Monday, October 15, 2007

Kam on Censorship

Kam Raslan's thoughts on censorship from a piece on the Ubud Writers' and Readers' Festival he wrote for his website. (Kam spoke on a panel about the topic - sadly it was one of the sessions I didn't get to attend.):
The thought struck me that, from my experience in Malaysia, censorship works as an agreement between the people and the censor. If people really didn't want censorship, then it could be deposed in a day. But the audience agree to a compact where difficult and sensitive issues will be ignored. It makes life easier. And post 9/11 western countries, especially America, have entered into that agreement. Life led in the gentle cloud of censorship is tranquil and safe because history, science, religion and race are all ignored. Instead we can focus our attention on Britney. Censorship helps us deal with the difficult complexities of the world by simplifying it.
(Pic shows meself and Kam getting huggy at the closing party of the festival.)


animah said...

Sounds a bit like friends avoiding sensitive topics (eg. a broken marriage) in order to retain a friendship. I've been there, on both sides - the person avoiding sensitive topics and the one with the sensitive subject that must not be talked about.
I've never believed in censorship on a national scale, yet strongly adhered to it as far as friendship is concerned.
Kam's words certainly ring true. Need to think about this.

Anonymous said...

Money as always is the best defense against rebellion. If you want to keep a people quiet, make a country peaceful and progressive, and the people rich. Then you will have no complaints. If you come righ down to it, a good life is always put before any sort of right (for most people anyway I think.)

kam raslan said...

I would agree with Mr Anonymous up to a point. It's important for the powers that be to satisfy the people's material desires but it's not because that's all the people require. People take on material desires in place of anything else - well, I may not be allowed to think but at least I've got a new car.

Anonymous said...

Yea, new house, new car... security, stability, good food.. actually I think that's all most people require. I don't mean to say that they should be forbidden to speak, but I would say that they lose the desire to be rebellious if they lead "good" lives.

All the rebellions I've seen, all the people that shout and scream and yell, I don't think any of them are in the upper leagues financially speaking. There seems to be something about tons of money that makes people forgo or be a afraid to exercise their rights.