Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Sexy, naughty, bitchy, censored

The Orwellian Ministry of Culture is in the news here in Thailand again.

This past Sunday, one of the ministry's vice ministers (an ironic title if there ever was one) was profiled in an interview in which he issued forth in standard Harvard Law doublespeak, thereby not really saying anything.

“We think the government ought to step up the regulation of this segment of the motion picture industry to ensure that sex is not abused to the extent that our cultural norms are damaged. Don’t forget that our country has one of the highest Aids infection rates in the world. We also have gone a little bit too far when it comes to sexual norms. Besides homosexuality, which was common before, we now hear about swinging sex, or even anal sex,” he told The Nation in this interview.

The ministry also wants to limit what pop singers can sing about. The latest target is Thai superstar Tata Young (pictured above), whose song Sexy, Naughty, Bitchy has come under fire. I haven't heard the song, but I've read the article. There was a great letter to the editor in reaction to the flap, pointing out that the traditional folk music so treasured by the ministry is in fact even racier than most of the pop stuff. Or perhaps the ministry will seek to have centuries-old rice-farming songs censored as well.

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