For the first time in Dim Sum Dollies’ own history, Dim Sum Dollies® – The History of Singapore Part 2 has been issued a classification rating of “Advisory 16 (Some Mature Content)” by the Media Development Authority (MDA), on account of sociopolitical references in our work.
The media regulatory agency granted it a licence to perform just three days before the show is set to open at the Esplanade on Dec 11.
[youtube id=”SJRQxR_5Lgc” align=”center” mode=”normal”] This year’s edition of the Dim Sum Dollies, which stars artists Selena Tan, Pam Oei, Denise Tan and Hossan Leong, is a sequel of sorts to The History Of Singapore, which was staged in 2007 to rave reviews and dealt with events in pre-independence Singapore.
The upcoming show will include parts such as “The Mas Selamat Mess-up” and “The ISA Wave Of Detentions”, which reference the escape of former Jemaah Islamiah leader Mas Selamat Kastari from detention in 2008 and the 1987 Marxist conspiracy arrests, respectively.
In response to queries by TOC, the spokesperson for Dim Sum Dollies said,
“As with past Dim Sum Dollies shows, the aim is to give a chance for all Singaporeans to look and laugh at themselves.We welcome audiences with a sense of humour and who appreciate musical satire at its best. As for sociopolitical commentary, any historical account by its nature has to necessarily comment on social, political, cultural and other issues affecting society.
The difference is the Dim Sum Dollies, have always done this in a tongue-in-cheek manner, with no malice intended. Instead, audiences have always gone away with a deep sense of National pride and celebration of all things Singaporean.Of course, we cannot speak for the MDA nor convey their reasons for the advisory. Nevertheless, the Dim Sum Dollies are determined to come back after 6 years, with their own satirical take on Singapore’s recent history. The show must go on and we trust that our audience can come watch the show and judge for themselves.”
Ivan Heng, founding artistic director of Wild Rice, posted a strongly-worded response on Facebook to the MDA’s decision.
Frankly, it is shockingly inept, cruel and irresponsible of the MDA to have kept the Dim Sum Dollies waiting until 3 days before their opening to award them a license to perform at the Esplanade. To add insult to injury, the show has been slapped with an “Advisory 16 (some mature content) – on account of sociopolitical references in the work” recommendation.
Harlow? Since when did it become dangerous for young people to be socially and politically aware? This has everything to do with being conscious and mindful about what goes on in our nation-city-state – how our country is run, the relationship between the ruler and the ruled, and ultimately, how we all get on with one another. Young people should care about such things because they are the future.
Contrary to what the various Government agencies think, our theatre artists care passionately about what goes on in our society. We have held up a mirror to ourselves, warts and all, for more than three decades now. And I am certain that we are all the better for it as a nation.
Please. Grumpy, angry and stressed-out Singaporeans need satire and laughter. Please. Let the people laugh; if only for catharsis, as a creative outlet, to let off steam – a way of processing the rapid changes in a society we want to call our own.
Please. Let’s just rename the MDA the Media REGULATION Authority? To date, MDA has done so very little in the way of developing the potential of our arts community. Rather, it has been a tool for censorship – doling out mind-numbing restrictions to keep a check on the arts.
Well, carry on checking at your peril. For sure, there are more checkers than artists. Eventually there will be no more arts to check; and it will be a checkmate for Singapore.
The production team wish to also highlight that the advisory by MDA is not an age restriction. Young people under the age of 16 will not be refused entry and are welcome by Dream Academy.
For those interested to catch the show, you can purchase the tickets via the SISTIC’s website here or any SISTIC ticketing outlet.
Dates and timing for performances at Esplanade are:
Thu, 11 – Tue, 23 Dec 2014
Tue – Sun: 8pm
Sat – Sun: 3pm
Additional show on Mon 22 Dec, 8pm