Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Return of the Black Marker Brigade!

[Read the rest here.]

'Economist' report on Bersih rally 'censored'
Hazlan Zakaria & Wong Teck Chi
Jul 19, 11
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Opposition parliamentarians have claimed that the July 16 edition ofThe Economist has been defaced by the Home Ministry in an apparent attempt to censor a report on the Bersih 2.0 rally for electoral reform.

NONEThe Economist July16 issue has been censored/black inked on Bersih story by Home Ministry,” reads a tweet by Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran.

In photos distributed via micro-blog site Twitter, the report headlines 'Political affray in Malaysia: Taken to the cleaners' shows lines blacked out by what seems to be a permanent marker pen.

Malaysiakini could not immediately verify the claim, but a comparison with the online version reveals that the lines struck out refer to allegations of police and government misconduct:

- 'and one man died of a heart attack', in the first paragraph.

- 'The march itself was then banned, although the authorities offered Bersih a stadium to meet in - and then withdrew the offer', in the second paragraph

- 'The heavy-handed police tactics have provoked a lot of anger; the government has conceded an official investigation into claims of police brutality. In one instance (caught on film), police seemed to fire tear gas and water cannon into a hospital where protesters were sheltering from a baton charge', in the fourth paragraph.

NONEWhen contacted, Kulasegaran criticised the action as “uncalled for”.

“In this day and age only a police run state would do this. They are trying to hide writing which could be true, because (they are afraid) it will be read by the public and they will believe it. The government is still (suffering from) denial syndrome.”

The DAP leader however, dismissed the attempt as ineffectual as the full article is “available online anyway”.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua also tweeted on the matter and posted photos of the censored pages: “I'm sure @TheEconomist readers are intelligent enough to know how to get the full article, but the censorship reflects the stupidity & insecurity of an autocratic regime.”

A few rare souls seem to have been born with black marker pens in their untiring little hands.

Sad but true, the Black Marker Brigade exists. It's a quiet, diligent, anonymous league of Backroom Types whose mission on Earth - or, at least, in Malaysia - is to protect us from accidental or intentional exposure to titillation of the salacious variety. Their thankless task, in effect, is to ensure that you never have to be confronted with (and, presumably, affronted by) an image of the Female Nipple. Whenever and wherever it may appear: in imported literature, cinema posters, and comics, for instance. And so what if you've just forked out $18.75 for a reputable photography journal or glossy art magazine? How can it claim to be reputable if it's got naked pink titties in it?
     Hah! In the name of Art too many atrocities haved been committed. Too Much Flesh Exposed. It's time people stopped taking off their pants just so that some artist-pervert can paint them. One practiced stroke of the felt-tipped pen and... voila! Goya's Naked Maja is naked no more! A deft rub here and a quick daub there and... Hullo! Michelangelo's David is ready to meet the Malaysian public! Anytime now the Black Marker Brigade may be commissioned to bring decency and modesty back to the medical textbooks. You can bet the floors of all our book warehouses will be slippery with drool.
     Do members of the Black Marker Brigade go to work in sinister Ku Klux Klan-style hoods? What do they do to nude black women - do they switch to Tipp-Ex? What are the long-term consequences of membership in the Brigade? Does one go through life seeing dark spots and splotches on women's chests that can't be removed with even the most devout rubbing? What do they write in their passports under Occupation?
     Well, it's a dirty job - but somebody has to do it. The Stout-of-Heart and Incorruptible who attain the rank of Veteran in the Black Marker Brigade have the awful onus of ritually purifying 8 X 10 glossies and wall-sized posters of the most notorious and lascivious-looking of foreign film-stars. (God, we had a horrible experience with that disgusting Member of the Italian Parliament... what was her name? Ah yes... Cicciolina... none of us got any sleep for a week. we had no choice - it was a Standing Order from the Minister of Home Affairs.)
     One shudders to think of the things some people have to do to earn a living. Still, there are obviously a few rare souls who seem to have been born with black marker pens in their untiring little hands. You can easily identify them in a crowd, they're a breed apart: look for the dark ink stains on their lips and fingertips. Our hands are filthy but our minds are clean! This is the solemn credo of the Black Marker Brigade.

[Source:  ADOI!]