I have nothing new to say, because it is being said by — I am sure — thousands of people in Singapore. But I want to just add my voice to the chorus of boos.
Gaystarnews reported that Jolin Tsai’s song We’re All Different, Yet The Same has been banned from the mainstream airwaves. “Singapore’s censorship board, the Media Development Authority, recently issued a document to all TV and radio stations banning the broadcast of the song, which it said promoted gay marriage and therefore contravened Singaporean law,” Gaystarnews wrote in its story dated 22 May 2015.
I quickly checked the MDA’s website, but found no announcement about this. Assuming the news is true and such an instruction has been delivered to all broadcasting stations, then this is censorship by stealth. The government should be reminded of this every time they boast about accountability or transparency.
For background, Gaystarnews explained that “the song is based on the true story of a lesbian couple who have been together for more than 30 years. But when one was hospitalized due to old age and required emergency surgery, her partner was unable to give consent because she was not her legal spouse or family member.”
Barely a day later — how shameful for Singapore! — the same website reported cheeringly of a huge victory for gay equality in Ireland. The official count was 62% in favour (over 70% in many Dublin areas) and 38% against. The turnout was a very respectable 61%.
The referendum asked voters whether they supported adding these words to the Irish constitution: “marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”. According to the BBC, the constitution did not previously define marriage as being between a man and a woman, but there was a risk that legislation to extend marriage rights passed by Oireachtas (the Irish parliament) would be challenged in the Supreme Court. It was felt that making it clear in the constitution itself would be a neater solution. However, the constitution can only be changed by referendum.
All the major political parties urged a Yes vote, and many large corporations supported it too. Many bishops however urged the opposite.
Like Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, Ireland is a majority-Catholic country. In case you didn’t know it, all five (now six) have marriage equality. Ireland decriminalised homosexuality in 1993.
By contrast, the MDA’s move is not just regressive, it is risibly petty and self-defeating. Like many people, I had never heard of this song before. But now, it is being shared by many on social media. I am pretty sure Pink Dot organisers are thinking of a way to weave it into this year’s event.
What sort of Sarah Palins reside in MDA? (Go to MDA’s website and you will see the mugshots of the CEO and the board.) What did they imagine they would achieve by issuing such an instruction? Did they think that people in media would quietly follow instructions and not have one or two of them so upset that they’d leak their secret instruction to Gaystarnews? If they never considered that possibility, then our Sarah Palins have no clue about the real world and no clue about behaviour.
Do they think Singapore can remain exactly where we are while the world moves on?