Manga is a popular medium among the Japanese. Unlike American cartoons, manga has a tradition of dealing with social and political issues as well. I have no idea how often Singapore-related issues make it into manga but I doubt if our government is as thrilled as Alan Shadrake about this one, after the break:
Archive for the 'art and entertainment' Category
It wouldn’t go unnoticed, though whether the Straits Times editors fully realised the significance of what they were doing is an open question. Channel NewsAsia’s report, by contrast, didn’t have a photo showing David Furnish though he was mentioned in the text. It’s entirely in keeping with the general observation that Channel NewsAsia is more politically timid. Facebook had several postings by gay men pointing out the printed photograph of singer Elton John with his husband David Furnish and baby Zachary, among which was this posting by Alan Seah:
One of the few good things the late Balaji Sadasivan implemented when Minister of State for Health, was universal ante-natal screening for HIV, allowing for early intervention. From four cases of mother-to-child transmission in 2004, it was brought down to zero in 2008 and 2009. However, two more cases popped up in 2010.
It is truly tragic for anyone to be born with an infection as serious as HIV.
One of the films at the 24th Singapore International Film Festival touches on this. Living with the Tiger (Thursday, 22 Sept 2011, 9:30 pm, Lido cinema) follows two children at Baan Gerda, a small community in Thailand that cares for about 80 children affected by HIV.
I think I have mentioned it before that I find Glee unwatchable. I have tried — twice, I think — to watch the TV show, but on both occasions, couldn’t tolerate it beyond the 20th minute. It was just too shallow for me.
Then a friend texted me the other day saying “Every teenager should be taken to watch Glee Concert” referring to the 3D version now showing in cinemas. I assume he had taken his son there.
Mystified by such enthusiasm, I asked, “Why so?”
His reply: “. . . has a real life gay teenager sharing his coming out and his growth to self acceptance. . . very affirming. Must be the first time an overtly affirming gay character and person are in a PG13 movie.”
When someone says of another: “Oh, it’s brave of him to do that,” the remark may tell us more of the speaker than the person spoken about. Why was whatever he did brave? What were the mental associations we linked to that act that made it seem courageous? Yet, when we hear such descriptions of bravery, “no one asks what it tells us about ourselves,” said playwright Tan Tarn How, underlining a view that as a society, we rarely engage in self-reflection.
His new play, Fear of Writing, explores questions like this. That’s what artists do: they hold a mirror to society.
Artists, however, often get the blues. Tarn How is no exception. “The play posits the possibility that in Singapore, political art is irrelevant,” he says of his work. He’s had this thought for some time: that political art changes almost nothing here. It’s not getting through to people.
Why not is the question. What is it about ourselves as a dull and smug society that is so non-responsive?
Quickly thinking of a counter-example, I asked, “Do you consider what Mr Brown does as a form of political art?”
With Singapore’s increasing complexity and heterogeneity, the Singapore government has been in retreat on the social regulation front. Where once it tried to prescribe morals and social behaviour, imposed with a big stick if necessary (e.g. passing laws/regulations about flushing after urinating, males having to keep hair short — some readers may be old enough to remember this) , it is now realising that there are social forces greater than itself. Society will change regardless, and heavy-handed attempts by the government to impose its will must surely exact a political price.
Was it weird because Chinese were doing something Americans might associate as Western? Or was it weird because it was men doing what is associated with women? I suspect it’s more likely the latter.
Click on the image to get to the Huffington Post page, where you can watch the video (which seemed to have originated from Reuters).
I have a sneaky feeling that the government is going to refuse to register the Singapore chapter of the Obedient Wives Club under the Societies Act. If at all the authorities are even considering to grant it registration, the Home Affairs Ministry is going to have to fend off enormous pressure from the orthodox Muslim authorities to say “No”.
To refuse registration is wrong. The Obedient Wives Club (OWC) should be recognised as a legitimate society. One does not have to agree with its aims to speak up for its right to exist. And to promote its beliefs.
We’ve all heard the old saying, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” Malaysian-born Taiwan-based director Ho Wi Ding has crafted a touching movie that lets us vicariously walk several miles in two Filipinos’ shoes, except that they’re pounding the streets of Taipei.
They are migrant workers with boring jobs in a factory and staying in a dormitory with such strict curfew rules that if they book in late three times, their work pass is cancelled and they are deported.
Manuel (Jeffrey ‘Epy’ Quizon) thinks the dormitory needs a sofa so they can better unwind after work. By a stroke of luck, he and long-time friend Dado (Bayani Agbayani) happen upon one abandoned on a sidewalk one Sunday and decide to take it home.
Lamenting the slide of the Roman Republic into an imperial dictatorship, First Century poet Juvenal wryly noted that if the people were given bread and circuses, they would never revolt. The People’s Action Party (PAP) government has clearly taken this observation to heart.
S$1.5 billion is on its way to 2.4 million adult Singaporeans, under the Grow and Share Package. This is being conveniently distributed at the start of the election campaign. And now, it’s getai time.
(click image for the entire scanned article)