Thursday, February 19, 2009

Political dwarfs like Mr Lee Kuan Yew : Chia Thye Poh

I derive no inspiration from my country's current (and past) government leaders.

My only source of patriotism is drawn from the scarifices made by political dissidents, both past and present, who has/had been persecuted, imprisoned and vilified by their own government for their beliefs.

They, I believe, are the real patriots of Singapore.

The above is taken from Martyn See's facebook page, as part of his Original Thought series.

Singapore's forgotten founding fathers.
Dr Chia Thye Poh [left] with Mr Lim Chin Siong.
Picture from National Archives.
Record date : 24/07/1962


----------------------------------------------

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Research by Isrizal Mohd Isa

Extracted from Parlimentary Debates of the Dewan Ra’ayat (House of Representatives)
Thursday, 19th September, 1964


*****

Mr Speaker: You have one more minute left.

Enche' Chia Thye Poh: I think one more minute is too short.

Mr Speaker: I will give you one more minute.

Enche' Chia Thye Poh: I think it is most unfair for me to complete my speech in one minute. I beg you to ...

Mr Speaker: No, I will give you one minute.

Enche' Chia Thye Poh: Sir, when the Prime Minister talks of defending our country, we find it hollow. This Government has betrayed all the vital interests of the people to the British. It has no right to talk of defending the nation. This Government is oppressing the people; more than 200 political leaders and trade unionists are in the jails of Singapore. Our Secretary- General, Mr Lim Chin Siong, is in Changi and political dwarfs like Mr Lee Kuan Yew can strut around and talk big only when giants like Mr Lim Chin Siong are kept out of the political arena (interruption).

Mr Speaker: Do not disturb him.

Enche' Chia Thye Poh: The Prime Minister has spoken about the communal riots in Singapore. He says that the Indonesians and the Communists caused it. We are from Singapore and we know that this is just to cover up the real culprits. The Prime Minister of Singapore is telling, in Europe, that the UMNO politicians have caused it. The UMNO in Singapore says that the P.A.P. has caused it. We who are in Singapore know that the communal riots were the work of the UMNO and the P.A.P. who were indulging in a bitter fight for power . All this nonsense about the Indonesians and the Communists causing these riots is just to hide the truth that the main culprits belong to the ruling parties.

SOME HONOURABLE MEMBERS : Nonsense! Lies

Enche' Chia Thye Poh : We challenge the Government to have a public enquiry into this. When the riots started . . . .

Mr Speaker : Order, order! Your time is up—it is already one minute.

*****

2 years later, at the age of 26, Member of Parliament for Jurong Mr Chia Thye Poh was arrested and detained without charge or trial. He spent a total of 23 years in prison and another 9 years under restrictive orders in Sentosa. Upon his release in 1998, he publicly called for the abolition of the ISA. He attained his phD recently, but his last known whereabouts are uncertain.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Just show me the money, says S'porean filmmakers

Apparently unperturbed by the impending Films Act amendments which will criminalize a host of "biased and partisan" politically-themed films, including those that contain animation, dramatization, unscripted reality-type material and the documentation of illegal activities, local filmmakers Royston Tan(881) and Pek Siok Lian (Mad About English) say they plan to continue mining Government coffers to fund their films.

Now for that Singapore brand ?
$230m in funds set aside for filmmakers, but are any strings attached? :

Lin Yanqin
yanqin@mediacorp.com.sg

THE Government has set aside $230 million to develop Singapore’s media industry. Do filmmakers have any concern that they may not be able to produce biting socio-political commentaries if they tap the fund?
.
None whatever, according to those Today spoke to.
.
Filmmaker Pek Siok Lian, whose documentary Mad About English — capturing the efforts of the Chinese learning a once-forbidden tongue — was made with grants from the Media Development Authority (MDA), said Government funding did not restrict her from deciding on content.
.
“That hasn’t been the case in our experience, and we plan to turn to them for funding,” she said.
.
Director Royston Tan agreed.
.
“MDA will always be our top priority for funding,” said Mr Tan, who has made films with the backing of MDA as well as private investors. “Obviously, the increase helps to take some of the financial and emotional stress off filmmaking.”
.
Mr Benjamin Toh, whose company Axxis Group produces 3-D animations, said one restrictive factor could be that the funding sometimes includes conditions like shooting the film in Singapore.
.
“Whether this will be a factor depends on what you’re planning to make,” he said.
.
While he has secured the funds needed for his company’s productions for the next few years, Mr Toh said that it would help if there was more clarity on how such funds might be made available.
.
“Sometimes there are so many avenues, it’s a bit confusing,” he admitted.
.
They agreed the $230 million to be disbursed over five years — approved in Parliament on Friday — was a significant boost as media companies too, were feeling the pinch of the downturn. Ms Pek said it was timely and signalled the Government’s commitment to developing the sector.
.
“Given the current recessionary environment, the additional funding is crucial to the sustainability of the industry,” she said. “Many broadcasters are tightening their belts, whether it’s commissioning or acquiring new co-productions, this funding will help cushion that and give production companies a good chance of riding it out.”
.
Mr Toh supported the measures to develop capability — which include a new attachment programme for media professionals — something he felt was even more crucial than the funding itself.
.
“Without the right manpower, you can’t deliver quality productions,” he said. “We have to turn to hiring foreigners sometimes.”
.
To develop sustainability in the sector, Ms Pek suggested Singapore concentrate on an area in which it was strong, such as documentaries, modelled after the United States’ Public Broadcasting Service channel.
.
“What might be useful is for the Government to consider supporting another channel for Singaporean producers ... What’s to stop us from creating an international channel like PBS or Arte, dedicated to quality Asian content? Right now, we’re knocking on the doors of western outlets whose interest in Asia can be somewhat cursory. Creating a channel would help ... solidify a Singapore brand that puts local media producers out there.”

-----------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, artists in Zimbabwe calls on their unity government to abolish the Censorship Act.

The Censorship Act was enacted to “regulate and control the public exhibition of films, the importation, production, dissemination and possession of undesirable or prohibited video and film material, publications, pictures, statues and records and the giving of public entertainment; to regulate theatres and like places of public entertainment in the interests of safety; and to provide for matters incidental to the foregoing”.

Read more here