Via Variety’s Asian film blog Kaiju Shakedown, a fascinating look at Malaysia’s censors at work.:
No one really plans on becoming a movie censor. Maggie (not her real name) left Malaysia to attend graduate school in the U.K. She returned to Malaysia to become a university professor but unable to find work she wound up at one of Malaysia’s few private television companies, sitting in a windowless room and watching movies. She’s not the official in-house censor, but her job is to make sure that Muslims in these films are not shown doing “haram” things: drinking, smoking, or encountering pork products. She has generated hundreds of pages of notes that read: “Scene in which the Koran is discussed in relation to belief in the supernatural needs to be further looked into.” When she started she was promised some training, but a year later none has materialized. It’s just her and a VCR locked away in a tiny office.
This is an entirely voluntary project by her television network, which wants to preemptively remove anything that might upset government agencies. This kind of self-imposed sensitivity is crucial in Muslim-majority, multi-ethnic Malaysia, but, at times, it can seem a bit over-zealous. If a movie shows a Muslim girl walking into a restaurant with roast pork hanging in the window the scene is cut in order to avoid offending Muslims.
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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