5 Aug 2006

Singapore bans play for negative portrayal of Muslims

Arts Hub? Starting to sound like Singapore is the censorship capital of the world.
Sat Aug 5, 2006 11:45 AM IST

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore authorities banned a play just hours before it was due to be staged because it portrayed Muslims in a negative light, local media said on Saturday.

In its first banning of a play since its was formed in 2003, the government's Media Development Authority said it was withdrawing the performance licence for "Smegma" as it was "insensitive and inappropriate for staging", the Today paper said on Saturday.

"Smegma undermines the values underpinning Singapore's multi-racial, multi-religious society. The play portrays Muslims in a negative light," the media authority was quoted as saying in Today.

The media authority, which initially agreed to the public performance of "Smegma", back-peddled on Friday and said it was worried that the play "could create unhappiness and disaffection amongst Muslims", the newspaper reported.

According to the Singapore law, all public performances must be approved and licenced by a government-appointed official.

Both the media authority and "Smegma" playwright P Elangovan could not be reached for comment on Saturday, but Elangovan was quoted as saying in Today that he was "unsurprised" by the ban.

His play "Talaq", about rape within an Indian Muslim marriage, was also banned in Singapore in 2000, according to the paper.

The paper said "Smegma", which was full of expletives, included depictions of Singaporeans' overseas sexual romps with under-age girls, a class of young children calling a Member of Parliament a pig, and an analyses of the Singapore national flag.

Singapore authorities regularly censor content deemed too salacious or too sensitive for public viewing, saying censorship is needed to reflect the country's social norms and values.

The city-state ordered a theatre director to remove all references to the death penalty in December last year, a day after it executed an Australian drug smuggler amid much public controversy.


Niklas S. said...

The media authority, which initially agreed to the public performance of "Smegma", back-peddled on Friday and said it was worried that the play "could create unhappiness and disaffection amongst Muslims", the newspaper reported.

How indeed. Muslims don't even watch plays.

Actually it's not that surprising that there's so much deference toward Muslims in Singapore. Most of them are probably innately violent. Just look at the Middle East or Indonesia. Or think: 9/11, the Bali bombings, Madrid Railway bombing, the London bombings, various Indian train bombings. There's only a thin line between moderation and fundamentalism for them, not to mention most of them are easily impressionable and hardly educated. Offend them and they might just blow you up.

Anonymous said...

now how about a few jokes and insults about Bush? he likes to send armies

Anonymous said...

the muslims do like to but the 'fun' in 'fundamentalism' dont they? they also put the 'mental' in 'fundamentalism' as well. Great bunch of people they are.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Someone wrote a play called SMEGMA??... Damn. Post Modernist Singapore?

And a government who can't "get with it"...

Damn. That's a tragic comedy ;-)

Anonymous said...

once again singapore censorship hits the healines. this time we mkust hot hurt the feelings of the nutty muslims, they may go wild and cut all the chinese throats.

the government seems to bend over backwards to please the bloody race of the unbalanced uneducated idiots.

now i will be called racist.

Anonymous said...

not quite; muslims are not a race; some muslims are chinese; some are
karzak, pakistani, indonesian, afro-american, even white american

bigot, but not racist (yet)

Anonymous said...

my stupid litte anon friend, I am refaring to Singapore Malays, muslims.

Anonymous said...

the sacked ST journalist plays with words; me too; bigot, not racist (yet)

Anonymous said...

Haha I do wonder if people get a kick out of posting racist remarks here.

As I do wonder why I am wasting my time.

I do sometimes hope that our racial harmony (tolerance or whatever else you want to call it) goes down the drain again, so that people really start to understand why it's so bloody important in the first place.

I have a few more nasty comments to make but I shall just stop here.

- Impassioned Singapore

Anonymous said...

anon, why have you got such a thing about racial remarks? I live in a larsge European country, our government does not spend the time saaying we must love our resident chink, muslim, india, yid etc. everyody lives together in harmony. Racial attacks do happen, but are ignored, not picked up by a bloody weak government like you have in singapore., who spend their time preaching you must love your fellow muslim or else.

what the hell are they scared off. most cities today are multi cultural happy to live side by side.

singapore seems to have one big chip on its little shoulder which in the end will sink it.

tragic for such a country that could have done ever better without such mindless stringent control on it's poor fucking people.

Anonymous said...

None racist, bollocks. the whole bloody island it riddles with hiddeen racial hatred, the problem is the government are spending more time protecting nthe malay secter than the rest. i wonder why?

w1nd said...

be careful there everybody
There IS racism .
it DOES exist.
but its just kept under very tight wraps.

For me as a former student in the education system (I'm abroad), there were (and are still) occurances of racism.
They're just kept under wraps by the schools.
Nobody wants a repeat of the race riots of a few decades ago.