Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Regulate, not Censor! PART 2 (So you know this is very important)

 Here is another comic I did in support of Arts Engage, the group making a stand about Regulate Not Censorship in Singapore.

We need all kinds of artists. Some artists produce works that are good for young people and families. Other artists are like a scout inside an army unit: they sniff out the latest trend, and by their example, the rest of us can either choose to follow or take a different path.

In a way, these artists are like hunting dogs. They lead us to our targets. By censoring them, we will lose our chances to compete. We will always be following (poorly) in other country's footsteps.

Local artists are like our own hunting dogs. They take the lead in sniffing out what a society wants and feels. When censorship is used to stop artists, we lose the chance to become like a culturally-vibrant first-world country.

I have seen local artworks in books and theater that inspired me like no foreign art can. I am committed to creating comic books for my young readers, but I look to some of my friends in theater, comics and literature to show me different perspectives. Artists like playwright Alfian S'aat, Haresh Sharma, musician Stefanie Sun, Theater practitioners Alvin Tan, Kok Heng Luen, Ivan Heng, Tan Kheng Hua, writers like Ng Yi-Sheng, Johann S Lee, performers Kumar and Hossan Leong, filmmakers Boo Junfeng, Royston Tan, Loo Zihan etc etc etc. My own comic works are made richer by me learning from comic artists like Miel, Heng Kim Song, Morgan Chua, Troy Chin, Sonny Liew etc etc etc. 

At one point or the other, each of these artists have made something that I don't totally agree with, but if they were censored, I would never have the opportunity to make my own choice.

Some of our civil servants may still be operating as if this is the 20th Century. They see local artists as irresponsible kids who will say anything. But local artists have grown up, and we continue to be relevant and we continue to contribute to Singapore positively.

This is the 21st Century, and with the Internet, censorship does not work. Local art plays an important role in shaping competitive, intelligent citizens by giving us a voice of our own. So that the world knows what we stand for and respect us.

The Singapore government has a choice to either damage cutting-edge local art by censorship, or nurture it by properly regulating the arts (eg. ratings such as PG, R, NC16). 

And you have a voice in how our government chooses. 

Please sign the Position Paper by Arts Engage, and thank you for making a difference in our Singapore!


caricaturist said...

OK Otto you got my support because I saw your big nostril on TV. They obviously failed to censor that. :)

Kamal Dollah

otto fong said...

LOL! Thanks Kamal!

Cover of Sir Fong 2

Cover of Sir Fong 2