans.

Our police will display extrajudiciary powers beyond Singapore with this case. I predict Mr See will be made to issue a statement promising not to ever distribute this even overseas, and to destroy all copies.

I'm not saying it's your fault, Steve...

malaysian in singapore said...

No matter how much the Singaporean govenment claims to be opening up to liberal arts, they won't make it easy for anyone who wishes to jeopardise the government's political stronghold on local media. Little wonder Singaporeans show apathy to political issues. It doesn't make any difference to debate on anything the govenment decides to do. A Singaporean Michael Moore to emerge? I doubt so.