Evil Looking Villains Wanted, Please Apply Inside

I remember the old Cantonese ( Chinese dialect ) movies of the 60's from Hong Kong. My mother loved to watch those movies and poor old me had to suffer through innumerable shows with her. If you had seen a few of these movies, you can easily predict the plots of all the others. The stories were so embarrassingly simple and the characters were all so one-dimensional. Even a child like me then could easily get bored by these shows, but the adults were mesmerized by them.

Like I said before, my extended family members were uneducated and clueless about the ways of the world around them. Things had to be clearly colored in black and white for them so as not to confuse them. Likewise, the movie characters had to be clearly classified in white( good ) and black( villainous ) characters. The white characters were clean cut and good looking even though they may be very poor. The black characters were ugly and had traits that were easily distinguishable like a mustache or fierce looks for male villains and loud, sneering looks for female villains. Of course everybody wanted to be the white characters. That leaves the few unfortunate ones to play the villains and they got so stereotyped that they represented the evils that everybody loved to hate; even little kids can tell they were the villains without even understanding the stories. When the movies' actors came to Singapore for publicity, the "white" characters were presented with gifts and flowers but the poor "black" actors got pelted with rotten eggs !

These movie fans were adults but why were they so naive ? It was because they did not quite understand how movies were made. They thought that the stories were sort of semi-documentaries ( like some kind of folk tales ) that were true and the actors were playing the parts that fitted their true life characters. They hated to believe that all these movies were all made up to sucker them into parting with their money. Well, if that's what the customers wanted, the producers just churned up more of the same. These "intellectually blind" movies just went on for years.

But things soon started to go wrong when attendance at these movies started to go into decline. I guess, enough of the older folks eventually got bored and the younger generations were embarrassed by these juvenile movies. So the same shows began to move to the TVs as cheap soap operas. Then one day the watershed of Chinese soap operas happened that shook the whole Chinese movie industry. The hero had became the villain !

It was in a soap opera called " The Crocodile Tears ", where the suave, sophisticated and handsome hero grew up promising to be the good boy that all mothers loved to see on these soap operas. Well, he did and the typical soap opera would have ended with the usual " and they all lived happily ever after ". Oh no, this soap opera did not want to end that quickly and to extend the story beyond the usual numbers of episodes, they started to twist the character of the hero who through a series of opportunistic circumstances, chose to pursue wealth instead of true love and even resorted to evil means to keep his wealth and powers. This hero/villain sent a shock wave of confusion through the predictable world of our naive folks. They said, " Oh no, this is a bad influence on the kids !". Yeah, right, as though their constant quarrels, gambling and smoking etc. were marvelous for our character building. Did they imagine that real life villains look just like "black" characters ? Of course, unless they were born really ugly, the real life villains know how to make up and dress like the "white" characters. So which type of movie was a bad influence on who ? The newspapers are full of stories of old folks being cheated by "well dressed" conmen. Some folks just cannot handle reality even when it bit them on the nose everyday. Amongst the everyday crowd that they meet everyday, they want someone to paint the villains "black" for them to see ?

So what has this got to do with gay life, you may ask ? Be patient and let me sketch the parallel of the movies with Singapore's politics.

Likewise, politicians love to paint the world "black and white". The Nazis had the Jews, the Communists had the capitalist exploiters and the Capitalists had their communist dictators. During Singapore's colonial days, this was easy. The white man was "black" for exploiting the locals so we must unite to fight for independence. When independence came, the villains were vanquished but the story had to continue because there was no "The End" in real life. The politicians had to look for new villains. Out came the communists to play the much needed villains like a prayer answered. We must unite to fight the communists and we needed the ISA ( Internal Security Act - an all powerful Act that allowed detention with trial ). With a population full of naive folks who adored those simplistic movies, of course the politicians easily got their way and no questions asked.

Then those lousy communists had to fall flat on their faces and lose their much valued villainous traits that everybody loves to hate. Back to prayers and the Help Wanted Advertisements :

" Evil Looking Villains Wanted, Please Apply Inside "

This time prayer was not answered and no one came forward to apply for the jobs. But we must have villains to unite the folks behind the white guys ( namely the politicians ). Okay, maybe these evil looking villains are now as extinct as a Dodo bird for being obviously not able to adapt to the environment. Just like the Cantonese movies, let's change the script a little. The villains need not be obviously evil looking. If some people do not look like villains then we'll still make them an acting offer that they cannot refuse.

Then they arrested a group of church workers and got them to confess that they were plotting to overthrow the government. Nice twist, now the heroes ( conservative goody religious guys ) can be the villains. Unfortunately, these guys don't act too well and were amateurish villains. The story lines were too forced and clueless folks were grumbling that they were just not convincing.

But to those intellectuals who know how to read between the lines, a well planned hidden plot to the story lines sent a shock wave through the predictable world of the whole of the intellectual community of Singapore. You guys who think that you are the "white" characters of society, can become the "black" characters if the politicians need you to be. Utter all those nonsense about freedom of speech, the principles of justice, travesty of justice etc.. and you will be watched. Everything said will be recorded and analyzed. From the mountains of records, a small amount of but enough juicy fragments can be rearranged, rescripted and dramatized. Voila ! the new stars playing the villain parts are born with the self written scripts all prepared.. Maybe you guys think you look too "white" to fit the parts. No problem, publicity can make stars out of you. Take a cue from the movie industry, get them to sign the contracts ( confessions ), then get them on TV for contract ( confession ) interviews, splash their photos on the papers, get the reporters to write about their "glamorous" life styles, radio talk shows etc. In other words, give them the works; publicity can even make a superstar out of Forest Gump !

Now, you guys should understand why our newspapers reporters behave the way they do. They were the first to read between lines and made up their minds about what character parts to play. But there was one reporter who did not believe the hidden plot was there. Unfortunate mistake ! and it was really bad for her career. Then there was Tang Liang Hong who believed that he was the "white" character since he thought he had lots of support in the Chinese community. He forgot that the politicians fought very hard for their powers.Though the big Chinese community needed to be taken seriously, the politicians did not intend to share their powers with them. So he wanted to be a star but ended up being a "villain" and a refugee. 100 marks for courage but a big F for not doing the proper homework !

So what has all this got to do with gay life ? Remember, we are no strangers to playing "villains" in the plots of the Nazis and the religious opportunists. Truly religious folks are forgiving but the religious opportunists need the "villains" for them to "whip" during their sermons to stir their followers into blind frenzy. In Singapore, as long as homosexuality is not legalized, the politicians has a wider pool of potential villains for them to use. What happened if everybody read between the lines and behave obediently ? . That's bad news for the politicians and it will be back to prayers and the Help Wanted Advertisement. But the supply of gays will never dry up and they will never be legal. In a crunch, the politicians will make do with what they can get. Now, from my previous stories, you know why they are doing so much homework and quietly observing the gay cruising places in Singapore but not seen to be taking much action. I may already be in the files somewhere and these web pages are certainly juicy materials for any witch hunts. So forgive me, if you think I am a coward for hiding my identity.

I hope I am wrong in this story. Everything seems so bleak and hopeless. Well for a future story, I promise to brighten things up and talk about " THE WINDS OF CHANGE ARE BLOWING".