The Huffington Post, 26 Sep 2014
Singapore wants western tourists, investors, and contractors to enjoy superb seaside dinners and clean, efficient public services and private markets. It doesn't want them to notice, behind the façade, a tight-fisted governance that generates a subtle but pandemic self-censorship among its citizens that's even tighter than the self-censorship that some American business corporations generate among their employees. Is American higher education really going to liberalize Singapore, or is it becoming more like it?
A sad precedent for the current dance around the film "To Singapore With Love" took place two years ago. In 2012 Chee Soon Juan, a principled Singaporean opposition-party leader, faced a government ban on leaving the country. Chee, who holds a PhD from the University of Georgia, had been fired from his lectureship in neuropsychology by NUS in 1993 after joining the "wrong" political party. For protesting this, he was railroaded by Singapore's scandalous judiciary into a "defamation" conviction and fined into bankruptcy. Unable to pay, he was barred from leaving Singapore to accept a human-rights award in Oslo.
And now Singapore's Orwellian Media Development Authority has decided that "media or related courses... may require access to... films that are classified R21 or NAR," so it has approved "some leeway" to these institutions to screen films for educational purposes on condition that... prior approval has been sought from the MDA before the films are acquired." Full story