Monday, September 22, 2014

Defiant Singaporeans view banned film in Malaysia

Singaporeans travel to view banned film in Malaysia 
By Bhavan Jaipragas | AFP News – Sat, Sep 20, 2014

Hundreds of defiant Singaporeans protesting censorship gathered in Malaysia on Friday to see a documentary banned by regulators in their home country as a threat to national security.

The film, "To Singapore, with Love", examines the case of political exiles in the city-state and features interviews with nine former activists, student leaders, and self-confessed communists who fled Singapore from the 1960s until the 1980s and are currently settled in Malaysia, Britain and Thailand.

Organisers estimated 400 people watched the screening, saying most of the audience was made up of Singaporeans who had crossed the border to view the production in the southern Malaysian city of Johor Bharu.

The Media Development Authority (MDA), Singapore's media regulator, on September 10 banned the documentary, saying it provided a "distorted and untruthful" account of the exiles' situation.

It said the film's contents undermined national security because it showed "legitimate actions of the security agencies to protect the national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimised innocent individuals".

According to the Singapore government, a number of the exiles featured in the film were former members of the Communist Party of Malaya, which had sought to overthrow governments in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1950s and 1960s.

Singapore became independent from the Malaysian federation in 1965.

"I am disappointed by the reaction of the MDA, I wish it was otherwise of course...I spent a lot of time making it and really would have liked this film to have been seen (in Singapore)," director Tan Pin Pin told the audience in remarks after the screening.

- Indignance at Singapore's censorship -

Tan added that she was weighing her options, including launching an appeal and holding "private screenings".

The production has been screened at film festivals in Germany, Dubai, South Korea and the United States, and will be shown at the SEA ArtsFest in London in October.

Singaporeans at the Malaysia screening, part of a "Freedom Filmfest", said the relatively large turnout by their compatriots despite the hassle of having to travel to Malaysia, signified indignance in the city-state over the film's censorship.

"The interest is evident in the number of people here, over 400 who turned up in Johor Bharu on a weekday afternoon," said 24-year-old university student Lim Jialiang.

"After watching the film now, it is difficult for me to imagine why the film had to be banned," he added.

The 70-minute documentary drew loud applause from the audience at the end of the screening.

The exiles featured in the film -- all aged 60 or older -- gave vivid details of how they left Singapore and of their current lives, with most expressing a longing to return home permanently.

Singapore, ruled by the same party since 1959, has relaxed strict social controls including media censorship in recent years, but continues to impose stringent regulations on films that discuss local politics.

The government previously banned two films about prominent ex-political detainees produced by local filmmaker Martyn See in 2007 and 2010.

Further readings : 

Yale-NUS shelves plan to screen To Singapore, With Love

Yale-NUS changes course on banned film

Tan to Yale-NUS: You may not screen banned film

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

20 films that undermine the national security of Singapore

In banning the documentary 'To Singapore, With Love', the government reasoned that the film "undermines national security because legitimate actions of the security agencies to protect the national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimised innocent individuals".

Here are 19 other films that fit the above description of undermining the national security of Singapore.

1. One Nation Under Lee

2. Tan Wah Piow on the 'Marxist Conspiracy'

3. A conversation with Tan Wah Piow (Parts I and ll)

4. Francis Seow : The Interview

5. Abolish ISA - Singapore

6. Dr Lim Hock Siew (banned in Singapore)

7. Zahari's 17 Years (banned in Singapore)

8. Exiled Singapore Politician - Wong Soon Fong:

9. Ex-ISA detainee issues challenge to Dr Tony Tan

10. The Price of Freedom in Singapore - 
ISA fugitive Francis Khoo

11. Dr Lim Hock Siew speaking at 
Said Zahari's book launch 1st July 2007

12. Vincent Cheng's speech at the SDP rally on 2 May, 2011

13. Teo Soh Lung at the 50th Anniversary of Operation Coldstore

14. Teo Soh Lung speaks out

15. Operation Coldstore Book launch 
(Parts 1 & ll)
Dr Thum Ping Tjin

16. Dr Poh Soo Kai at the 50th Anniversary of Operation Coldstore

17. Q & A Session with Dr. Poh Soo Kai

18. Operation Coldstore Roundtable - 
Dr Poh Soo Kai calls ISA detentions "crimes against humanity" 
(Parts 1 to lV)

19. Lies of the "Marxist Conspiracy" 
by Vincent Wijeysingha (Parts l & ll)


Watch also :

CNA report : ISA should be abolished, say former detainees

Top 100 Political Videos (that are likely to be banned in Singapore)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Singapore bans film on political exiles 'To Singapore With Love'

Singapore bans local documentary on political exiles 

AFP – Wed, Sep 10, 2014 Singapore

Singapore on Wednesday banned a local documentary about nine dissidents living in exile, saying its contents undermined national security.

The film "To Singapore, with Love", directed by Singaporean director Tan Pin Pin, features interviews with the former activists and student leaders who fled Singapore from the 1960s until the 1980s and are currently settled in countries including Britain and Thailand.

The 70-minute documentary was released in December last year and has been screened at film festivals in Germany, Dubai, South Korea and the United States. Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) said in a statement it had "assessed that the contents of the film undermine national security because legitimate actions of the security agencies to protect the national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimised innocent individuals".

It said a number of the exiles were former members of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) which had sought to overthrow governments in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1950s and 1960s. "The individuals in the film have given distorted and untruthful accounts of how they came to leave Singapore and remain outside Singapore," the media regulator added.

MDA said the individuals were not denied the right to return to Singapore or forced to leave the city-state, as was portrayed in the movie. "The government has made it clear that it would allow former CPM members to return to Singapore if they agree to be interviewed by the authorities on their past activities to resolve their cases," it said.

 - 'Very disappointed' -

 A description posted on the film's official website said the documentary explores how the exiles "lived their lives away and how they still view the Singapore of their dreams". "They are now in their 60s to 80s. Some were activists, student leaders, others were card carrying communists," it said.

Tan, the film's director, said she was "very disappointed that my film is banned".

"By doing this, MDA is taking away an opportunity for us Singaporeans to see it and have a conversation about it and our past," she said in a Facebook post. "We need to be trusted to be able find the answers about ourselves, for ourselves," she added.

But Singapore's information minister Yaacob Ibrahim said he supported the media regulator's decision. "Individuals who have chosen to leave and remain outside Singapore, and refused to account for their past actions, should not enjoy a public platform to purvey distorted and untruthful accounts to mislead the public, absolve themselves or deny their past actions," he said in a statement on Facebook.

 Malaysia gained independence in 1957 and Singapore in 1965, both from Britain, after brief periods of self-rule. The Southeast Asian city-state famous for strict social controls has relaxed censorship rules in recent years, but maintains strict regulations on films that discuss local politics.

 In 2010, the government ordered Singaporean filmmaker Martyn See to take down a YouTube video of a rare public talk by Lim Hock Siew, a doctor and activist held from 1963 to 1982 during then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's rule.

In 2007, it banned a film by See on another political detainee, Said Zahari, a journalist. Zahari and Lim were among more than 100 people alleged to be communists by Lee's government and rounded up in the early 1960s.


Singapore’s banned film on exiles to be screened in Malaysia

Freedom Film Festival

Singapore bans local documentary on political exiles

No screening for documentary due to MDA’s delay


Further readings :

Tan Pin Pin's film To Singapore, With Love not to be shown in public
‘To Singapore, With Love’ documentary screenings banned by MDA
Film About Exiles Is Banned in Singapore
‘To Singapore With Love’ banned in its home country
Statement by civil society on MDA’s decision to ban local film, “To Singapore, with love”
Singapore artists urge overturn of documentary ban
Ban on film contrary to what SG50 promised
Don’t tell us what is true, let us judge by opening official records
MDA, Let the People Judge
Film on exiles – MDA explains what “purely private” means

Friday, August 29, 2014

The nature of PAP's governance is "a continuation of colonial rule"

This is probably the most important speech you will NOT hear in the SG50 celebrations next year.

Historian PJ Thum exposes the 3 Myths of Vulnerability, Development and Meritocracy and calls the PAP Government an "imperial government and a continuation of colonial rule"


"So if you're the first Prime Minister of Singapore. You have just been handed power by the British. Where does your legitimacy come from? You're not an indigenous people. You've won an election under very dubious circumstances where you put your political opponents into cold storage. So what do you do? You take a leaf out of the previous colonial government. You reject democracy, you suspend individual rights, you continue to cripple all sorts of safeguards against your exercise of State power etc. by arguing that Singapore is an exceptional case, by arguing for Singaporean exceptionalism. Why? You use the three myths of development, vulnerability and meritocracy."


"By 1950, Singapore was the richest country in Asia. The only country in Asia that was richer than Singapore was metropolitan Tokyo. It was famous then for everything that we are famous for today - tall buildings, wide boulevards, clean drinking water. We had more cars per capita than anywhere in Asia. We were famous for being a trading port, an offshore financial centre, a specialised commodities futures centre, world market for rubber and tin, an oil distribution centre. Lee Kuan Yew himself in 1960 as his electoral fortunes declined as he got more and more unpopular, kept going around saying, "Look, Singapore has the highest income in Asia." If you read the Straits Times in 1960 he kept saying this to point out how good we were doing."


"The PAP's first generation, the Old Guards as we celebrate so much, was an example of how great leadership and talent can be found from people of all backgrounds regardless of education and upbringing. But after the party split several times in the 50s and early 60s, the leadership needed people they could trust to fill the ranks and so they turn to people who are like them - friends, colleagues, relatives - people with talent and who were smart but who thought very much like the leaders of the PAP. So power became concentrated in the hands of a narrow elite. And over time this has meant homogenity of thoughts, values and experiences. They think alike, they feel alike, they believe the same things. Multiple studies on Singapore's elite have shown that the strongest determinant of elite status in Singapore is the proximity to the PAP leadership. The elite is overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly ethnic Chinese, overwhelmingly upper class; they attend a narrow range of schools, something like 90% of scholarship holders come from just 4 schools. Because a majority of them were male, most of them would have actively served in the military as scholar officers. Don't get me wrong. Within this elite, competition is very fierce and is meritocratic. But to get in there is an accident by birth and the rest of Singaporeans are excluded by definition from the very beginning. So you have a pre-selected elite who don't know that they are the pre-selected elite, who within the competition of this pre-selected elite, believed that they have gotten to where they are through hard work and therefore they owe nothing to the rest of society for their position.."


"The PAP has abandoned attempts to restore democratic normality and instead have reasserted Singapore's exceptionalism.
Singapore's vulnerability was emphasised. Legislative authority was used to legitimise regulatory oppression. The media was suppressed and a monopoly was asserted over public discourse. Opposition has been depicted as subversive and detention without trial has been used to remove the leadership of the political opposition.

To maintain the three myths, the PAP, like the British, have used instruments of intellectual and legislative control. Over the decades the PAP has gone further than the British in implementing colonial policies in destroying Chinese education, shutting down Nantah, ending all Chinese schools..

To me the really sad thing is Singapore democracy really worked from 1955 to 1963 when Singaporeans went to the polls on an average of once a year. And out of this short period emerged policies that made Singapore world-famous today - HDB, CPF, industrialisation, a tri-lingual education system that produced a reasonably talented second generation of PAP leadership. But after the PAP's absolute control in 1968, what do we have? We have Stop At Two, the second industrial revolution where GDP dropped 10% in just one year, we have a CPF that's constantly being fiddled with.. And that is a product of a lack of democracy, a lack of debate, a lack of dissent and a lack of new ideas in the government.

The nature of our governance in Singapore today is an imperial government. It is a continuation of colonial rule."