I’ve been reading about the city state of Singapore banning Tan Pin Pin’s To Singapore with Love, first in the Yale Daily News and then elsewhere.
My friend Jim Sleeper, who is a Yale lecturer in Political Science, followed up with an opinion piece in the Yale Daily News and then another in the Huffington Post. Meanwhile, I dashed off a letter to the YDN, which has produced silence after an initial acknowledgment. I thought I’d publish it here!
The upshot of all this was productive or at least interesting––for me. I got in touch with Tan Pin Pin through Facebook (both Tan and To Singapore with Love have Facebook pages).
Tan is a graduate of Northwestern where my early cinema colleague Scott Curtis inflicted one or more of my articles on her so I wasn’t a totally unknown quantity. For the moment at least, she is definitely not interested in showing her documentary at either Yale-New Haven or Yale-NUS. This is totally understandable, of course. The film has its own roll-out on the festival circuit and showing the film here could further complicate an already difficult situation.One thing that has surprised me. Apparently Yale graduate students don’t read the YDN and so all of the Film and Media Studies Ph.D. knew nothing about it. Even more surprisingly few knew about it in my documentary film workshop. But then a lot is going on in the world right now–Hong Kong, Ukraine, Middle East, Ebola, and so forth.
I also got in touch with my counterpart at Yale-NUS. He is a little shell-shocked from the university’s handling of the situation (the proposed screening of To Singapore with Love), so I will leave his name out of this post for the time being, but it was nice to discover some interesting connections.
And now the New York Times is doing an article on Tan’s documentary, “Banned Film Reunites Singapore with its Exiles.”