Yong Shu Hoong (b. 1966)
Restricted but Artistic
Faced with the ludicrousness of finding the DVD of Last Tango
in Paris (its cover peddling an “uncut, uncensored version”)
rated PG and displayed in the open within the school’s library,
I think of how this could be reimbursement, somehow,
for years of censorship that Singapore film buffs had to endure
before The Unbearable Lightness of Being, with its R(A) rating,
untied our eyes to things never before shown here onscreen.
Then I also remember Mr Odell, who in all his grumpiness
railed against the system by adding detailed descriptions
of amputated scenes upon the covers of his VHS for rental.
I’ve learned to return loaned items on time and never forget
to rewind videotapes. But for my rebellious streak, even
after viewing Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider perform
their last dance in a Parisian tango bar under lovely lamps,
there comes a time when I have to approach the library counter
and sort out a moral dilemma that’s neither light nor bearable.
by Yong Shu Hoong
from The Viewing Party (2013)