Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ich bin ein doofus.

I encouraged the Flying Inkpot to publish a negative, but well-written review of 251. (Actually, despite the very instructive criticism that I flirt with the issues without answering them in original ways, she's given us three stars out of a possible five, which I believe is due to the fact that we were reasonably entertaining.)

As always, comments can be added. Click here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pushin' the agenda

This news is a month late, but it needs to be announced nonetheless!

On 21 April, one week after the close of 251, our director Loretta Chen was at St. James Powerhouse for a Young PAP rally (don't ask me about her personal habits), when she asked our esteemed Minister Mentor about censorship issues with the play.

Her very specific question actually prompted Lee Kuan Yew to remark that he believes homosexuality should be legalised in Singapore. Whaddaya know? This was the remark that elicited a barrage of forum letters, both in support of and against Section 377A. Annabel, you still cause revolutions, albeit indirectly.

(Of course, to be precise, homosexuality is legal in Singapore as a concept; male-male sexual acts are not and female-female sexual acts are often kept off-camera and off-stage. Just want to be precise.)

Below is the transcript of Loretta's exchange with LKY. Click here for a fuller transcript, as well as quotes from Reuters.

Q: Good afternoon, Sir. I've just got a quick question because you were talking just now about integration and globalisation. So I've just got a question. I'm Loretta Chen from Hougang. I'm a theatre director, so my question has to deal with censorship. Sir, recently I actually wrote a proposal to the Esplanade and it's a play based on Annabel Chong 251. I was very happy, it was passed and I staged it. Most of the scenes in there were left completely intact except for one line which goes, "In the beginning was the body..." and those five words were taken out, which I happily obliged. But my question is where is censorship headed for the next two decades and what are the paradigms or what are the OB markers for censorship in the next two decades? Thank you.

MM Lee: I can't answer that because I don't know how the world is going. We are constantly adapting to the world. We do not live in isolation... [dwells on Crazy Horse, the Vatican's stance on contraception, the impossibility of enforcing certain restrictive laws]...

..Which is better? - to let it run freely or say, "No", have it surreptitiously flouted at the margins - you've got to weigh the two odds. But, I mean you take this business of homosexuality. It raises tempers all over the world, and even in America. If in fact it is true, and I have asked doctors this, that you are genetically born a homosexual because that's the nature of the genetic random transmission of genes, you can't help it. So why should we criminalise it? But there's such a strong inhibition in all societies. Christianity, Islam, even the Hindu, Chinese societies and we are now confronted with a persisting aberration. But is it an aberration? It's a genetic variation. So what do we do? I think we pragmatically adjust, carry our people... don't upset them and suddenly upset their sense of propriety and right and wrong, but at the same time let's not go around like this moral police do in Malaysia, barging into people's rooms and say "khalwat". That's not our business. So, you have to take a practical, pragmatic approach to what I see is an inevitable force of time and circumstance.