By Fathin Ungku
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore organisers of the musical “Les Miserables” have cut a scene in which two male actors kiss after complaints from the public in the conservative city state where sex between men is illegal.
The show’s organiser, Mediacorp VizPro, removed the kiss after being told by the state regulator, the Media Development Authority (MDA), that it violated the show’s “General” rating.
“The inclusion of this particular scene meant that the performance had exceeded the ‘General’ rating issued,” the MDA said in a statement.
“Under our classification code, such a scene would fall under an ‘Advisory’ rating.”
Mediacorp Vizpro chose to remove the kiss from the scene instead of changing the rating for business reasons, a spokesman told Reuters. An advisory rating means parents might prevent children from watching the show.
The company said kiss was a “peck on the lips” during a comical scene in the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 19th century novel set in Paris.
“The kiss was intended to be comic,” the head of Mediacorp Vizpro, Moses Lye, said in a statement.
Singapore is a modern financial hub at the heart of Southeast Asia developed over the half century since its founding by a ruling party that has closely regulated politics and society at large.
Sex between two men is illegal in Singapore and punishable with up to two years in prison, though the law is rarely enforced. The law, based on English texts from the island’s colonial period, makes no mention of lesbians.
Last week, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs warned that it would take steps to prevent foreign firms from funding or supporting the city’s annual gay-pride event, Pink Dot.
This year’s sponsors included Facebook, Google and Goldman Sachs.
(Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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