Authoritarian TV Guide


Singapore's Programmes Advsiory Committee has compiled its annual report on the state of English-language Singaporean broadcasting. While lavishing praise on CSI and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the regulators call on Singapore's monopoly broadcaster to start producing "witty and intelligent sitcoms with a higher level sense of humour." Locally produced Phua Chu Kang is slammed for subjecting Singaporeans to "substandard storylines as well as low brow, slapstick humour." My Sassy Neighbour is found wanting because actors speak "Singlish" rather than "standard Singaporean English," which may "give the wrong impression." There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of sex and/or violence spicing up Singaporean airwaves, but the committee does find room to complain that "an episode of Extreme Gourmet had a close up shot of a severed rabbit's head on a plate."

Phua Chu Kang site, in Singlish, here.

Singapore's Media Development Association FAQ, with definitive answer to the question "Why must there be censorship?" here.

Hat Tip: Index on Censorship.

NEXT: Everything Pluto Dissolves Into Air

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  1. Wasn’t “My Sassy Neighbor” a Simpsons gag? Right up there with “The Wisecracking Kid.”

    And does anyone remember Iron Chef Eel Battle? The image of severed eel heads still snapping their jaws while skittering across the countertop while Chef Morimoto held a half-dozen headless eels in a tight-fisted bundle, inky blood spurting from the violently spasming bodies. Yum.

  2. For sheer nastiness, I would say the Iron Chef Giant Lobster Battle was the winner. They make lobster sashimi, so they just cut the bastards open while they squirmed and tried to claw the chefs. The tails were still flopping after the lobster was cut in half.

  3. Randolph:

    If lobster battle was too much for you, I would strongly advise against going to Japan and ordering the “Happy Fish”.

    I’m almost certain the fish wasn’t really happy …

  4. On TV, no one can hear tofu scream.

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  6. Let me see if I understand this: Singapore complains about “a close up shot of a severed rabbit’s head on a plate,” but is okay with a guy poking his finger into the bullet hole in the skull of the cadaver on the table in CSI?

  7. I would imagine that that part had been cut out of the Singapore broadcast version.

    I’ve been there several times, once I saw “Dracula, Deal and Loving It” at a theater there. There’s a scene where a femal vampire gets a stake driven through her heart and a literal geyser of blood erupts (for several minutes) drenching everyone on screen – that had been cut out.

    And that’s what they do in comedies (or at least what was intended to be one).

  8. I’m guessing Must See TV has a different meaning in Singapore.

  9. Isn’t Singapore (in addition to Red China) a counter-example to the idea that personal freedom and economic progress are inextricably tied?

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