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Bastards and Roses: A Love Story February 14, 2007

Posted by publicpolitics in Censorship.
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There will be no “Love Song on the Bank of Mekong” tonight if Laos has its way with Thai television . “Love Song” is the title of a soap opera scheduled to play this evening:

Vientiane has conveyed their concerns to the television executives through the Thai Foreign Ministry last week that the soap opera “Pleng Rak Song Fang Kong” (Love Song on the Bank of Mekong) contained many scenes deemed inappropriate and contradicting to Lao culture, said Lao foreign ministry’s spokesman Yong Chanthalangsy.

Source: nationmultimedia.com

Apparently, the Laotians object to the melodrama on two grounds. One is that the female romantic heroine’s mother is unmarried, which makes our lead- not to put to fine a point on it- a real bastard. The other is that in a fit of romantic pique, the lady trashes a flower- in this case a white fragipani, which happens to be the national flower of Laos.

Apparently, the depiction of the heroine as a bastard offends the national sense of decorum, as does the impression that she is an “easy woman”. And the flower is definitely treason by another name:

“You might get angry with your boyfriend who hand you (sic!) the flower, but the national flower should not be thrown away in that manner… why didn’t the producer use rose or the other kind, rather than our national flower?” whined the official, patriotically and pathetically.

It will be small comfort to the would be Laotian censors that it is Valentine’s day in some places, and that the tale of bastards and roses will ring out many variations tonight, with happy and otherwise endings. No doubt many roses and precious few single fragpiani will find a dustbin home today, some hurled in anger, some dropped indifferently. And the appellation “bastard” will no doubt be applied more than a few times, although not mostly in the genealogical sense. Let’s hope the nascent Laotian censors just sit back and enjoy the Thai program- because not even the most melodramatic and cliched art deserves to be censored. After all, life does often imitate it.

Tags: urged | television | suspension | spokesman | soap | scenes | opera | inappropriate | EXECUTIVES | deemed | Culture | conveyed | contradicting | contained | Concerns | Yong | Vientiane | thai | Politics | Pleng | MINISTRY | laos | Kong | fang

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