Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 6, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Wednesday, June 6, THE LETHMIDGE HEKAlO 33 Puritan upsurge snips away at Asian films, books By CHRISTOPHER PR1TC1JETT SINGAPORE (Reuter) All over Asia, censors have grabbed their scissors and pens and are snipping away at anything that looks the least pornographic or violent. The result is films that have no apparent story and books and magazines with whole pages missing or blacked out in a sudden upsurge of puri- tanism throughout the whole region. Only Malaysia has fairly liberal censors. But what they allow through would hardly cause cybrows to be raised In the West. For centuries the West has regarded Asia as "wide open" and this common belief still brings tourists to the area in search of the at least a taste of the fruit they regard as forbidden back home. An Asian can still talk in terms that can make western- ers drool in anticipation, or frighten him away by the sheer audacity of it all. For the main difference be- tween East and West remains the personal participation re- quired in Asia and the titilla- tion or voyeurism of the West. It is the Western attitude that Asians find repugnant. Why look at blue movies for sec- ond-hand thrills when you can personally indulge in private? FAMILY TIES CLOSE The new trend of censorship is mainly the result of inde- pendence from the West for the whole of Asia. What was good enough for colonial civil servants, who made the origi- nal laws, is no longer permit- ted by new governments striv- ing to find their own national identities. Western moral decay, West- ern social pollution and aping the West are common phrases heard in Asia these days. Asia wants Western technol- ogy and ideas but not a break- down in the close family way of life that Asians believe to be cleaner and purer than anywhere else. This division of cultures can cause major problems. A Singapore government minister recently commented that the republics English-ed- ucated half did not mind watching a bit of sex on the even expected it they abhorred violence. VIOLENCE ACCEPTABLE The Chinese-educated on the other hand were shocked even to see a couple holding hands but adored extreme violence such as the popular sword movies where blood flows freely, heads and limbs fly in all directions and the good guys always beat the bad guys. Both sex and violence havt now been banned from Singa- pore screens although Chinese-style unarmed com- bat has the West of all places. Another factor reinforcing Asia's puritanism appears to be news reports from China on the lean and simple life of the mainland Chinese. China exerts a strong emo- tional tug for many Asians, not only Chinese, and they re- gard it as a country of strong moral principles. 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