Banned in Singapore: The film, ‘To Singapore, With love’

Tan Pin Pin is a Singapore-based film director. Her films are explorations of Singapore, her histories, contexts and limits. She is best known for the documentary film Singapore GaGa. It was the first Singapore documentary to have a theatrical run. Wikipedia


The Real Singapore


Tan Pin Pin’s film ‘To Singapore With Love’ summed up in less than 50 words:

a few communists, some ex-PAP men & women, a student activist-turned-Oxford-educated lawyer, a Gaza activist and a folk singer walk into a cinema and tell their story to a camera.
What they all have in common: they all want to go home.
[Content warning: extreme patriotism, 70s protest songs that will make you cry]
[Spoiler alert: only one of them will make it home. In an urn.]

So I was part of the three busloads of people (and many others who found their own way) who rode form Singapore to Johor Bahru to watch To Singapore With Love…

So what was the film like? It was a series of interviews with people who lived in the UK and Thailand. They were there because they had to escape Singapore for to escape detention/other political persecution in the 60s or 70s. Some of them disagreed with government policies, some were alleged a communists some were alleged activists who shouted a little too loudly, some were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

What they had in common: they wanted to go back but could not without being arrested or in a couple of cases, being made to publicly renounce their beliefs on national TV…

You don’t have to feel sorry for the exiles. By the time they get interviewed they have made lives for themselves abroad. Comfortable lives. Started businesses, families, an NGO, written books. Three to four decades is too long to sit around wishing to go home. But not too long to keep holding out a little bit of hope that maybe one day they will be able to return the country they were born and grew up in, and in some cases, they country they fought for independence for. Some of them are still incredibly patriotic. Like the exile who wishes his son was a Singapore citizen so he could fight in the Singapore Armed Forces and protect the country, because he believes in Singapore’s need to defend itself, etc.


*The writer blogs at

Read the whole article here:

Banned in Singapore? You could always watch it in JB!

Friday September 19, 2014 MYT 7:19:05 PM

Busloads of Singaporeans travel to Johor Baru to watch banned film

In 2013, Tan released To Singapore, With Love, which revolves around political exiles, some of whom have not been home for as long as 50 years. The documentary won Tan the best director award in the Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary section at 10th Dubai International Film Festivalm (DIFF). It was made with the support of the Asian Cinema Fund and the Busan International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere in competition. The film was banned in Singapore, with the Media Development Authority claiming that it undermined national security as “the individuals in the film have given distorted and untruthful accounts of how they came to leave Singapore and remain outside Singapore,” and that “a number of these self-professed ‘exiles’ were members of, or had provided support to, the proscribed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).”

To Singapore With Love – Tan Pin Pin

‪#‎SEAArtsFest‬ | Tan Pin Pin’s “To Singapore, With Love”: a homage to individual fighters whose lives have been shaped by migration and exile. We’ll be screening this as part of ‪#‎SEAArtsFilm‬ this year, so look out for it!

“To Singapore, with Love is a homage to individual fighters whose lives have been shaped by emigration. They tell their stories more as utopians than as victims, opening up amazing perspectives on an ultra-modern city in a democratic coma as well as on life in exile, whose path is never straightforward for those who do not lose sight of their goals, even when far away from home”. The film was first screened at the Berlinale 2014, a great cultural event and one of the most important dates for the international film industry.

Individuals in To Singapore, With Love gave “distorted, untruthful accounts”:

Embedded image permalink
Thank you Malaysian friends who came and for the Singaporean friends who drove up too, to watch this film, and for the invigorating Q&A that followed. When you laughed at all the local moments, the film lit up. #freedomfilmfestival


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One Response to Banned in Singapore: The film, ‘To Singapore, With love’

  1. Pingback: All my Posts on Singapore | weehingthong

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