Same-sex kiss cut from Singapore staging of 'Les Miserables'
SINGAPORE– A kiss between two male actors in a production of Les Miserables in Singapore has been cut after complaints from the public.
Producers axed the kiss after they were warned that the routine – a quick peck on the lips between an innkeeper and a guest during the song "Beggars At The Feast" – contravened the show's "general" rating.
The show's organizer Moses Lye told local TV network Channel NewsAsia that the scene was meant to be comic, but that since June 3 they have omitted the kiss.
Regulatory guidelines state that a production with a "general" rating must have "no references and depiction promoting issues or lifestyles contrary to prevailing social norms."
"The inclusion of the same-sex kiss was not highlighted in the script when it was submitted to Media Development Authority (MDA) for classification," the city-state's regulatory body said in a statement.
It added that it will be "taking action" against producers for violating licensing conditions.
All theater productions staged in Singapore are subject to approval by the media regulator, and organizers can be fined up to $10,000 for flouting licensing conditions.
The Southeast Asian city-state has relaxed its censorship rules in recent years but it maintains strict regulations on works that depict local politics and homosexuality.
The change in choreography has angered Singapore's close-knit artistic community amid rising tensions between religious conservatives and gay-rights activists.
"You might think that canceling the kiss represents some kind of victory over LGBT's and liberals, but honestly... it is nothing more than a triumph of ignorance and hysteria over common sense and sober reflection," playwright Alfian Sa'at wrote in a widely shared Facebook post.
Alfian added that the incident was also a "triumph of bureaucracy over literature".
The move comes barely a week after Singapore's government warned foreign firms against backing a gay rights rally.
Gay rights movements had been growing steadily in recent years helped by changing social norms and a large influx of tourists and expatriates.
In 2014, however, Singapore's top court upheld a law that criminalizes sex between men, and children's books with gay themes were moved to the adults section in public libraries. – Rappler.com