The nights are harder to bear.

Fear grips you tight and doesn't let go. Lips dried, always thirsty.
Where do we go from here?



Maybe it's time to close this blog.


Thanks motu. :)

A friend all the way in Bournemouth very kindly set up a fund-raising site for my thesis film. :D

And that, was the beginning of all the good things I hope will come as I start shooting in a week's time.
So if you have some cash to spare, help me realise this film!



I am totally freaking out right now.



From the metro.

Paris, from the metro.


Où voulez-vous aller?





I am a filmmaker, not an academic.


But I'm also a filmmaker completing his education in a film school, and this dissertation of the spatial representation of Singapore Cinema I must write.



Some thoughts on film censorship - Singapore style (via Alfian)

Q: Anniversary has been passed uncut with a R21 rating. Is this what you’d expected and do you think this is the best case scenario given the subject matter?

Alfian: I think this whole policy of rating homosexual content on the basis that it will 'promote' homosexuality is idiotic. There's no other word for it. It frames every film that's either got gay characters, or deals with gay issues, as a recruitment video. I don't know where's the evidence for this – that watching gay people depicted in media will turn you gay! And of course what's been happening is that any form of representation is, in their books, already considered 'promotion'. That you're advocating for people to adopt the 'homosexual lifestyle'. That's like saying that if I'm wearing a T-shirt in public I'm telling everyone to go and buy it.

The other thing is this whole notion of having a multi-tiered ratings system. The Media Development Authority (MDA) loves to promote this using a classic capitalist argument – more options means more choice for the consumer. So we have a bewildering total of five ratings – R21 (no patrons under 21), M18 (no patrons under 18), NC16 (no children under 16), PG (parental guidance) and G (for general audiences). But the truth is the consumer doesn't really have more choice – the censors ultimately choose what he or she gets to watch. When you have this kind of multi-tiered system, decisions actually become very arbitrary – what separates an R21 from an M18 film, for example? How do you operationalise this? I wouldn't be surprised if distinctions are made based on how long a sex scene is, for example: less than 30 seconds – M18, more than that, R21. As if duration defines the magnitude of the 'sexual.'

In a way, I'd expected the rating from MDA. And this isn't because I know exactly what the lines of transgression are. I expected an R21 rating simply because we're dealing with gay content here – and they're stricter on gay content within a Singaporean context, because this might suggest that homosexuality might be an indigenous phenomenon, and not something copied and imported from the West.

My stand on censorship is quite simple: protect minors. And what they need to be protected from is excessive and gratuitous sexual and violent content. This is because there might be some correlation between prolonged exposure to such content and potentially sociopathic behavior – even though the jury's still out and the whole discourse is contaminated by all the supposed controversies surrounding media effects and moral panic.

They should also get rid of all that bureaucratic multi-tiering. It's easier to decide on which side a film lies on if you just have a single threshold. And the maximum age should be lowered from 21 to 18 – the male population is mandatorily conscripted at 18, and if you're old enough to be trained to kill people using government-issued weapons, then you're old enough to see breasts or cocks on screen. Because otherwise then MDA is saying that the state is recruiting child soldiers, right?

I think film censorship in Singapore is in need of urgent reform. Because it's not just about protecting minors any more, but has extended to censors arrogating themselves the duty of supposedly purging the media landscape of 'spiritual pollution'. Censorship has become this thing where people are occupying seats of influence and see themselves as God's servants instead of civil servants. And civil servants should be people who, first and foremost, serve the interests of the public and a secular state.