Saturday, 20 January 2007

The Morality Police - Political Movies

At this point even I have to admit it's not about morality anymore.

I deliberately chose to avoid commenting on Schindler's List and Prince of Egypt in my previous post because I felt they deserve special mention.

It is no secret that Schindler's List which revolved around the Jews during Holocaust was directed by Steven Spielberg, also a Jew.

That somehow offended the Film Censorship Board. It was deemed as Zionist Propaganda and consequently banned.

Not that anti-semitism is anything new.

Last year, Bernama reported that Umno Youth will release a list of brands and international companies with operations in Malaysia that are known to be supporting the Israeli regime financially.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said if there was truth to the claim, the people must be told so they could make their own assessment whether they wanted to continue supporting the company which has a chain of shops in the country.

In other words, BOYCOTT Israel.

Again, nothing new. My passport does not permit me entry into Israel anyway.

Prince of Egypt managed to find itself hurting Muslim sensitivities. Don't ask me how. Moses appears in Islamic history the last time I checked.

It's not just Hollywood-produced-Jewish-related movies that have been banned. A local director fell afoul of the Senseless-ship Board over his movie, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir, loosely translated as The Last Communist. It revolved around Chin Peng, the leader of the Malayan Communist Party.

Amir Muhammad, who is Malay Muslim, believes the controversy surrounding his film, like so much else in this country, may be less a matter of ideology than race.

The ban appears to have resulted from the pressure applied by 'Berita Harian', a paper whose politics Mr. Amir classified in a recent blog entry as "verging on the ethnocentric and semifascist."

One of its editorials advised Mr. Amir to stick to documenting the lives of Malay heroes. (Most Malaysian Communists were of Chinese descent.)

Racist are we?

My maternal grandfather was shot by the communists when my mother was but a few months old. I never knew him.

As a result, there is NO love lost between me and the communists - regardless of race, but I resent the restriction of my individual right to watch any movie about communists or communism.

After a screening was held for Malaysian members of Parliament, the home minister, Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, said the real problem was that the absence of violence in the documentary could create the misconception that Chin Peng was not himself violent.


Mr. Amir said, "I think this is the first time a film has been banned for not being violent enough."

Hell yeah. They're running out of decent excuses, too.

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