Michael On Everything Else

Censorship In Singapore

In addition to recently hitting the censorship wall, I’ve also read a couple of articles about censorship in Singapore. I came across the two articles while scanning through Flipboard.

The first article entails steps by the Singaporean government to restrict public servants from accessing the Internet while at work:

Public servants in Singapore will be blocked from accessing the internet on work computers from May next year.

The moves aims to plug "potential leaks from work e-mails and shared documents amid heightened security threats," the Straits Times newspaper said.

Officials said employees across government would also be barred from forwarding any work-related information to personal emails.

The justification for the censorship is:

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), the agency in charge of the change, said it would guard against cyber-attacks and create a "more secure working environment", Channel News Asia reported.

The second article I read is about the Singaporean government censoring the musical Les Miserables, which has a scene in which two men kiss.

The show’s organizer, MediaCorp VizPro, said the “peck on the lips” during the song “Beggars at the Feast” was supposed to be comical, but Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA) said the action was never included in the script when submitted for review and classification, the BBC reports. It therefore violated the General rating given to the musical.

We often see on TV where same-sex kisses or even the mention of an homosexual act can be censored, even if the contact is contextually not homosexual. It’s also common for words such as jihad or jihadi to be censored (we experienced this while watching episodes of Homeland).

For its entire fifty years of existence, Singapore has been ruled by a single party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has a liberal ring to it but is in fact a conservative party. Two issues that deserve scrutiny, in my opinion, are the censorship laws as well as the ethnic integration policy, in which

Social housing can be owned/sold by the tenants, as in some parts of the UK (since Margaret Thatcher’s right to buy policy). But there is an additional twist compared to the UK’s Right to buy policy: it is not possible to sell to a buyer from a community that is overrepresented in the neighborhood compared to the national fraction of, say, Chinese. (citiesblogger.wordpress.com)

Censorship and ethnic integration policies both curtail freedoms in the name of the “greater good” but all-too-often become means to keep a people “governable.” Sometimes I wonder if these policies, in addition to other social and governmental restrictions are what gives Singapore its “sterile” and “passionless” feeling.