We aren’t allowed. We aren’t allowed to see certain things and we don’t have control over what is appropriate for our age. Why? I was born in Singapore and I’ve been subjected to its diversity, love, and culture. Even though it’s been my home for a while, I do have my fair piece to say about its culture. Movie ratings. We all know how most movies have been rated as inappropriate for our young adults in Singapore’s movie theatres. It doesn’t hurt to indulge once in a while and splurge the couple of bills left in your back pocket for a good movie along with some popcorn. What does hurt is when your dad is forced to watch a chick flick with you because you can’t get into an action movie since it’s rated R21.
It’s frustrating when you have to find alternatives because the movie you wanted to watch, is simply inaccessible. I try to find common ground and sympathise, so this is when I start to research. I understand the diversity of this country, all ethnicities of which are conservative. Different religions, different values. My question is should that affect what we’re able to see? Of course in different countries, it’s another story. They may have even more socially conservative groups that challenge a country’s traditionally permissive view which creates an uproar in the film community, forcing the government to revamp their film rating views. This would be last thing that Singapore wants.
I think sneaking in is a road that we all probably have tried. Of course, it may work for some but for me, my face does no justice to the age I’m trying to give off. There’s a funny story I have that relates to this. My mother desperately wanted me to see Les Mis but after watching it, I wasn’t all that impressed. As an 11-year-old, I had to pass off as a 16-year-old. My trick? Heels and makeup. My mom’s trick? Using my brother as a stilt to look taller and to look like his girlfriend. I can tell you it was pretty embarrassing because even though the doorman didn’t know he was my brother, I knew and it was disturbing. The aching feet, the pounds of makeup, and the bombardment of perfume weren’t worth it in the end. All of this for a movie.
However, I take a step back and try to understand. Through the past struggle of a teenager with braces trying to pass off as a 16-year-old and older, I delve into why these ratings are appropriate for the country we live in, alongside its cultures that influence the film community.
Singapore is known for diversity which includes the following ethnic groups: Chinese, Malay, Indian and others.
These 3 groups are the most conservative also in terms of religion and values. It makes me wonder: Is seeing explicit content in Singapore as a young adult an issue?
As I did my research, I saw no article or comments from our community complaining about Singapore’s movie ratings. As I tried to find issues regarding our movie ratings, it became apparent to me that we see content that is not suitable for us yet. With the advancement of technology, it starts to blur the lines and beckons the answer to why our age should determine what we can see? Technology is the culprit of continuous subjection of teenagers within the change of times which shoves aside any sort of culture, value, or principle. It highlights to me that the movie ratings in Singapore are a preservation from showing content to people who aren’t old enough.
With a computer, you can pretty much do anything and I believe that Singapore has the responsibility of teaching what’s appropriate: instilling the values that these cultures find valid. Furthermore, although this started as a rant, I now find it noble that we are taking the nation’s cultures and ideas as well as prosecuting them in the midst of technology flourishing. It shows to me that Singapore cares about its community and wants to pass values down so that we have an established strict presence; which most of the time, is just for our well being. I believe that’s a pretty good start.