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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What happens when you admit to being a criminal in the National Broadsheet?

Actress Oon Shu An goes on porn binge for Rubbers role

"American porn, European porn, Japanese porn - actress Oon Shu An has watched them all.

She can even point out the differences between them.

"American porn is really out there, the moment it starts you know what's going to happen. European porn is a bit more realistic. The Japanese kind builds on this idea of a proper and sweet girl and you really don't expect them to become like beasts."

It was all in the name of research - she plays a Japanese adult video star in the sex comedy Rubbers, which opens tomorrow. Her character, Momoko, gets stuck in a compromising situation with Alaric Tay's condom-hating playboy.

"I didn't want to make her a caricature. I want her to be someone real," says Oon, 28, adding with a laugh that some of that research time was spent with her photographer boyfriend.

By addressing sex head-on, Rubbers helps to make it less scary, the actress says. "There are a lot of us who are very fearful of sex, but it happens to all of us at some point and it's a beautiful part of life."

Her open-minded boyfriend was supportive of the project and said: "It's funny, just do it."

Still, Oon initially had her doubts about taking the role. While she had a big break on television when she was cast as a concubine in the Netflix historical epic Marco Polo (2014), which contained sex scenes and nudity, she kept her clothes on.

She wondered how her family and some of her younger fans who watch her online beauty product show, Tried And Tested, would react to Rubbers.

When she told her parents about the role, her mother sighed and asked: "Why must you do this kind of role?"

Now that the movie is out, she is torn about her parents watching it.

On the one hand, the stories are all "beautiful and sweet in their own way". On the other hand, the movie might make them uncomfortable, given that her face is buried in Tay's crotch for much of their segment.

Writer-director Han Yew Kwang had a strap-on specially made and Oon had to latch onto it for a few minutes at a stretch. It might not sound very long, but she points out that it was very tiring and that it made her drool.

"But the crew are always on hand with tissue paper and then the device has to be wiped clean when you take it out. If not, it's wet and you have to latch on again, it's very gross."

Not many actresses would have been as gung-ho as Oon, a Lasalle College of the Arts graduate whose one-woman show, #UnicornMoment, was nominated for Best Original Script at this year's Life! Theatre Awards.

For her, it is a matter of trust as she previously worked with Han and Tay on the telemovie romance drama Love In A Cab (2010). She was confident that Rubbers would not be a smutty romp.

Indeed, the smuttiest part of the whole project was when she was doing research.

"Yes, exactly that," she exclaims."

So we can see that Oon Shu An has essentially admitting to the whole of Singapore that she has committed a crime: under the Films Act, it is an offence to possess an obscene film and,

Any person who has in his possession any obscene film shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $500 for each such film he had in his possession (but not to exceed in the aggregate $20,000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

Interestingly, under the Undesirable Publications Act you can possess a prohibited publication if you have a "reasonable excuse"; research for a movie role could conceivably be a "reasonable excuse" for possessing pornography.

Sadly, however, films are not covered by the Undesirable Publications Act but under the Films Act, which has no provision for having a "reasonably excuse" for possessing an obscene film.

It's also an offence if one "makes or reproduces any obscene film (whether or not for the purposes of exhibition or distribution to any other person)". Presumably copying it into another folder on your hard disk counts as "reproducing" a film.

In other news, homophiles would have you believe that gay men are living in fear off being arrested and charged (despite there being an assurance of no proactive enforcement).

In contrast, people have often been charged and convicting for possession of obscene films in the past.

To take just one of many examples, Pang Leong Chuan (a former aide to Shih Ming Yi of Ren Ci) was fined $37,500 for possessing obscene films, and there definitely has been no promise of no proactive enforcement.

It is also reasonable to assume that the number of men (alone) in Singapore who possess obscene films is larger than the number of men who have gay sex.

Yet, the response to these 2 (alleged) Swords of Damocles is very different.
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