Ban on Jolin Tsai's lesbian-theme song does her more good than harm
Taiwanese star's lesbian-themed song 'unsuitable' for TV and radio here
The Singapore ban on Taiwanese Mandopop Queen Jolin Tsai's lesbian-themed song We're All Different, Yet The Same may have just done the singer a big favour.
Mr James Kang, artists and repertoire director of Warner Music which distributes the song here, said that the ban only serves to fuel more interest in the song and its video, which was first uploaded on YouTube five months ago.
Mr Kang said: "Over the weekend, the YouTube views from Singapore viewers have doubled.
"The number of shares for this music video on Facebook has been exploding. The buzz created by this ban is amazing."
Although there was no official statement from the Media Development Authority (MDA), the ban came to light after television and radio stations in Singapore recently revealed that they received notices late last month from the regulator that the song is unsuitable for broadcast.
Said Mr Kang: "In a way, the ban has given the song a new lease of life."
The ban means that television and radio stations here cannot play the song and the music video on air.
But it is still available for audio retail with the requisite age rating and consumer advice.
The music video tells the love story of two women who have been together for more than 30 years.
When one woman was sick and required surgery, her partner could not make the decision as she was not her legal spouse.
Another scene depicts singer Tsai, 34, and Taiwanese actress Ruby Lin, 39, getting married in wedding gowns and kissing.
The music video has attracted more than 7.2million views on YouTube so far.
Tsai is reportedly disappointed with the ban.
Her manager told Taiwanese media: "Jolin expressed her support for gay marriage through the music of We're All Different, Yet The Same.
"She feels it's a pity, but respects different opinions."
The MDA explained the reason behind the ban.
An MDA spokesman told The New Paper: "In response to recent queries on the suitability of the song for broadcast, MDA advised the local broadcasters that they should not air the song and music video on channels that are freely accessed by younger viewers due to its mature content.
"This decision was reached after consultation with MDA's Publications Consultative Panel, which comprises Singaporeans from a wide cross-section of society."
Mr Baey Yam Keng, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Community and Youth, told TNP: "Honestly I find the Chinese lyrics quite beautiful, I don't think it's very direct.
"Those who know Mandarin will understand what it means, it tells the struggles and challenges of being in a relationship that is frowned upon and not accepted."
He added: "Part of the lyrics goes: 'We're all different, yet the same... Everyone has their own life to live.' There's a bit of provocation there. In a more conservative society like Singapore, it probably will not go down very well with many people.
"I can understand why the authorities will want to ban it.
"As for Jolin's fans and listeners who are more liberal, they may feel that it's just a song. I can understand why some people feel that the censorship is too much," he said.
Mr Paerin Choa, spokesman for Pink Dot, an annual non-profit event started in 2009 in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in Singapore, is disappointed by the ban.
He said: "We feel saddened that another opportunity for Singapore to build understanding and empathy, and to demonstrate Singapore as a truly inclusive society, has been lost."
Meanwhile, local music lovers do not think that the ban is a big deal as they can still listen to the song on other platforms.
Market researcher Fabian Tan, 26, said: "I think the ban is a good compromise position and the authorities are doing their job in the best way possible.
"At least the song is still on sale and still accessible on YouTube."
He added: "In terms of lyrics, I find the song very progressive.
"The song expands one's world view of what love is, in a very moving and meaningful way."
"There's a bit of provocation there. In a more conservative society like Singapore, it probably will not go down very well with many people."
- Mr Baey Yam Keng, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Community and Youth.
OTHER SONGS BANNED IN SINGAPORE
Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl (2008) was banned on the airwaves here due to its homosexual content.
Last year, Taiwanese singer A-Mei was prohibited from singing her gay anthem Rainbow at an outdoor music festival.
In 2001, Janet Jackson's album All For You was banned due to sexually-explicit themes. Her previous album, The Velvet Rope, was also banned because three songs contained lyrics about homosexuality.
Ireland votes yes to gay marriage
Ireland on Saturday became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by referendum with an overwhelming 62 per cent "Yes" vote, further denting the once all-powerful Irish Catholic Church.
The constitutional change allowing same-sex marriage was passed with only 38 percent voting against it.
All Ireland's 43 constituencies except one voted in favour of the measure.
The referendum asked voters whether or not they approved the statement: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."
Legalising gay marriage is a seismic change in Ireland, where the Roman Catholic Church has traditionally been a powerful force.
Homosexuality was illegal until 1993 and abortion is still banned, except where the mother's life is in danger. - AFP.