Monday, 3 November 2014

To Singapore With Love THE MAKING OF A NEW POLITICAL FOLKLORE    《星国恋》:一个新政治传说的形成

To Singapore With Love


Source / Author : The Online Citizen / Tan Wah Piow (31.10.2014)

Although there were two visiting Tans to London this October, it was not Tony the President, but Pin Pin the director of the banned film To Singapore With Love (TSWL) which caused all the excitement amongst Singaporeans.

The newly installed High Commissioner would have certainly loved to have had flag waving Singaporeans line the streets of Buckingham Palace to welcome the President, but that did not happen. Singaporeans, including some who attended the President's State Banquet, were preoccupied with finding tickets for the oversubscribed must see film.

The photo accompanying this report depicts an exodus of over a hundred Singaporeans marching  in good spirit  from one campus of SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies) to another venue some twenty-five minutes walk away to catch To Singapore With Love. Despite the inconvenience caused, and delay of the screening by some fifty minutes, there was no complaint from the unusually patient and accommodating crowd determined to have their first taste of the forbidden fruit.

Reports elsewhere in The Online Citizen (TOC) and even the Straits Times have given testimony of the sensational responses to the screening of the banned TSWL at other sites in London. The 27 and 28 October screening of a banned Singapore film is not just unprecedented in Singapore cinema history, it will also become a part of Singapore's political folklore. The event was organised by the SEA Arts Festival.

Although the screenings could only accommodate up to 700 viewers, it is the reverberations before and after the event that matter most. Amongst the throng were residents and students from Singapore, as well as Singaporeans who travelled from Paris, Oslo, and other cities outside London, including Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Cardiff, Reading, Oxford and Cambridge.  Some even brought their visiting parents, siblings, relatives and friends to watch this un-missable production.

If the audience were there merely for the "forbidden fruit", there would not be so many eager  hands sprouting up the moment Q&A commenced after the filming.  Dr Tan Peng Guan, the pillar of London's  NUS alumni who enjoyed the film  fired the first salvo: "Why is the film banned?".  The audience at Soas burst out in laughter, another shouted “Ask your High Commissioner!”.

Tan Pin Pin taking questions from the floor at King’s College.
At every screening, Pin Pin was congratulated for her powerful work of art, for her courage and for choosing a subject matter which would otherwise be obfuscated by officialdom.

Before watching TSWL, almost all the students in the audience did not know what they did not know. After the screening, they wanted to know more. They wanted DVDs, they wanted the film to be on you-tube for others to watch. Pin Pin had to plea for patience as she is in the midst of the appeal process.

Three of the London based exiles featured in the film, Dr Ang Swee Chye, Ho Juan Thai and I were present at the screening and we answered some of the questions from the floor. We mingled with the crowd who were eager to know more.

Significantly not one member of the audience care for the official charge that the film posed a security threat to Singapore, not even those who appeared to be briefed to asked pre-rehearsed awkward questions.

Rebecca, a seasoned Malaysian student activist from UCL remarked that the Kings College Premier on the night of 27th October was the largest manifestation of "civil disobedience" by Singapore students in London. That in my view is an overstatement, although it is true that there was a great deal of cyberspace chatter on the screening, and the degree of interests for an alternative view of history was unprecedented.

A young Singapore student told me that she was extremely grateful to Tan Pin Pin for making the film, without which, she emphasized,  she would not have known about this aspect of history, nor of my existence. I told her I was equally indebted to Pin Pin.

The banning of TSWL has suddenly propelled this new urge to want to know the missing link in our political history. Now that the genie is out, this issue of the others who contributed to the political process but were repressed, can no longer be avoided as Singapore commemorates its 50 years of independence. Pin Pin has managed to weave the exile narrative back into the national fabric.

As I stood on the podium of the Safra Theatre at King’s College to answer a question from the floor, those young faces in the audience were as fresh and eager as those at the Singapore University Bukit Timah campus where I had my last rally 40 years ago before going into exile. Their current quest for truth and democracy is the same as what my generation called for then. Where's the generation gap?


通告 Notification


作为坚守“独立自主”和“与民同在”的立场的一个民间组织,人民之友在上个月对即将来临的第14届全国大选投票,发表了一篇以华文书写的意见书,题为:投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!。



The English and Malay renditions of Sahabat Rakyat’s opinions about next election will be published here consecutively

As an NGO which upholds “independent and autonomous” position and "always be with the people" principle, Sahabat Rakyat had released a Chinese-written statement of views with regard to the voting in the upcoming 14th General Election, entitled “Vote for candidates who are against State Islamisation: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent the return to power of Mahathir’s faction!”

The English rendition of this statement will be published in our blog in the near future whereas the Malay rendition will be published next month (November). Please stay tuned!

We hope that our position and views pertaining to the next General Election expressed in the statement will be accurately and widely disseminated and also examined by the popular masses of various ethnicities and social strata through their involvement in the struggle of the next General Election carried out by various political parties and their practices in all fields in future.

Akan datang: Penerbitan penterjemahan pendapat Sahabat Rakyat mengenai pilihan raya ke-14 dalam Bahasa Inggeris dan Bahasa Melayu

Sebagai sebuah pertubuhan masyarakat yang berpendirian teguh tentang prinsip "bebas dan berautonomi" dan “sentiasa berdampingan dengan rakyat jelata”, Sahabat Rakyat telah menerbitkan kenyataan tentang pandangan kami terhadap Pilihan Raya Umum ke-14 yang akan datang yang bertajuk "Undilah calon yang menentang Pengislaman Negera: Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Jangan benarkan puak Mahathir kembali memerintah! "

Penterjemahan Bahasa Inggeris kenyataan tersebut akan diterbitkan dalam blog kita dalam waktu terdekat manakala penterjemahan Bahasa Melayu akan diterbitkan pada bulan hadapan.

Kami berharap pendirian dan pandangan kami berkenaan pilihan raya kali ini yang dinyatakan dalam kenyataan tersebut dapat disebarkan dengan tepat dan meluas untuk diuji dalam kalangan rakyat semua bangsa semua strata sosial melalui penglibatan mereka dalam amalan pelbagai parti politik dalam pertempuran pilihan raya umum kali ini mahupun masa depan.

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