Another movie produced and directed by highly acclaimed Singaporean filmmaker Tan Pin Pin is facing difficulties with the censors – this time with the Malaysian censors.
Singapore GaGa, a 55-minute paean to the quirkiness of the Singaporean aural landscape which features Singapore’s buskers, street vendors, and school cheerleaders, is banned by the Malaysian censors as they deemed that the movie “could be a “security threat” and “create doubt and restlessness” among citizens”, the filmmaker writes on her Facebook.
Pin Pin’s movie was supposed to be screened by Titian Budaya, a creative collaborative between Singapore and Malaysia, as part of its Singapore Film Festival in Malaysia from 14 – 17 January 2016.
The organisers of the Film Festival appealed to the chief censor of the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia, but the appeal was rejected last week.
The censors wanted to censor a part in the film where late Singaporean ventriloquist Victor Khoo (of ‘Victor and Charlee’ fame), says “animals” in Malay along with the subtitle of “animal” in Malay.
“This goes against the film Censorship guidelines Ministry of home affairs Part II:2.1.1 (v) Dialogue can create doubt and restlessness among citizens and finally may cause a security threat, disturbance of public peace and national defense”, the Malaysian censors tell the organisers.
“This is the part of the film where Victor Khoo and Charlee are entertaining kids and he teases the kids by calling them animals in Malay. I have decided to keep the film intact and hence would need to withdraw the film from the event, which I have done.
“Censorship is arbitrary and nonsensical. Security threat indeed!” Ms Tan said about the censorship on her Facebook.
In 2013, Pin Pin released an award-winning movie ‘To Singapore, With Love’, which revolves around political exiles, some of whom have not been home for as long as 50 years.
In September 2014, the Singapore censors refused to give the film a rating claiming that the movie undermined national security as “the individuals in the film have given distorted and untruthful accounts of how they came to leave Singapore and remain outside Singapore,” and that “a number of these self-professed ‘exiles’ were members of, or had provided support to, the proscribed Communist Party of Malaya.