Banning the Palestinian Film Radiance of Resistance is Just the Latest Example of The PAP’s Desire to Control What We Think and See

Singapore’s ban on screenings of the Palestinian film “Radiance of Resistance” has made international news. I am not really concerned with the merits of the movie which I have not seen.. The film undoubtedly exploits children for political purposes, may be one-sided and a slick piece of propaganda. The star, Ahed Tamimi has met the Turkish President, Erdogan, who does not see any hypocrisy in supporting the Palestinians while refusing to allow any autonomy for the Kurds. However these are not reasons for banning it. I reproduce Media Development Authority’s ruling below (reproduced from an article in Variety):

The film explores the Palestine-Israeli conflict through the eyes of the two young protagonists, without counterbalance. The documentary focuses on the Tamimi family, and two young girls, who are presented as the new faces of Palestinian resistance. In holding up the girls as role models to be emulated in an ongoing conflict, the film incites activists to continue their resistance against the alleged oppressors. The skewed narrative of the film is inflammatory and has the potential to cause disharmony amongst the different races and religions in Singapore. The film is therefore not allowed for all ratings. This is in accordance with the Classification Guidelines which states, ‘films that create misunderstanding or disharmony amongst the races’ will not be allowed for all ratings.”

Perhaps MDA is worried that it may show Singaporeans that the PAP is a paper tiger resting on the sheeplike behaviour of the masses and encourage more activists to follow the examples of Jolovan Wham or Seelan Palay or the brave demonstrators in Hong Kong like Joshua Wong who have challenged the Chinese government and incurred its wrath. I am at a loss to understand how it could create disharmony or misunderstanding between the races. Chinese Singaporeans are not an occupying army. We do know that the PAP do not want their version of history to be challenged.

This includes a fake assertion of meritocracy to mask institutional racism towards minorities, and a self-perpetuating elite who justify their rule by the Calvinist tautology that since they are in charge this must be because of their innate superiority. As LKY said during the era of the graduate mothers policy in the 1980s, relying on an unscientific interpretation of Darwin, there is no point in spending too much on educating the bottom 75% as the top people have already risen to the top after decades of universal schooling. Of course LKY was using this to send a dog whistle message about racial inferiority as in his hierarchy of races derived from reading Toynbee Malays were at the bottom with Indians above them and Chinese and orang puteh at the top. However anyone who draws too much attention to this will be singled out for prosecution as Leslie Chew found to his cost when he spent several weeks in jail facing possible sedition charges after he published a cartoon drawing attention to unequal treatment in a humorous way.

Singaporeans must not be allowed to think for themselves in case they do get strange ideas about the possibility of changing the system. MDA also banned Lyn Lee’s film “To Singapore With Love”, about Singaporean dissidents forced into exile. They also refused to allow a film, “The Venerable W”  by Barbet Schroeder, a well known Hollywood director, about the Myanmar Buddhist monk, Ashin Wirathu, who is responsible for stirring up much of the anti-Muslim rhetoric directed at the Rohingya whom he calls a Saudi-backed conspiracy aimed at infiltrating and taking over Burma, a view that Aung San Suu Kyi endorses.

MDA also famously banned a film made about my father, “A Vision of Persistence“, which showed him reduced to selling his books on street corners after LKY and the PAP finally succeeded in bankrupting him in 2001.  The film was supposed to be shown at the Singapore International Film Festival but MDA forced the film-makers to hand over all the copies to be destroyed under threat of being charged in court. One of the film-makers, Mirabelle Ang, left Singapore and now lives in LA and works at the film school at UCLA.

The ridiculousness of MDA’s censorship is shown by the fact that even Israel did not ban the Palestinian film. A friend of mine informed me that it was shown at a human rights film festival in Tel Aviv last year.

Singaporeans are not children. They can make up their own minds. When will they stop allowing the Government to decide what they can and cannot see?

 

 

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

* The author blogs at https://kenjeyaretnam.com/.

 

 

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7 Responses to “Banning the Palestinian Film Radiance of Resistance is Just the Latest Example of The PAP’s Desire to Control What We Think and See”

  • PAP is BEST:

    PAP best one, must vote PAP only. If you vote other thing, next time don’t let you vote again. Ask you vote Tony Tan, you go vote Tan Cheng Bock, cannot choose president is your fault you don’t blame PAP, they best one cannot wrong. You wrong they dont let you vote is correct one. This one is good thing means PAP doing good job, they get millions is very cheap already.

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  • C'est la vie:

    *****
    Lest anyone is remiss of the fact that this ain’t the first time that the SGov/MDA, one and the same really, have stepped in to ban/remove/stopped a film/documentary/book from seeing daylight.

    Then again it’s all good and only right because the SG people are a terribly fragile, naive and brittle lot.

    We don’t want “them” getting all emotional and hysterical where scenes may depict “real” life !!!

    The SG people need to be shielded and protected from realities and being challenged cognisantly to form an opinion, any opinion. They are not quite ready to do any of that on their own !!!

    God bless SG and the PAP ………… what a “country” !!!
    ***
    *****

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  • pap selected INDIAN president:


    Singaporeans are not children. They can make up their own minds. When will they stop allowing the Government to decide what they can and cannot see?

    we have never voted pap. BECAUSE there are better Singaporeans from other political party who can form a better government.

    we have never allowed pap to decide what we can see or what we cannot see. with INTERNET we can practically access anything we want. BUT that is not our point. our main position is the critical mass of unhappy local born is progressing. ONCE the critical mass is reached pap goes. GUARANTEED.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ic says INDIAN. pap says malay. ic is correct or pap is wrong?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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  • HarderTruths:

    The despotic pappies do not seem to have heard of internet streaming and other such technologies that makes their Shit Times irrelevant (except for picking up doggie-poo).

    Although we have the technology, 70% will still support the pappies blindly to ban this film.

    Which is why this island is f***ed

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  • 扁头廻虫:

    裙底风光可以看但不可以拍。

    但有人喜欢看又喜欢拍。

    未成年人的前花园不能玩,后花园更不能动。

    但是就是有人偏爱未成年人的花园……有的特爱后花园,有些只要前花园,有的前、后都爱。

    到底要怎么样才能让这个人明白,在这个世界上,有许多东西是不能看,不能动的。不过,有人就偏去看不能看,动不能动的东西而吃盡苦头。

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  • A Nation Of Dumb Parrots:

    “As LKY said during the era of the graduate mothers policy in the 1980s, relying on an unscientific interpretation of Darwin, there is no point in spending too much on educating the bottom 75% as the top people have already risen to the top after decades of universal schooling. ”

    This is clearly how our education is modeled today. All resources are poured into nurturing the few elite secondary schools, while Others were told to merged recently. Tertiary education is only reserved for the top 25%. So nothing has changed since the passing of the old fiack. His despotism leegacy lives on.

    With the claim of dwindling students, there is no attempt to take the opportunity of having smaller class size teaching, despite decades of talking (cock). The government could not see producing a highly educated talented workforce to the world as a national competitive advantage.
    They do not see the Singaporean diaspora or returning citizens as a potential competitive advantage.

    It showed that the PAP government does not have the creativity and political nimbleness to bring Singapore to the future. They are unwilling to trade gradual openness and greater level of democracy with an increasing educated populace, but chose to limit citizenry potential for absolute control and power.

    Why the obsession with absolute power if everything is above board?
    Why ban criticisms and avoid scrutiny if everything is performed in good faith?

    The PAP already missed the chance of transformating this nation into greater height and this country is now in a huge mess, run by inexperience beholden self entitled stooges. This is the leegacy that old man left behind.

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  • kikok:

    This film is about human beings being prosecuted by an oppressive right-wing government.

    They don’t want public to see the similarities.

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