Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 9 March 2004

Homophobia watch - Singapore

Singapore is a marvellous place: clean, well-run and prosperous. It also boasts a somewhat authoritarian government, albeit a benign one. It does, however, have a pretty unreconstructed view of homosexuality. The latest example of this mindset I have come across is a recent intervention by the quaintly-named Media Development Authority (MDA) because, according to this body, a magazine entitled Manazine had published content that is 'unacceptable', apparently featuring nudity and homosexual content. Reporting on discussions with the MDA, Manazine's chief editor Arjan Nijen Twilhaar said:

"Manazine is promoting a lifestyle that integrates arts, personal well-being and mental growth. We feel we don't need female models to convey that message and like to break away from the stereotyping for men's magazines in the market today. If this format appeals to a gay reader, Manazine acknowledges that and recognises that there is strong support from the community. Manazine is proud that it can reach all sectors of society."

This is a polite way, within the political and social straitjacket of Singapore, of saying (it seems to me): we're fulfilling a need and responding to a market demand and are happy if it appeals. I'm sure there are lots of other things they would like to say, though.

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