Please select your preferred language.

請選擇你慣用的語言。

请选择你惯用的语言。

English
中文简体
台灣繁體
香港繁體

Login

Remember Me

New to Fridae?

Fridae Mobile App

Highlights
Agenda
Fridae Shop
Directory
Advertisement
4 May 2012

Kiss between actresses at Singapore awards show causes outcry; censors “looking into” the matter

An innocent on-screen kiss between Singaporean actresses Vivian Lai and Kate Pang took place during last Sunday’s Singapore Star Awards 2. The result has been a media frenzy, with actions taken by the Media Development Authority and MediaCorp.

Advertisement

On Sunday 29 April, Singapore’s TV station MediaCorp did a live telecast of their Star Awards 2012 Show 2 at Marina Bay Sands.

When the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes were announced, actress-host Vivian Lai was so overjoyed to hear her name that she stood up, embraced her fellow actress Kate Pang, and then kissed her on the lips before going on stage to accept the award.

For most viewers, this was a non-incident. There was no suggestion that the one-second kiss was anything more than a friendly gesture – both actresses have squeaky-clean reputations, and are married to men with children. 

Nevertheless, local Mandarin daily Lianhe Wanbao did a sensationalistic article on the kiss. It noted that many of its readers had called the newspaper hotline to say they had been offended by the scene, regardless of how others might see women kissing women as "trendy". 

Local English tabloid The New Paper also ran a story today, reporting the actresses’ reactions. 

Lai told reporters that the kiss had been completely unplanned, and the whole story had been blown out of proportion, "How I show my happiness is up to me to decide. Why should I watch what people say?" she said.

Pang agreed, saying the two women were close like “sisters”. Judging from a poll conducted by the same newspaper, it appears that most people in Singapore feel the same – 62% of respondents thought that it was no big deal.

Shamefully, MediaCorp has stated that in its repeat broadcast of the awards show, footage of the kiss will be censored.

MDA involvement

As of today, a number of other news websites such as STOMP and AsiaOne have reported on a newer and apparently more troubling development in the story: the involvement of the Media Development Authority (MDA).

In a statement to STOMP, an MDA spokesperson said, “"Free-to-air broadcasters are expected to adhere to the free-to-air TV programme code. MDA is currently looking into this to see if there is any breach of our content guidelines.”

As all queer Singaporeans know, the TV code is horribly homophobic. It states: “Information, themes or subplots on lifestyles such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexualism, transsexualism, transvestism, paedophilia and incest should be treated with utmost caution. Their treatment should not in any way promote, justify or glamorise such lifestyles. Explicit depictions of the above should not be broadcast.”

Given our knowledge of the way MDA works, this “investigation” is actually fairly routine.

Whenever complaints or controversies emerge regarding the broadcast media, it is their duty to follow up.

This particular kiss could not be regarded by any sane mind as a promotion or justification of same-sex romantic relationships. Therefore, this reporter believes that no punitive action will be taken.

A personal response  

And yet, as an activist, I almost want the MDA to take action. The institution has demonstrated its anti-gay prejudice so many times that I’d like to see what happens when it’s exercised against straight people. 

As you may remember, in 2006, it imposed a fine of S$20,000 on Starhub Cablevision (SCV) for airing an episode of Cheaters in which a man and his bisexual girlfriend reconciled their relationship by agreeing to have threesomes with women.

In 2008, it charged SCV S$10,000 for airing a commercial by pop singer Olivia Yan. This contained an extract of a music video in which she played a lesbian and shared a romantic kiss with actress Pei Lin.

The same year, it fined the organisation S$15,000 for an episode of home and décor programme Find and Design which featured two men in a committed relationship, converting their game room into a nursery for their new adopted baby.

Now, imagine what would happen if MDA were to impose a fine on Vivian Lai and Kate Pang – two attractive, young, heterosexual women doing something performing a gesture of sisterly affection.

The average Singaporean might actually be woken up to the injustice of the current TV Code. 

They would realise that homophobia hurts straight people too. Maybe they’d write in to urge the papers to change the laws, even hold same-sex kiss-ins on live TV. 

MDA wouldn’t be so stupid, of course. But some damage has already been done. Lai and Pang’s careers may suffer, and henceforth all celebrities in Singapore will have additional cause to feel nervous about displaying friendliness among people of the same gender.

This isn’t any one organisation’s fault. The Lianhe Wanbao, the MDA, MediaCorp, and the idiotic viewers who complained in the first place are all culpable. We, as a nation, evidently still have a neurotic problem with something as simple and beautiful as a kiss.

Singapore

Reader's Comments

1. 2012-05-04 22:49
Bo Liao. A small peck doesn't say a person character. Besides, vivian lai had already married. Not as if she's still single. So what if we r in Asian country, does tt mean we still hv to behave as way back 50s,60s?? Now it's a modern city, people should accept each other of who they are and not penalize it. If they see us as weirdos, then I see them as aliens!
2. 2012-05-05 00:21
Channel 5 censored parts of a Glee episode where the cast performed Lady Gaga's 'Born this Way' because one of the boys was wearing a tee that says "Like Boys". I know what was on the tee because I saw the episode again somewhere else. I was really surprised, disappointed and Mediacorp has lost my respect since then. It is a shame that the country's biggest media company is still that narrow and backward. There is no doubt that this kissing incident will get censored.
3. 2012-05-05 01:08
i guess it is d media make a fuss out of it as if they r moral guardian.

When a male (celebrity pic esp.) show naked top, d Chinese papers say "unveil 2 dots", what a low grade editor's words.

Give us a break, men show upper body naked will give these editors high blood pressure..
4. 2012-05-05 03:26
Why is same sex kissing such a big deal. Football players in Europe do it all the time when someone scores a goal and no one censors the physicality of men rubbing or hugging each other. Such hypocrisy! It's ok on the football pitch but not in studio?!? Get over it Mediacorp and start getting REAL on the ground.
5. 2012-05-05 03:43
ahahaha. the asian madonna? lol
6. 2012-05-05 06:02
BFG ( since Fridae has gone holy cannot spell it out).Anyway does that mean if 2 women on the streets of Singapore embrace or kiss they will be arrested?Hopefully 2 straight men will kiss on TV so the censors can waste more time & taxpayers money on this nonsense.
Comment edited on 2012-05-05 06:47:39
7. 2012-05-05 07:10
The same reaction occurred with two men kissed on tv in the UK in. I think 1976. The second time they kissed there was almost no reaction. Well done Singapore ... you are only 36 years behind the rest of the world. But I'm sure you will catch up fast as you begin to think for youselves and get rid of your outdated miserable religious and cultural nonsense
8. 2012-05-05 07:42
#7 from your mouth to God's ears...........
9. 2012-05-05 14:48
sick singapor
a kiss is just a kiss
with 15 lgbt there
it is aparteid
lets gay love be free
censors need to be sodomized
they would then loosen up
10. 2012-05-05 14:48
sick singapor
a kiss is just a kiss
with 15 lgbt there
it is aparteid
lets gay love be free
censors need to be sodomized
they would then loosen up
11. 2012-05-05 14:48
sick singapor
a kiss is just a kiss
with 15 lgbt there
it is aparteid
lets gay love be free
censors need to be sodomized
they would then loosen up
12. 2012-05-05 16:38
Girls gone wild. Love it. More love, less hate please.
13. 2012-05-05 19:48
Isn't the Singapore Government calling the nation to embrace more diversity and be more inclusive???

Hope these reddotters can walk their talk..
14. 2012-05-05 20:16
Singaporeans need new role models. The fact that this elicits controversy in this day and age is hysterical.
15. 2012-05-06 01:16
Shame on their backwards ways!!! So sad to see such energy wasted on such total nonsense.... time to get with the times folks... it's 2011.

16. 2012-05-06 01:16
Shame on their backwards ways!!! So sad to see such energy wasted on such total nonsense.... time to get with the times folks... it's 2011.

17. 2012-05-06 01:16
Shame on their backwards ways!!! So sad to see such energy wasted on such total nonsense.... time to get with the times folks... it's 2011.

18. 2012-05-06 01:47
Comment #14, agreed. Singapore really needs to get with it and learn to let these sorts of things be!
19. 2012-05-06 06:48
It's not even about role models as #14 mentions.It really should be a non-issue when 2 humans irregardless of their sexual preference kiss.The MDA should go to China or any Middle Eastern country.They could have a field day with the number of straight men that hold hands,embrace and kiss in public.If they go to Europe or many parts of the USA they would have a stroke.
20. 2012-05-06 08:01
Good news that all these population of older "traditional thinking" people are dying. Time will come where younger liberal rights protecting generations will arise.
21. 2012-05-06 08:11
Hang on a minute...Singaporeans really couldn't give a monkeys about this. All this fuss has been whipped up by certain elements of the media, notably much of it from outside of the country.
Comment edited on 2012-05-06 08:12:06
22. 2012-05-06 08:26
#21........Oh really you must be kidding.I was in Singapore a few weeks ago with my partner and we very casually held hands in a supposedly "gay friendly" restaurant.The owner came over and said "I hope you will not take this further otherwise I will ask you to leave". We got up before main course and walked out. My Singaporean friends are very much upset about this TV issue as well they should be.
23. 2012-05-06 09:29
That's right jeh, this has nothing to do with Sg. There is no homophobia in Sg. It's the anti-Sg foreign media as usual. Public displays of affection and same sex kisses are encouraged in Sg.
24. 2012-05-06 09:49
1/There is no homophobia in Sg? Then what do you call the example I mentioned above....brotherly love.

2/ Both the Media Development Authority and MediaCorp are Sg based corporations and not foreign media.

3/Public display of affection and same sex kisses are encouraged in Sg?

Your comments are so off base.
25. 2012-05-06 10:59
Simply ridiculous!
26. 2012-05-06 14:12
And people ask me why I left Singapore after living/working there for 5 years...
27. 2012-05-06 15:47
Ditto
28. 2012-05-06 18:18
this is one of the telling stories about a society that it is deeply, deeply, full of hate. And Media Corp. should be ashamed to have not stood up to this ridiculous direction. Sg is the laughing stock of the civilized world.
29. 2012-05-06 19:03
Well, I couldn't agree more #28 but, just for your general information, the anti-gay sex law, i.e. the Penal Code, was actually enacted by the Brits in the 19th century which, of course, the reactionary, right-wing government has conveniently left on the books since it serves its own political agenda.
30. 2012-05-06 20:03
Waste of time... move on... n deal with it sillyporeans.
31. 2012-05-06 22:24
Singapore project itself as a very modern city to the world, but in reality it is only projecting a cover. Deep inside it is still a very backward city where human right is concern. If you want to be a modern city, move forward from the inside out.......and not outside in.......
32. 2012-05-06 22:24
Singapore project itself as a very modern city to the world, but in reality it is only projecting a cover. Deep inside it is still a very backward city where human right is concern. If you want to be a modern city, move forward from the inside out.......and not outside in.......
33. 2012-05-06 22:53
blown out of proportion, stupid…. wasting air time and media space.. the journalists whoever came up with this sort of thing in the first place should find different jobs!
34. 2012-05-06 23:23
A kiss is a kiss. Just something that brings people closer. Not like the two people involved were french kissing.....Actually its interesting to ask what is considered indecent, indecent in the first place. This is turning out to be such a joke...Nothing big
35. 2012-05-07 02:36
oh come on!! big fucking deal???!!she's just happy for her friend!
36. 2012-05-07 07:27
Its an asian thing... better to spend your time obsessing about irrelevant issues, meanwhile you ignore the important thing. Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, small minded people talk about other people
37. 2012-05-07 22:32
LOL...this is why I've stopped watching "Mediocre Corp" for over 15 years now.
Comment #38 was deleted by its author on 2012-05-07 22:32
39. 2012-05-11 04:05
juz a kiss ... no big deal ... nt a crime to express her moment of joy with her sista ... wats wrong ?? nah ... jia ba bo sai bang ah to some s'poreans ...
40. 2012-05-13 00:59
isn't medicorp for ppl who have no cable and internet???i m surprised ppl even watch it nowdays with so much stuff thts shown on internet w/o any censorship and singaporeans favourite word...FREE! :)
41. 2012-05-15 20:13
42. 2012-05-15 20:14

Please log in to use this feature.

Select News Edition

Recent Articles

Song kran 2014: Whos Going?

Featured Profiles

Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!

Languages

View this page in a different language:

Like Us on Facebook

Partners

 ILGA Asia - Fridae partner for LGBT rights in Asia IGLHRC - Fridae Partner for LGBT rights in Asia

Advertisement