No objective reporting in our MSM on protests

By Ng E-Jay

hk protests

When our mainstream media reports on Hong Kong protests (or in fact, any protests around the world), they always take the mono-dimensional tone that it is “disruptive”, “businesses are affected”, there is a “political stalemate” or “political crisis”, and a hundred other negative connotations.

I have never read an objective opinion piece or a piece of neutral reporting by the ST on the Hong Kong protests. All the articles are laden with connotations that it has brought the country to a standstill, the protestors have caused distress and disruption, etc.

Nowhere in our MSM do I read an objective analysis of WHY the protestors are protesting, whether their cause is JUST, whether they need to refine their message, etc. All I see is a one-sided, pro-MNC, anti-democracy angle taken by our MSM.

It is very sad.

First posted on fb here:


Local film To Singapore, With Love not allowed to be distributed, shown here: MDA

The film about political exiles has been classified as Not Allowed for All Ratings, on the grounds that it undermines ‘national security’


To Singapore, With Love, a critically acclaimed, award-winning film about Singapore’s political exiles directed by local director Tan Pin Pin, has been barred from distribution or exhibition in Singapore, even while it is shown in Malaysia and around the world.


SINGAPORE – To Singapore, With Love, a film about political exiles directed by local director Tan Pin Pin, has been barred from distribution or exhibition in Singapore.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) has classified the film as Not Allowed for All Ratings (NAR) where films are not allowed for exhibition or distribution.

“MDA has assessed that the contents of the film undermine national security because legitimate actions of the security agencies to protect the national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimised innocent individuals,” the MDA said in a statement released today (Sept 10).

Ms Tan was recently named best director in the Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary section at the 10th Dubai International Film Festival last year for this same film.

According to the MDA, this is the first time in recent years that a film has been classified as NAR. The last film to be classified as such was Ken Kwek’s Sex.Violence.FamilyValues in 2012 which had its rating appealed to R21 with edits.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said in a Facebook post that he agrees with and supports the MDA’s assessment.

“The individuals in the film have given distorted and untruthful accounts of how they left Singapore and claimed that they were unfairly denied their right to return to Singapore,” he said. “It is not surprising that ex-CPM (Communist Party of Malaya) members and sympathisers wish now to give their own accounts of historical episodes that they were involved in. But individuals who have chosen to leave and remain outside Singapore, and refused to account for their past actions, should not enjoy a public platform to purvey distorted and untruthful accounts to mislead the public, absolve themselves or deny their past actions.”

Ms Tan said she was “very disappointed by the MDA decision – for myself, and also what it means for Singapore”. She said she hopes to be able to show it in Singapore one day, and “may re-submit for a rating in the future”.

In a post on the film’s Facebook page, Ms Tan detailed how the film “took shape organically” and explained why she made the film. “I was also hoping that the film would open up a national conversation to allow us to understand ourselves as a nation better too,” she said.

She added: “The focus is on their everyday lives. These exiles all have different ideological positions and are of different ages; some are communists, others are activists from the Christian Left, yet others are socialist politicians or former student activists. But their feelings for Singapore is intense and heartfelt, albeit sometimes ambivalent, even after so long away. Those feelings (more than the circumstances of their exile, or even the historical “truth” that led to such exile) are what my film predominantly focuses on, because I feel that many viewers might relate to those feelings.”

In a statement this evening, about 40 members of Singapore’s film-making and arts community expressed their “deep disappointment” at the MDA’s decision, and urged the MDA to reconsider.

“The MDA claims that the subjects in Ms Tan’s film gave ‘distorted and untruthful accounts of how they came to leave Singapore and remain outside Singapore’. We would like to suggest that rather than banning the documentary, authorities release their version of the events in question, so that viewers can make up their own minds. Indeed, we note that the MDA has already published a detailed press release stating their official account,” they said, noting that that the film has “received high praise from filmmakers, critics and festival programmers”.

The signatories included well-known film-makers Anthony Chen, Royston Tan, Martyn See, and arts practitioners such as Janice Koh, Ivan Heng and T Sasitharan.

Pics and text from:

“We can try” ad that might inspire us and scare the PAP

This Thai ad entitled, “We Can Try” may just send chills down the spines of the ruling PAP men. Why? Because it shows the spirit of ‘trying’ can be great and can lead to success, something the PAP constantly and consistently warns Singaporeans against when voting in the elections.

“We have a track record.” “Where were they (the Opposition) all this while?” (even though as a non-ruling party, there is just so much you can do, especially when the PAP has virtually totalitarian control over the island state) are usual PAP mantras. “What if they fail?” “What if they bankrupt the country by emptying the reserves?” (which are really, our money) warns our former MM Lee Kuan Yew. (even though losing billions in investments can, really, also bankrupt the country)

So it is not surprising that, in the same light, Singaporeans are not entrepreneurial. They do not dare to try, to contest, to venture, and to fail. Our elite education system has also bred a nation that celebrates scholars who ‘cannot fail’ and a people who look up to this mode of advancement. Our suppressive political and social systems dictate a population that does not dare to question, to ask, to change at their own will. All changes also have to be instructed and monitored by the masters above.

This is not the spirit of trying. Part of a series of 3 ads produced by Thai company AIS, this one shows a child, under the guidance and encouragement of her mother, ‘trying’ – to plant and grow something as simple as bean sprouts (that we eat in our char kway teow, which Lee Hsien Loong cannot even pronounce correctly) – again and again, after several failed attempts and after losing quite some money buying new beans from the mart.

Initial failures in growing the bean sprouts shown in the video are also like what we might experience shall we face a party takeover one day. No one guarantees everything is going to be lovey-dovey without any obstacles or possible troubles. Change is painful – but it does not mean we do not do it. If we want to get out of the situation we are in now, we have to pay some price and dare do something.

The spirit of ‘trying’ is in unison with the spirit of ‘changing’ political parties in democracies, where people choose someone else whom they have faith in to be more capable to ‘try things out’ and see how things go; whether they can be better, or if another way is better.

In this day and age where the world is constantly evolving, let us embrace the spirit of ‘trying’ and change for something better for Singapore. With the hope of seeing success eventually!

Thai ad teaches us to not mind judging from people, and the value of traditions

Ever been judged fairly or unfairly? This Thai ad tells you not to fear but to believe in what you are doing and going all the way in it to eventually achieve success. Whether it is traditional culture or arts, or modern expressions, let us live our dreams and reach for the stars.

(Also, do not fear censorship; continue to produce great works that would be admired by future generations!)