Director to appeal against Singapore film ban

The director of a satirical film banned in Singapore on racial grounds said Wednesday he will lodge a formal appeal against the decision, with the crew urging censors to respect the "intelligence" of moviegoers. A review panel last week banned Ken Kwek's "Sex.Violence.FamilyValues" -- a compendium of three short stories -- three days before its theatrical release despite having been previously rated suitable for viewers aged 18 and above. The Media Development Authority (MDA), a watchdog agency, said the panel found some dialogue portions in "Porn Masala", one of the stories in the 47-minute production, offensive to the Indian community. Kwek said he was "disappointed" by the timing of the ban, which had inflicted "considerable financial losses" to the film's producers. He said he would appeal against the decision before the one-month appeal window expires on November 6 and was "not very keen" on deleting any portion of the film if asked. "I must assert very firmly that I did not make a film that is in any way demeaning or offensive to any ethnic community," he said. "In fact, far from condoning racism, Sex.Violence.FamilyValues attacks racism, ignorance and all manner of negative sexual, racial and familial stereotypes using the tools of satire and parody." Actor Adrian Pang, who plays the role of an ethnic Chinese pornographic director hurling insults at an ethnic Indian actor in comic scenes, said the authorities should respect the intelligence of Singaporean moviegoers. "There are the powers that be who are watching over us and are obviously treating us with so little regard as a people that they figure we do not have the maturity, the intelligence... to see a piece of entertainment with a healthy perspective and judge this as a piece of satire," he said. Singapore has relaxed censorship rules on film nudity and violence in recent years. But it has strict laws against inciting racial or religious hatred in a predominantly ethnic Chinese society with Malay and Indian minorities.