Despite efforts in cultivating the arts and media scene in Singapore, many local talents are seen going abroad to make a name for themselves there instead. A few factors would seem to contribute to this phenomenon –
1) Singapore is too small a country
2) There is not much support for local talent
3) There is too much restrictions and double standards.
By double standards, it means that talents are restricted in the content and methods they can explore or put out, which defeats the purpose of “art”, which is expressing one’s self.
On one hand, there is a growth of art schools and festivals, but one isn’t entitled to freedom of expression. Singaporeans are still quite narrow minded when it comes to conservative or taboo subjects like sexuality or politics, which cannot be discussed or portrayed publicly. Anyone who does so, is either faced with criticism, or dealt with by the government. With such censorship, this hinders the real meaning or the arts.
If no one is allowed to show their work expressively, do Singaporeans know the true essence of the arts?
In addition, local made films or works are rarely supported by Singaporeans. With such a small scope and such harsh judgement, talents with potential, tend to flee to other countries, in hope for better oppurtunities. This book basically gives a very deep insight to the arts and media industry in Singapore. It shows the reason why Singapore requires the growth in the arts sector, but it also shows how it is restricted, one-sided in a way.
It questions the efforts Singapore has made in the art scene, and determines how effective it is.
It argues objective points, as well as gives hard evidence about local made films. Important local talents and films are brought up and examined to see if Singaporeans are really getting more liberal on controversial issues. It shows us the impacts of censored scenes, and interviews with film directors tell us what the law prevents the public to see. This book does not focus a lot on the media industry in Singapore, but its challenges Singapore has to face in the future. It does question Singapore’s way of censorship, and its impact in the future.
It explores the consequences of such self regulation, and whether such censorship would change in the future. It embraces the fact that there are consequences the government has to bear because of the media structure, and changing the mindset of the people would be hard, but change is inevitable. This book was first written and compiled by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, but later edited by Derrick Da Chunha. Derrick is a Singapore national and an independent scholar. He is the author of several books, most of which, his books are related to Singapore, eg elections, casinos and Singapore’s future.
He has various international relations degrees from renowned universities like Cambridge under his belt. Derrick likes to work on political and social commentary, as well as defence and security issues. Given Derrick’s qualifications, there is no argument that he is one of the more qualified people to talk about Singapore’s future. Topics he covers like censorship and the media, are relevant to our topic because he explores the impact and consequences of it. On top of talking about the “lack of media freedom”, he questions if the rules of censorship were changed, would talents still be unappreciated here.