Cultural Medallion winner Ivan Heng and his husband censored from Today newspaper’s special Valentine’s Day feature

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A newspaper owned by Mediacorp, Today, ran a special Valentine’s Day feature on office romance and of couples “who cohabit the work space, do the same things, or simply share the same passions”.

The newspaper spoke to several couples from the local arts scene, and those interviewed included Pangdemonium’s Adrian and Tracie Pang, Nine Years Theatre’s Nelson Chia and Mia Chee and Checkpoint Theatre’s Claire Wong and Huzir Sulaiman. Also featured were Charles Lim and Wee Li Lin from the visual arts circle.

One couple the journalist from the newspaper interviewed for the feature, but eventually left out of the publication, is Ivan Heng and his husband Tony Trickett. Ivan married Tony on 1 August 2014 at the Chelsea Old Town Hall in London.

This is not the first time a mainstream newspaper did not acknowledge Ivan’s partner.

The front-page Straits Times article of 2013 which featured the ceremony where the Theatre Director was awarded the Cultural Medallion (Singapore’s highest accolade for artists), despite mentioning the spouses of other winners in glowing terms, conspicuously left out Tony. That too, after Ivan publicly acknowledged and thanked Tony to great applause in his speech.

The acclaimed theatre actor and his husband Tony Trickett however, had in the past been invited to a banquet at Buckingham Palace in London hosted by Queen Elizabeth II herself.
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Commenting about the censorship of Ivan and Tony in Today newspaper, the Theatre Director said:

“Tony and I had agreed to be part of this Valentine’s Day feature, after journalist Mayo Martin reached out to us. We’ve been informed that the section featuring me and Tony was pulled at the last minute by the higher editors because “it didn’t fit with the rest of the profiles throughout the couples series of stories.”

We note that we were not even mentioned in the list of couples running theatre companies in the opening paragraphs. What could this mean? Would the higher editors care to identify themselves and explain their decision?”

The Independent Singapore wishes Ivan and Tony, as well as all lovers everywhere a Happy Valentine’s Day!