To Singapore, With Love on DVD

Tan Pin Pin at the screening of To Singapore, With Love at the Freedom Film Fest in Johor Baru last September.
Tan Pin Pin at the screening of To Singapore, With Love at the Freedom Film Fest in Johor Baru last September.PHOTO: ST FILE

Tan Pin Pin's controversial documentary can also be streamed

Local film-maker Tan Pin Pin's documentary To Singapore, With Love, which cannot be screened in public, is now available on DVD and via the video-streaming website Vimeo - but only if you are outside of the Republic.

An announcement was made on the film's Facebook page on Thursday night that the signed, limited-edition DVD is available for ordering until July 31.

Tan adds: "This film should not be watched alone. It needs to be experienced together with friends and family. After all, together, forward we go."

The post is signed off "With Love, from Singapore, Tan Pin Pin".

The website for the film (www.tosingaporewithlove.com) lists the price as $19.99 and clearly indicates that the item will not be shipped to Singapore addresses. But its region code is 0, which means that, technically, it can be used on DVD players worldwide.

On the film's page on Vimeo (vimeo.com/ondemand/tosingaporewithlove) is the notice: "Unfortunately, this title is unavailable in your region". The write-up adds: "Because of the ban, this film is available for streaming in all territories except for Singapore."

In response to queries from Life, a Media Development Authority (MDA) spokesman says: "We are looking into the matter."

In the 70-minute film, she interviews nine political exiles, including former student leader Tan Wah Piow and activist Ang Swee Chai, on their reasons for leaving and what Singapore means to them today.

It premiered at the Busan International Film Festival in October 2013.

On Sept 10 last year, MDA gave the film a rare Not Allowed For All Ratings (NAR) classification. It said in a statement that the film "undermines national security because legitimate actions of the security agencies to protect the national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimised innocent individuals".

The Frequently Asked Questions page on the film's website says that, because of the film's classification, "the DVD cannot be sold and the film cannot be streamed in Singapore".

On her personal Facebook page, Tan said she has received an order from Bulgaria and "quite a few" from Johor Baru.

The documentary can be shown in Singapore only at a "purely private" screening, said MDA. Outside of Singapore, the film has played to packed halls in London, New York, Melbourne, Taiwan and Malaysia, according to the website and social media accounts.

Its accolades include Best Director in the Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary section at the Dubai International Film Festival and Best Asean Documentary, Special Mention at the Salaya International Documentary Festival in Thailand.

Tan is participating in the upcoming 7 Letters, a compendium of short films from seven top local film-makers to mark Singapore's 50th birthday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'To Singapore, With Love on DVD'. Print Edition | Subscribe