Wrapping Up Perspectives 2012

12 November 2012

It was a fantastic weekend! Thanks to everyone who attended the screenings.

We hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did! Stay tuned for Perspectives 2013!

Winner of Facebook Contest #6

5 November 2012

With only 3 days left to Perspectives Film Festival, it's the best time to win a pair of tickets to watch our films. This week, we congratulate Deve Soh for being the lucky winner of our Facebook contest!

The issue with abortion in Singapore and why you should watch 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

5 November 2012

On 2 November 2012, Patrick Low wrote to ST Forum suggesting that abortion be made “less easily available” in Singapore.

While the implications of decreasing the availability of abortion sounds fairly plausible, what if, in the near future, abortion was made illegal?

Now imagine living in world with an illicit view of abortion. That is a world that is so clearly vividly painted in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Set in 1980s Romania, illegal abortions were a harsh reality during the Communist regime.

In 1967, hoping to increase his country’s labour force, Nicolae Ceausescu adopted policies that he hoped would increase the population of Romania. To achieve his goals, he implemented a policy called ‘Decree 770’, which, among other things, made abortion illegal. To assuage fears that such a policy might put too much stress on Romanian families, he also promised, to provide aid and government support for the expected population boom.

However, the promises, much like his academic aspirations, never materialised. Instead, newborns were neglected or abandoned by families that hardly had the means to provide for themselves, let alone for another child. As a result, rather than boosting the country’s labour force, Decree 770 exacerbated the social problems that people in Romania were already facing.

Ceausescu's extremely repressive regime was instrumental to the implementation of Decree 770. His methods were often intrusive and infringed on basic human rights. In order to monitor their fertility, women working for the state were forced to go through annual gynecological examinations. Later on, he even levied a tax on women who were childless. What is ironic is that Ceausescu implemented his anti-abortion policies while glorifying motherhood and supporting gender equality. Instead, the number of women dying from illegal abortions increased dramatically.

Two decades after the implementation of Decree 770, the Ceausescu regime was overthrown on 22 December 1989, after succumbing to mass riots and protests. The Romanian Revolution was believed to be carried out by the very same generation of youths who were neglected and ill treated as a result of the anti-abortion policies.

In the film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Otilia and Gabita navigate the repressive Ceausescu regime’s ban on abortion, the goal being to coordinate an illegal abortion for Gabita.

Not just a testament to great storytelling, the film is actually based on the real-life account of director Cristian Mungiu's friend; one of many similar stories that linger on to remind Romanians of life in the Ceausescu regime.

While this is definitely an extreme example of making abortions less available, there are still parallels we can draw to Singapore from such a regime.

Do you still think Mr. Low’s suggestion would be good for our nation?

Are you now intrigued about the terrible and repressive Romanian regime?

Get your tickets to 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and witness Otilia and Gabita’s plight.

1. Kligman, Gail. "Political Demography: The Banning of Abortion in Ceausescu's Romania". In Ginsburg, Faye D.; Rapp, Rayna, eds. Conceiving the New World Order: The Global Politics of Reproduction. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995 :234-255. Unique Identifier : AIDSLINE KIE/49442.
2. Kligman, Gail. The Politics of Duplicity: Controlling Reproduction in Ceausescu's Romania. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998.
3. Abortion in Romania
4. Image 1
5. Image 2
6. Image 3

Additional Materials:

Romania's Revolution of 1989: An Enduring Enigma   |    Daily Mail article on Ceausescu regime

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