Malaysian Censor Board Says The Word 'Animals' In This Film Is A Security Threat

The film is made by highly acclaimed Singaporean filmmaker Tan Pin Pin.

Cover image via Tan Pin Pin

Singapore GaGa, a 54-minute documentary by filmmaker Tan Pin Pin, has been banned by the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia

According to the Malaysian Censorship Board, the movie, a paean to the quirkiness of the Singaporean aural landscape which features the country's buskers, street vendors, and school cheerleaders, could be a "security threat" and "create doubt and restlessness" among citizens, wrote the highly acclaimed Singapore film director.

She also posted a copy of the Film Censorship Board's directive:

Image via Tan Pin Pin

The film was due to be screened as part of Titian Budaya Festival, an event celebrating Singapore-Malaysia ties, later this month in KL

She has withdrawn her film, which tells of Singapore's past and present, from the Titian Budaya Festival this month. The festival is an event celebrating Singapore-Malaysia ties and is to be held from January 14 to 17


What exactly in this film, that the Board thinks, could be a "security threat" and "create doubt and restlessness" among citizens?

This is the part of the film where Victor Khoo the ventriloquist and Charlee are entertaining kids and he teases the kids by calling them binatang-binatang in Malay, which translates to "animals" in English. But the Malaysian Film Censorship Board has snipped the word saying it has a "double meaning".

Quoting from the censor's report, the director posted the translated version:

"Erase (Victor Khoo) saying "animals" in Malay and delete the subtitles of "animals" which has a double meaning.

This goes against the Film Censorship Guidelines Ministry of Home Affairs Part II:2.1.1 (v) Dialogue can create doubt and restlessness among citizens and finally may cause a security threat, disturbance of public peace and national defense."

Victor Khoo and Charlee.

Image via Tan Pin Pin

Calling censorship "arbitrary and nonsensical", Tan remarked on her Facebook post: "Security threat indeed!" while providing a link to stream the film online instead on the video sharing website Vimeo

This is not the first time director Tan Pin Pin's film has been banned

In 2013, Pin Pin released an award-winning movie ‘To Singapore, With Love’, which revolves around political exiles, some of whom have not been home for as long as 50 years.

The Singapore censors refused to give the film a rating claiming that the movie undermined national security as “the individuals in the film have given distorted and untruthful accounts of how they came to leave Singapore and remain outside Singapore,” and that “a number of these self-professed ‘exiles’ were members of, or had provided support to, the proscribed Communist Party of Malaya.


However, many Singaporeans crossed the causeway to Malaysia just to watch the banned film when it was screened at Pusat Komas' Freedom Film Fest in Johor Bahru in September 2014

Around 400 Singaporeans had travelled on Friday to watch the screening of award-winning film ‘To Singapore, With Love’, at the Freedom Film Festival 2014 held in Johor Baru, reports Singaporean online news portal The Online Citizen (TOC).

Among the 400 attendees at the film screening were former Singaporean detainees who were imprisoned under the Internal Security Act (ISA).




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