Happy Breaking Fast with Bak Kut Teh (a pork dish), aromatic, tasty and appetizing
Alvin Tan has made the wise decision to seek asylum in the USA after being charged in Malaysia for sedition over a joke on his blog.
Tan and his former partner, Vivian Lee, had been charged under the Sedition Act for uploading a joke about eating pork during Ramadan last year, but he violated his bail conditions while on a supposed working trip to Singapore.
Tan explained in a recent interview with The Malaysian Insider that leaving Malaysia was the only rational action as he was powerless to fight tyranny and ignorance .
He doesn't seem to have attracted much sympathy from fellow Malaysians who feel he should have accepted whatever punishment was due to him. Press reports quoted a few Facebook posters giving him a hard time.
In his interview with The Malaysian Insider, Tan had defended the post, which carried a photo of a pork dish, as political satire. He said it had highlighted the danger of using Islam as a basis to govern other people's life by legislating
personal morals, without making a distinction between what is immoral and what is illegal.
Tan added that he did not believe he was a coward by seeking refuge in the US, but that he was:
Smart, pragmatic, calculative and mercenary. When the government and its institutions decide to ruin your life and jail you for years just because you hurt their feelings, you do not sit back and try to fight the overwhelming wave of emotional,
irrational force coming down on you.
Malaysia's Immigration Department has revoked the passports of blogger Alvin Tan and activist Ali Abd Jalil, both of whom have sought refuge in foreign countries.
The vengeful Immigration Department director-general Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim claimed the move was necessary so as to serve as a warning to those who insult the courts, the rulers and Islam. In fact the 'offence' was a trivial joke about enjoying pork.
Tan says he is currently in California and applying for asylum status in the United States.
Update: Vivian Lee sentenced
29th September 2016. From EconomicTimes
A Malaysian woman known for her ties to a sexually explicit blog was handed a suspended six-month jail sentence on Friday for posting a Ramadan greeting on Facebook in 2013 that showed her and a former partner eating pork.
Vivian Lee and former blogging partner Alvin Tan were charged in 2013 under the Sedition Act for uploading the photo that sparked 'outrage' in the Muslim-majority nation.
Following the sentencing Judge Abdul Rashid Daud granted Lee a stay pending an appeal.
With his penchant for mooning and blurting out risque spoonerisms, Crayon Shin-chan has delighted Japanese children, and infuriated their parents, for more than two decades.
But now the precocious five-year-old is being taken on by Indonesian TV censors, who have declared his antics as borderline pornography and warned broadcasters to censor images of his bare buttocks, scantily clad women and other indecorous scenes.
The Indonesian broadcasting commission has told TV channel RCTI to either cut supposedly indecent parts of the programme or show it later when children aren't watching. A member of the commission claims:
The character fools around with his bare bottom exposed. He also noses around people [when they are] on dates. The show features a lot of female characters in seductive garments that emphasise their cleavage. It is essentially pornography.
A U.S.-based search engine that had been gaining popularity in China for its privacy-protected search results has become a target of Chinese censors.
According to Tech In Asia , a technology news blog, Chinese authorities have not only blocked access to DuckDuckGo from Chinese servers, but they even appear to be censoring any mentions of the search engine online as well.
Founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg explained that DuckDuckGo is a search engine that boasts real privacy by not collecting or sharing personal information from its users. On Weinberg's personal blog , he goes into a little bit more depth about
how important Internet privacy is to him, even opting out of the commonly used Google services, not only because they are competition but because he believes in privacy policies that do the minimum collection needed as opposed to the maximum
To Singapore, with Love is a 2013 Singapore documentary by Pin Pin Tan.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Singaporeans, who were activists, student leaders or Communists were exiled from their country. Fifty years later, despite resettling in countries such as the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Thailand, it is clear that the diaspora
still holds Singapore and the idea of returning home in their hearts and minds. TO SINGAPORE, WITH LOVE follows the exiled protagonists in the film, as they undertake a trip to Singapore's closest neighbor, Malaysia, where they attend reunions, memorials
and stay in a hotel that overlooks their homeland.
A documentary film about self-professed exiles -- including members or supporters of the now-defunct Communist Party of Malaya (CPM, who are living overseas has been barred in Singapore.
Announcing its decision to ban the 70-minute film To Singapore, With Love , Singapore's films censors of the Media Development Authority (MDA) claim that its contents:
Undermine national security because legitimate actions of security agencies to protect national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimised innocent individuals.
The individuals in the film have given distorted and untruthful accounts of how they came to leave Singapore and remain outside Singapore
The MDA said, adding that the Government has made it clear that it would allow former CPM members to return if they agree to be interviewed by the authorities on their past activities to resolve their cases.
The MDA pointed out that the CPM had sought to overthrow the legitimate elected governments of Singapore and Malaysia through armed struggle and subversion, and replace them with a communist regime .
The film by local director Tan Pin Pin centred on the exiles -- some who have not returned for 50 years -- ruminating about their lives away from Singapore. It has won Ms Tan multiple international awards, including Best Director at the Muhr AsiaAfrica
Documentary Awards at the Dubai International Film Festival last year.
Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said he supported the MDA's assessment.
Hundreds of defiant Singaporeans protesting censorship gathered in Malaysia on Friday to see a documentary banned by censors in their home country.
The film, To Singapore, with Love , examines the case of political exiles in the city-state and features interviews with nine former activists, student leaders, and self-confessed communists who fled Singapore from the 1960s until the 1980s and
are currently settled in Malaysia, Britain and Thailand.
Organisers estimated 400 people watched the screening, saying most of the audience was made up of Singaporeans who had crossed the border to view the production in the southern Malaysian city of Johor Bharu.
Singapore, ruled by the same party since 1959, has relaxed strict social controls including media censorship in recent years, but continues to impose stringent regulations on films that discuss local politics.
South Korea is banning all monetised Facebook game in a move targeted at casino games, most notably Zynga poker.
Facebook games, including casino games, are being blocked until the country implements a new censorship and ratings system.
On August 29, Korea's Game Rating and Administration Committee shut down games such as FarmVille , Candy Crush Saga and the new version of Zynga Poker . Stop payments were put on the games, preventing players from spending any kind
of money on in-game micro-transactions.
The block appears to be a way to enforce the 2013 Game Industry Promotion Act, which established a legally binding age-appropriateness rating system in December of last year. Foreign games companies had not been heeding to censorship requirement.
A panel of nine people, which includes professors, attorneys and non-government organization representatives, will now rate games. which will be placed in one of four categories: Suitable for all; 12+, 15+, and Adults Only.
Game developers and publishers can submit their software to be rated and then should receive a rating within 15 days of filing an application. A fee also must be paid to take part in the ratings process. This will then re-enable the payment process for
games that are deemed suitable by the censor board.
South Korea's new restrictions came out just before Zynga launched its new version of Zynga Poker for mobile devices, so it is assumed that this is the target of the new censorship process. The game now won't be available for the South Korean market.
The Chinese government's TV and internet censor has announced further repressive controls for internet TV.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), issued a notice saying that video websites must obtain one of two licenses -- a film screening license or a television screening license -- to legally stream foreign
films or television shows.
The regulator said the websites must register information about their foreign films and television shows by March 31 next year. The sites will not be able to broadcast such content after that date if they have not registered.
According to Xinhua , the state-run news agency, the notice means that video websites will have to apply for a license for each individual film or show, in addition to having to procure a license for the website overall to provide video streaming
But SARFT said it encouraged online entertainment providers to import an appropriate amount of cinema and television works that are healthy, well-made and showcase good values.
Prominent Japanese photographer Ryudai Takano refuses to be cowed even though police ordered the sexual organs in his nude portraits on exhibit at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art here be covered up.
Instead of withdrawing the photographs, Takano decided to exhibit the censored portraits as a protest and to show the power of the public to intervene in the arts:
In essence, an art museum exhibits weird things that you cannot see anywhere else. By observing things that are distinctively 'different,' it helps viewers diversify their viewpoints. It is a museum's primary function, and if the administrative
authorities interfere with its exhibition without much consideration, it can threaten its raison d'etre.
The large photo panel and 11 smaller portraits by Takano, currently on display at the Photography exhibition, will have had the sexual organs covered by a sheet on order of Aichi prefectural police censors.
In exhibiting the original works, the museum set up a special viewing booth enclosed by curtains and staffed by guards. It also placed a cautionary sign at the entrance that warned that the photographs feature full nudity.
Photographer Takashi Arai, who also is exhibiting his works in the exhibition, started an Internet petition to demand that police withdraw the censorship order and explain its justification. On Sept. 1, he submitted a petition containing the signatures
of 8,544 people to the prefectural police.
LinkedIn executives said Tuesday that they are reconsidering their policies, after seven months of censoring content from China deemed too sensitive. Hani Durzy, a company spokesman told Bloomberg:
We do want to get this right, and we are strongly considering changing our policy so that content from our Chinese members that is not allowed in China will still be viewed globally.
LinkedIn, however, thought it could make it work. In February, the company launched its Chinese-language Web site and set up operations in China. In return, it promised to follow Chinese government rules and started self-censoring content.
Then, in June, came the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. LinkedIn users reported posts about Tiananmen being blocked even in Hong Kong, which lies outsides China's censorship firewall. LinkedIn claimed at the time that it was an accident.
And it said that although such content was self-censored in China, it would remain accessible elsewhere in the world. But some users pointed out that this wasn't true.
Rob Schmitz, a radio journalist for Marketplace whose story about the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown was blocked in China, wrote recently that LinkedIn blocked his report not only in China but also globally.
Content posted from China IP addresses will be blocked globally to protect the safety of our members that live in China, LinkedIn admitted in an e-mail to Schmitz .
Thailand's military dictators have allowed 12 banned satellite channels to resume broadcasting. The channels have been off the air since the May 22 coup. However the channels have been forced to sign a declaration to not air political news.
Some of the channels are well-known political-oriented satellite stations, such as the yellow-shirt ASTV, Democrat Party-backed Blue Sky and red-shirt Asia Update, said they were satisfied by the terms and conditions laid down by the junta.
Most of them even agreed to change their name in a move to end memories about previous political stances.
The channels allowed to start broadcasting also include MV5, DNN, UDD, P&P, 4 Channel, FMTV, Hot TV, Rescue TV and Student and People Network for Reforming Thailand Channel.
ASTV, which will now be known as News TV, still plans to focus intensely on news, albeit now censored.
The broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecom-munications Commission announced conditions for the 12 satellite TV channels to apply for a new licence to resume broadcasting next week. The channels will need to apply for a new
licence as Pay TV and comply with the NCPO's condition that they would broadcast no content that affects national security and the social divide by signing a memorandum of understand with the NBTC.
A research article has appeared in the journal Science . It is titled Reverse-engineering censorship in China: Randomized experimentation and participant observation by Gary King, Jennifer Pan and Margaret E. Roberts.
The abstract reveals that the censorship of people's social media posting is more about preventing organised protests than censoring personal opinions:
Chinese censorship of individual social media posts occurs at two levels:
(i) Many tens of thousands of censors, working inside Chinese social media firms and government at several levels, read individual social media posts, and decide which ones to take down.
(ii) They also read social media submissions that are prevented from being posted by automated keyword filters, and decide which ones to publish.
To study the first level, we devised an observational study to download published Chinese social media posts before the government could censor them, and to revisit each from a worldwide network of computers to see which was censored. To study the second
level, we conducted the first large scale experimental study of censorship by creating accounts on numerous social media sites throughout China, submitting texts with different randomly assigned content to each, and detecting from a worldwide network of
computers which ones were censored.
To find out the details of how the system works, we supplemented the typical current approach (conducting uncertain and potentially unsafe confidential interviews with insiders) with a participant observation study, in which we set up our own social
media site in China. While also attempting not to alter the system we were studying, we purchased a URL, rented server space, contracted with Chinese firms to acquire the same software as used by existing social media sites, and---with direct access to
their software, documentation, and even customer service help desk support---reverse engineered how it all works.
Criticisms of the state, its leaders, and their policies are routinely published, whereas posts with collective action potential are much more likely to be censored---regardless of whether they are for or against the state (two concepts not previously
distinguished in the literature). Chinese people can write the most vitriolic blog posts about even the top Chinese leaders without fear of censorship, but if they write in support of or opposition to an ongoing protest---or even about a rally in favor
of a popular policy or leader---they will be censored.
We clarify the internal mechanisms of the Chinese censorship apparatus and show how changes in censorship behavior reveal government intent by presaging their action on the ground. That is, it appears that criticism on the web, which was thought to be
censored, is used by Chinese leaders to determine which officials are not doing their job of mollifying the people and need to be replaced.
The authorities in China have shut down the 11th Beijing Independent Film Festival on its opening day.
Organisers said they had been pressure by officials wanting to ban the festival, which had been due to run for a month.
The organisers said they had received a series of warnings from officials to cancel the festival - one report said they complied after being briefly detained.
Security was tight at the venue in the Beijing suburb of Songzhuang, with about two dozen police or security officers blocking the area and preventing around 30 film directors and members of the public from entering, the Associated Press (AP) news agency
The Chinese government keeps repressive control of movies and is suspicious of independent films that could contain criticism of the Communist party and its policies..
Singapore's media censor, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), has said it will not be proceeding with a new censorship scheme for arts entertainment organisers, following a public consultation exercise in May and numerous industry
The Arts Term Licensing Scheme was one of the changes proposed by MDA to the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act to force arts entertainment event organisers to classify their own performances.
Under the scheme, licensees would have to either adopt a General rating or else a Restricted 18 rating. But during the public consultation, 45 arts groups backed a position by artists' network Arts Engage, which objected to the scheme.
Among their concerns was that such a scheme would encourage self-censorship as assessors fear hefty fines and penalties if a work was wrongly classified.
The MDA said it remains mindful that arts groups were the intended key beneficiaries of the scheme and it would not be meaningful to roll out the scheme if the majority of the arts groups were opposed to it.
But while MDA will not proceed with the Term Licensing Scheme, it will proceed with other proposed amendments to the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act. They include streamlining the enforcement process by vesting MDA with investigation powers for
arts and entertainment breaches. Currently, MDA has to report such violations to the police for investigation.
Chinese users of instant messaging apps will have to register their real names, and seek approval before publishing political news, under new censorship rules.
Public users of popular services such as WeChat will also have to sign agreements promising to uphold the socialist system , state media say. The State Internet Information Office (SIIO) announced the rules, which come into immediate effect. The
Instant messaging services should require users to verify their real-name identities before registering an account.
Where users break the rules, the providers will, as appropriate, issue warnings, restrict their posts... or even close their accounts, while retaining the relevant records so they can fulfil their reporting obligations to the authorities.
Meanwhile, South Korean officials said the Chinese authorities had told them that access to foreign messaging apps including KakaoTalk and Line - both owned by South Korean firms - had been blocked.
You, as El Presidente, will first take control of the infamous island of Tropico during early colonial times and then guide it through the centuries as the world changes and moves ever forward. You must tackle the changing needs of your people, as well
as opposing governments and factions, and thus lay the foundations for your own dynasty. As you move through your years in office you can promote members of your extended family on the island to positions of power: such as ambassador, commanding general
or even Supreme Ruler, to ensure your legacy thrives through the eras. As your influence and wealth grows, so do the threats to your burgeoning island superpower. Can you survive both World Wars, prosper through the Great Depression, rule as an
iron-fisted dictator through the Cold War and advance your country to modern times and beyond? From the 19th to the 21st century, each era carries its own challenges and opportunities
A video game distributor says Thailand's film and video censors have banned a city-building simulation game for computers. The game allows players to play the role of a president of a tropical island, draft a constitution and manage the country, with the
option of controlling the media and ruling as an iron-fisted dictator.
New Era Thailand marketing manager Nonglak Sahavattanapong said that the censorship office had banned sales of Tropico 5 because they feared its content might affect peace and order. But of course the reality is that the theme of despot dictators
is a little too close to home.
Chinese reports about a giant inflatable toad have been deleted from the Internet after social media users compared the puffed-up animal to former President Jiang Zemin.
A 22-metre-high toad, appeared in a Beijing park last weekend, but after much mockery, the website of China's official Xinhua news agency and popular web portal Sina had deleted their reports on the animal.
A spokesman for Yuyuantan park in Beijing said there were no immediate plans to remove the toad.
China's TV censor, SARFT (The State Administration of Radio Film and Television) is preparing to stifle Chinese Video on Demand services.
According to 21st Century Business Herald, SARFT has held talks with related agencies on the and revealed some of its new censorship policies including that all video content must go through SARFT's uniform platform ; display of branding
information of content suppliers will be prohibited; no overseas produced content or Internet user self-made content will be allowed; all apps and hardware must be submitted to SARFT for review and approval before they reach the market.
These new ominous sounding rules have not impressed investors have precipitated a strong selloff. The price of Shenzhen-listed Internet TV company LeTV has tumbled nearly 20% as a result and preorders for its Internet video streaming boxes have been
A Japanese artist who made figures of Lady Gaga and a kayak modelled on her vagina said she was outraged by her arrest and vowed a court fight against obscenity charges.
Speaking from jail, Megumi Igarashi, said she was challenging a culture of discrimination against discussion of the vagina in Japanese society.
Igarashi, who worked under the alias Rokudenashiko, which means good-for-nothing girl , built a yellow kayak with a top shaped like her vagina after raising about $10,000 through crowdfunding. Igarashi sent 3D printer data of her scanned vagina,
the digital basis for her kayak project, as a thanks to a number of donors.
On Saturday, she was arrested for distributing indecent material and faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Igarashi said about 10 police officers arrived at her house and that initially she thought they were only interested in
confiscating work she has said is meant as a pop-art exploration of the manko, vulgar Japanese slang for vagina:
I did not expect to get arrested at all. Even as they were confiscating my works, I thought to myself, 'This will be a good story.' Then they handcuffed and arrested me. Now, I just feel outraged.
An artist arrested for distributing 3-D data of her vagina online urged the public to outgrow the perception that female genitalia are taboo or shameful, after being released from police custody on Friday. Megumi Igarashi said:
I believe this arrest was completely unjust and unreasonable. I have always stuck to my artistic principles, which she said are aimed at toppling the entrenched idea that female genitalia are obscene. The perception verges on sexism.
Igarashi's release Friday means the court acknowledged it was unjust in the first place, said her lead lawyer, Takashi Yamaguchi.
Authorities will likely continue the investigation and try to press charges, but Igarashi said she will stick to her convictions and fight till the end if indicted
Five journalists in Burma have been sentenced to 10 years in prison for disclosing state secrets after their newspaper reported on the building of an alleged chemical weapons factory.
Their trial began in February following the article's publication the month before . Their paper, the Unity Journal, has been forced to close due to the costs needed to organise the defence of the five men.
They were convicted under the 1923 Burma State Secrets Act. Tin San's lawyer, Kyaw Lin, said the verdict was totally unfair , adding: These people are not spies ... They were just reporting.
Two children's books have been reprieved from burning in Singapore. The Minster of Communications and Book Burning was severely embarrassed on the international stage for targeting books reflecting gay lifestyles. Two of three books he banned a few
days ago will now be restored to national libraries. Unfortunately all copies of a 3rd book have already been destroyed.
Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said in a statement:
I understand these reactions, which reflect a deep-seated respect in our culture for the written word
He stood by the decision to remove the books from the children's section of the libraries, but said he instructed libraries to place the books in their adult sections.
The National Library Board (NLB) originally took three titles off the shelves in its children's section following complaints from a few members of the public.
The NLB ban led to two online petitions with thousands of signatures pleading with the library authority to reinstate the books.
Ibrahim then defended the NLB censorship saying that he considered that the books do not promote the notion of conventional families .:
The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about.
Like in other societies, there is considerable effort by some in Singapore to shift these norms, and equally strong pushback by those who don't wish to see change.
Societies are never static, and will change over time. But NLB's approach is to reflect existing social norms, and not to challenge or seek to change them.
The three banned books are:
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson , a 2005 illustrated book about the true story of two male penguins which raise a chick together.
The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption is a 2002 book that details the journey of a lesbian couple, a single mother and two married couples which travel to China to meet their adoptive daughters for the first time.
Who's In My Family: All About Our Families . This is the title whose copies have already been burnt and so won't get restored to libraries.
The Evil Within is a 2014 horror action game from Bethesda
Shinji Mikami, the father of survival horror, is back to direct The Evil Within -- a game embodying the meaning of pure survival horror. Highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story weave together to create an immersive world
that will bring players to the height of tension.
Bethesida Softworks have delayed Shinji Mikami's upcoming survival-horror game, The Evil Within . ZeniMax Asia general manger Tetsu Takahashi explained how the game will now be cut for a CERO D (17) rating in japan:
If we were to make it the same way as the foreign version, it'd be rated CERO Z [18 and up] and we felt that it'd be best to release it the way the creators make it. However, that would limit the sales and advertising, so we'd lose the opportunity to
reach out to as many customers possible.
However there will be a downloadable upgrade to an uncut CERO Z (18) version. Takahashi said:
The Evil Within will have two types of CERO D and CERO Z, with both of them having passed the CERO inspections, but the retail version will only be done using the CERO D versioni. Those who preorder the game can also get the CERO Z version's
representation through the Gore Mode DLC.
The Evil Within will be released on October 23, 2014 in Japan for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One
Thailand's censorship regime has grown ever more pervasive since the military took over last month, with punishments aimed at both speakers and consumers of prohibited media.
According to the regime's own reports, hundreds of new websites have been added to the Thai government's official blacklist including politics and news sites covering the coup. Now the authorities are deceiving Internet users into disclosing their
personal details, including email addresses and Facebook profile information, when they try to visit these prohibited sites.
Under Thailand's national web blocking infrastructure, Net users attempting to visit blocked sites in Thailand are redirected to a government web landing page, managed by the country's Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD).
After the coup, the Thai Netizen Network, a local digital rights group, noticed that the TCSD block page had sprouted two new graphics: a blue close button, and a Login with Facebook icon. Both lead to what appears to be a Facebook Login page, where
users are asked for permission to hand over personal information stored in their Facebook profile --- without any indication, in Thai or English, of where that data was being sent, or for what purpose. In fact, the Login app was being run by TCSD itself,
which used Facebook's application platform to collect the details of Facebook users visiting to the landing page.
Thai authorities have long claimed that foreign companies should comply with all their demands for removing content and handing over personal data. Facebook has consistently refused such requests. By misleading users to click through the
permissions-granting first page of its Facebook application, Thai authorities have been gathering the type of user information that Facebook's legal department has long refused to hand over.
removed shortly after the Thai Netizen Network published details of its deceptive appearance. An identical app which subsequently replaced it on the page was suspended by Facebook after less than a week of operation.
Facebook's own public app statistics pages show that these two apps managed to scoop up hundreds of Thai email addresses before being shut down. Did these Internet users understand that they were handing over their names and email addresses as potential
witnesses to future prosecutions?
Mizo , a film by Nam Ki-woong made headlines last month when it was banned by the Korea Media Rating Board's (KMRB). The film censors claimed:
The premise of the film damages and distorts our sense of human dignity and value, and has the potential danger of disrupting social order and public sentiment.
Nominally the censors gave it a restricted rating, which means that such films can only be shown in specialty theaters, of which none actually exist in the country.
However the film may finally hit local theaters next week, as filmmakers have censored parts deemed problematic. Filmmakers hope blur effects will help overturn the Korea Media Rating Board's (KMRB) de facto ban. The KMRB is now in the process of
reviewing the censored version of the film.
The incenstuous drama is about a young woman who, after having long been sexually abused by her adoptive parents, sets out to find her biological father. She seeks to make him fall in love with her only to eventually kill herself, thereby breaking his
heart and avenging her pain.
The uncensored original version is set to open in Japanese theaters in October.