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Undressing Room

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Participant 6: Anonymous
(Completed on 24th February 2017, Singapore)

1) What is your view on IMDA and its classification?
I believe that IMDA occupies an important position, in protecting citizens from content that might upset the balance of harmony in society, such as hate speech or the persecution of minority groups. At the same time, I also question, ‘protection according to whose terms?’. Moreover, I wonder whether enough space for disagreement is given. I think the IMDA should better balance content protection with spaces for conversation. Its classification is not important to me. I can decide for myself what is offensive or inappropriate.

2) How did you feel about IMDA’s denial of classification for Undressing Room, on the grounds that it contained ‘excessive nudity’?
In the first place, there is no such thing as “excessive nudity”. There is partial nudity, and there is nudity. Secondly, I would classify the show as R18, and I would not deem it unsuitable for performance.

3) What was your reaction to Undressing Room being withdrawn from the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, after it was denied a classification by IMDA?
While I was disappointed in the decision, I was not surprised at all. I think I have come to expect Singapore censors to be highly reactionary. I feel that people associate nudity too much with immorality and gross indecency. While it is normal to have a preconceived notion or prejudice about an issue, letting it fester into discrimination – and shaming other parties – is never the right way forward.

4) Why did you decide to take part in the revived Undressing Room, despite the controversy surrounding it?
The idea of participating in a censored event makes it a bit thrilling. In a sterile environment, a little danger is very appealing. I hope to use the act of undressing as a lens to question my idea of trust. Why do I trust groups of people more than others? What can I do to be more trusting without prejudice? Can my mindset of non-sexual nudity be expanded?

5) What were your thoughts or concerns regarding your participation in Undressing Room, a work that had not been approved by IMDA?
I didn’t have any concerns about participating in Undressing Room since this is merely a private, social event of two friends meeting for tea. There is also a novelty in attending a banned performance. It feels like a special privilege that no one else has access to. In some ways, it is elitist to assume myself as enlightened enough to participate in something that the masses do not get. 

I find the classification ridiculous. It seems to pander towards a niche base of conservative citizens. I find these double standards of the state troubling and puzzling. Why is it that special interests of human rights groups are ignored, while a handful of complaint letters are adhered to? 

If one is offended by a show, one should simply not watch it. If one is afraid that such a show would negatively influence the young, then systems are already in place to ensure that only mature audiences are participating. 

6) How did IMDA’s decision affect your participation or experience of Undressing Room?
The outcry made me more interested in attending Undressing Room to prove a point that the show isn’t indecent. I don’t see why it is considered indecent by some especially when it takes place between two consenting adults, and doesn’t involve anyone else.

7) Other comments.
None.