Monday, May 23, 2005

Who's the criminal here?

You are stealing!
It's against the law!
You are supporting the Ah Long!
For the price of one pirated DVD you can help a child in need!

Or so they say.

I totally understand and I admit that I'm a criminal, I don't know where my money goes, and I could have put my money to better use. But yet I don't care.

But I think living under the strict and constantly exercised scissors of the Censorship Board justifies my life of crime. I don't understand. How can we censor art? Because when it comes down to the nitty gritty that's what a film is -- art. Can you imagine putting a black bar on Mona Lisa's smile? Imagine the Sistine Chapel with that amazing painting on its ceiling. Now imagine it with streaks of black here and there. Terrible right? And imagine having a baby-shaped cut-out on a painting because baby Jesus is not wearing a diaper. So, who's the criminal here?

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So that's my first justification. I like to see art in its entirety. I don't like edited scenes and edited lines. I like to see them as the artist envision it to be seen.

Another excuse that the public usually gives is the price. Pirated vcd/dvd are much cheaper. So how come I don't buy pirated CDs? One obvious reason -- the packaging. When you buy a pirated CD, you'll get a very high quality copy of the original front and back cover, the lyrics maybe and if you're lucky some additional songs will be put in there as well. When you buy the original CD, you'll get the original front and back cover, lyrics if they want to give them to you, and some pretty good additional photos and original art layout that the artist/producer intended it to be. Which I think is worth RM40.

In contrast, when you buy a pirate vcd/dvd, you will get the discs, front and back cover for RM5/RM10. However if you buy an original vcd/dvd, you will get the discs, front and back cover for RM19-90/RM99. So which one do you prefer, the RM10 or RM99? Why pay more when you can basically get the same thing right?

What really pisses me off most of the time is that the quality of the original vcds are terrible. For example, I bought West Side Story. It's a musical but the sound of that cd is so bad that I can't imagine playing that movie ever again. Everytime the singers reach those high notes (which happens a lot in this movie) you will here a screeching sound like running your fingernails across a blackboard. Another example, I bought The Wizard of Oz (I can't remember how much but it was not RM5) supposedly original. I saw at the back that this CD has some additional scenes. I think you might guess already, it doesn't. So, who's the criminal here?

And that's my second justification. The packaging is horrendous. I can get the same thing for a fraction of the price.

So, until I can see any films without any treatment by the Censorship board, I will stop buying pirated products. And until I can get my money's worth, I will buy original vcds/dvds. For now, let me ask you this...

Who's the criminal here?

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