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Undressing Room

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Participant 14: Jasmin Wong
(Completed on 12th March 2017, Singapore)

1) What is your view on IMDA and its classification?
I think that regulations/censorship are in place to help the children and youths to access work when they are mentally and emotionally ready for it. Its function is to curate and sort out work that is suitable for differing age groups. For me, the classification system is not important. I forget that it’s there actually.

2) How did you feel about IMDA’s denial of classification for Undressing Room, on the grounds that it contained ‘excessive nudity’?
I would just put it as RA-21. Firstly – nudity is nudity, I am not very certain as to what ‘excessive nudity’ actually means (how can anything get more naked than naked itself?).  Next, with the RA-21 in place, we have already filtered those who may not necessary be mature or ready for such an experience/content. In addition, there are only so many limited slots available. Hence, the people involved are at a minimal.

I view the ratings very much as that for the movies. But in this case, ‘security’ is so much tighter because no one can really sneak into the showings.

3) What was your reaction to Undressing Room being withdrawn from the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, after it was denied a classification by IMDA?
I was disappointed, and frankly, annoyed at the close-mindedness of the public who wrote in. In addition, it further emphasizes the reason why we need such works around – so we can turn the view that bodies = sex = taboo = bad on its head.

However, I discussed this with fellow arts enthusiasts, and heard an alternative view from someone who is an actor. This person mentioned that if money is given by stat boards/government to support one’s event, there are definitely boundaries and rules to follow. Hence, pushing the boundaries within this context would definitely be faced with lots of risks.

4) Why did you decide to take part in the revived Undressing Room, despite the controversy surrounding it?
The ideas that Undressing Room aims to explore – how we see sexuality, our bodies, sex etc – are topics that intrigue me greatly in a time where bodies/sex/sexuality are still under high scrutiny from self and others. I wanted to experience the aforementioned. To get a greater insight into the understanding of aforementioned topics, greater insight into making thought-provoking work, and greater insight into the thought processes of producing this piece.

5) What were your thoughts or concerns regarding your participation in Undressing Room, a work that had not been approved by IMDA?
To be honest, I did not realise that I would potentially violate some laws. There weren’t any concerns with regards to that. I am thankful for having had the opportunity to experience this work and the values/guiding objectives behind the work. It is meaningful.

6) How did IMDA’s decision affect your participation or experience of Undressing Room?
I felt rather annoyed by the public outcry – I did not believe it was necessary. On top of that, I feel that the system usually reacts to these outcries with knee jerk reactions, and in this case, it would be the ban. These knee jerk reactions may not always be best for a progressive society. I feel that this society has been so used to having a authority figure who always respond to their needs/cries that it has forgotten how to be truly inclusive and understanding.

This has made me value the experience in Undressing Room more, knowing that it could have been a chance that I would have missed.

7) Other comments.
While I personally feel and think that it is an over-reaction, without much thought about the repercussions and the signals this is sending out (or maybe they did), I have heard another POV about how if government funding is being used to support the fringe event, certain boundaries or rules should not be pushed. While I can see and comprehend that point of view, I don’t see how progress can be attained when arts should always work behind those boundaries. That’s not what art is for (heck, that’s not what life is for.).