Race-sensitive Singapore lifts ban on satirical film

AFP , Friday 11 Jan 2013

Singapore allows the display of a previously-banned satirical film regarded as 'offensive' to the country's Indian minority

Singapore on Friday lifted a ban on a satirical film deemed "offensive" to the city-state's ethnic Indian minority but said producers would have to edit some portions and show it only to adults.

"Sex.Violence.FamilyValues", comprised of three short films, had been slapped with the ban in October after a review panel set up by the watchdog Media Development Authority (MDA) found some dialogues to be unacceptable.

The MDA was particularly concerned over one of the stories, "Porn Masala", about an ethnic Indian man hired for an X-rated film by an ethnic Chinese director.

The MDA said in a press release that it had "considered the producers' representations, as well as the views of the MDA's advisory panels and interested members of the public" before lifting the ban.

The movie would be allowed for exhibition under a "Restricted 21 (R21) classification with edits", the release stated, for moviegoers aged 21 years and above.

The film's producers, The Butter Factory, said in a press release that the MDA's edits included "beeps and mutes" on dialogues it deemed offensive.

The movie's director Ken Kwek told AFP by email that he was glad the ban had been lifted even though the edits and audience restriction were "not ideal" for a filmmaker.

"But these options are better than an outright ban," he said.

"Between being poked in the eye and kicked in the groin, I'll take the poke in the eye."

Singapore has relaxed censorship rules on film nudity and violence in recent years. But it has strict laws against inciting racial or religious hatred in a predominantly ethnic Chinese society with Malay and Indian minorities.

Short link: