Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Censorship: An easy way to make yourself look ridiculous



The other day I had a post on books "restricted" in Malaysia. Today there is an article in the New Straits Times newspaper on film censorship. Here are some of the things that get snipped:

Copulating animals. (Oops. Should I take down that post on alien sex?)

Women sitting cross-legged. (Just as well arthritis has stopped my sitting cross-legged days. I had no idea I was being obscene.)

"Swinging an arm upwards and pointing a middle finger towards heaven". (Hmm. That's odd, I had no idea the gesture had anything at all to do with heaven.)

Scenes and dialogue with direct reference to sex. (Immaculate conception anyone?)

Native women with exposed breasts. (When I first came to Malaysia, it was easy enough to see such women - but alas, they have now been carefully taught that their "national costume" is obscene.)

Medical documentaries that expose private parts. (Are there really people that would find a medical documentary either obscene or titillating? Hmm. So you can't watch a TV documentary on how to feel for breast cancer.)

Close-up of a woman breastfeeding. (Now that's sick.)

Anything to do with homosexuality. (Brokeback Mountain was banned outright. "Homosexuality is not something we allow in films here" says the chairman of the board.)

Munich was also banned. Says the chairman: "(It) portrayed violence, terrorism and the Israelis." (Excuse me? Israelis?)

Words that mean masturbating, illegitimate child, bastard, son of a bitch, prostitute, private parts etc etc. (Not sure whether it's these actual words, or a more coarse substitute.)

The censorship boards consists of retired government servants (possibly all men?). I have told my husband he should apply for a job there when he finally does retire. I mean, what better way to spend one's day that watching movies and then debating all the naughty bits? And perhaps replaying them over and over, just to make sure you've got your decision right?

10 comments:

Ted Mahsun said...

Apparently there are women in the censorship board.

My dad, a retired civil servant with a dato'ship, tried to apply for a place in the censorship board, but was rejected. I guess he's small fry compared to the tan sris who apply to get in.

Too bad... maybe he could have changed things a little from within.

Glenda Larke said...
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Glenda Larke said...

Maybe that was why he was not accepted? Too liberal?

KarenEMiller said...

Boggle boggle boggle boggle ...

bibliobibuli said...

and often piggies

i watched one film about a guy with a pet pig, except that all the scenes that had the pig in them were cut!

actually brokeback mountain was never banned. and here's the interesting thing, the distributors themselves decided not to risk bringing it in in case it was banned!

Glenda Larke said...

Er, the STAR interview with the chairman of the board, Mohd Hussain Shafie, says this:

Q.What were the recent films you banned?

A. The two most recent were Brokeback Mountain and Munich. Brokeback Mountain was banned since it dealt with two cowboys in love. Homosexuality is not something we allow in films here. Besides being counter-culture, it is also against Islam.

The Star Sept 18th

Anonymous said...

"Women sitting cross-legged"

Well.. imagine stretch pants, and no underwear. Protagonist slowly lowers her self into position, camera catches the slow, tight gradual stretch. It's nothing I'd not agree with, but then again I can see the POV of the board. No one takes them seriously anyway.

Glenda Larke said...

That is indeed an image I could do without, anon!

But then, would it really mean The End of Society As We Know IT if we did see such things?

My own personal experience, is that I (and a properly dressed me at that!)have been subjected to more sexual harrassment (both verbal and physical) of a nasty overt kind in places which were the most restrictive towards dress and social behaviour.

Glenda Larke said...
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Anonymous said...

"My own personal experience, is that I (and a properly dressed me at that!)have been subjected to more sexual harrassment (both verbal and physical) of a nasty overt kind in places which were the most restrictive towards dress and social behaviour."

So have I.. and I'm a guy :) I used to be pretty buff in those days because I worked out. It's odd that guys would be subject to harrassment by women, but there you are. I think that's part of the reason why I gave up working out. Women would just bump into you, give you that "I just want to eat you out" look, press into you on the bus, talk about you to her friends.. it seems that the society here is very open despite what the censorship guys say or do. Or maybe because of it, I dunno.