20 February, 2006

brokeback singapore

From Asian Sex Gazette:

Russian Brokeback PiratedvdCinemagoers in Singapore will be allowed to watch gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain without censorship from Friday.

The Guardian reported that despite the island’s strict homosexuality laws and definition of gay sex as gross indecency, film fans over 21 will be able to watch the highly acclaimed movie.

Some groups see this as a sign of loosening censorship in the country and a part of Singapore’s efforts to promote itself as an Asian centre for media, culture and arts.

Granted, only over-21s will be able to watch it in cinemas and promotional material will carry a consumer advisory saying "mature theme, sexual scenes", but some are already hailing the move as a sign of loosening censorship in the notoriously tightly controlled city state.

Brokeback Mountain is the favourite for Academy Award success next month with eight nominations in all the major categories.

Homosexuals face a maximum of two years in prison for gay sex in Singapore.

The film has already been banned in China and Malaysia.

Although the state has backtracked on some of the ‘pro-gay‘ policies of former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong since Mini Lee has taken the reigns, Singapore has not prosecuted anyone for consensual homosexuality in AsiaPundit’s memory. It’s not quite gay-friendly, but hardly repressive.

The move to allow an Oscar-nominated movie is hardly opening up, it is in line with Singapore’s existing ratings system (putting it in the same category as Kill Bill 2).

That Singapore will allow citizens to view the movie in cinemas is only proper - they would have less chance of seeing it elsewhere. Singapore has very strict anti-piracy laws and could not rely on pirated copies as easily as their Chinese and Malaysian neighbors (Brokeback and the banned Geisha are widely available on almost every Shanghai street corner. And, as the above photo illustrates, also Moscow.)

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by @ 11:01 pm. Filed under Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Film

labor camp cheerleaders

Via Korea Liberator, North Korea has allegedly jailed members of its National Cheerleading Team, possibly for talking about a trip to the South.:

Nkcheerleaders 3

Lee Myeong-ho, a former inmate of the Daeheung concentration camp in South Hamgyeong Province who recently escaped to China, said “21 beautiful women” were detained at the camp since the end of last year. “Later I found out that they were the cheerleading team that had gone to South Korea,” he said.

Lee said since inmates are forbidden to talk to one another, he could not find out for sure what mistake they had made, but the rumor was that they had broken their promise to North Korean security services not to disclose what they had seen in South Korea.

Another defector explained the cheerleaders are picked among university students, propaganda squad members and music school students from good families. Before they were sent to South Korea, they had to sign a pledge bearing their 10 fingerprints that says if they are going to an enemy country — Pyongyang’s epithet for the South — they must fight as soldiers of leader Kim Jong-il and never talk about what they have seen or heard in South Korea once they return. They agree to accept punishment if they break the promise.

(Photo Yonhap via the Foreigner)

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by @ 10:29 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

more japanese robots

Puny humans, bow before your robot masters.

Via BoingBoing:

StandrobotHere’s video of a beautiful tabletop "Transformer" robot that reconfigures itself from a car into a walking humanoid. The robot, called WR-07, was built by Nakamura-san at Himeji Soft Works in Japan. Link to Robots Dream page with video, to YouTube page with video.


Digital World Tokyo:

070206 Wakamaru

Mitsubishi’s Wakamaru is one of the robots most commonly seen in the press here (that attention-hog Asimo aside, of course), so it was no surprise to see this story about him standing guard outside an elementary school in Tokyo.

The experiment uses IC cards to allow Wakamaru to i.d. anyone wishing to enter the school, although the ‘bot has little enforcement jurisdiction beyond alerting staff. Interesting though.



NTT Communications and Tmsuk have begun testing the RFID-guided shopping assistant robots at a shoping mall in Fukuoka. The robots read RFID tags embedded in the floor to get information about their location . They also carry your shopping bags and provide related sales information when they arrive at their destination.

Images of the shopping-bots here.

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by @ 8:50 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia


Google’s challenge to PayPal, the expected GBuy service, will not be as controversial as its China portal - except perhaps in Singapore.:

CheebuyInstead of a techincal review of another Web 2.0 service, here’s a socio-cultural review about Google’s latest venture… made the first reference to it, and now MrBrown followed suit. Google’s might get more attention than the search company ever hoped for, now that Singaporeans have come to realize that it sounds pretty raunchy in Chinese (esp. in Hokkien dialect).

Before I take all the fun away, here are some sample conversations to give you an idea of what it means…

TinkerTailor’s examples:

“Chao GBuy!!” (when things go wrong)

“Orh, so you use GBuy to make money har?”

“You want the money isit? I’ll shove it up your GBuy!”

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by @ 8:03 pm. Filed under Singapore, Asia, Southeast Asia

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