One movie made them throw up

One movie made them throw up
Madam Cheryl Ng, the Film Consultative Panel’s vice-president.

Instead of popcorn and soft drinks, these moviegoers on a Thursday afternoon are armed with clipboards and pens.

The venue is also somewhat unusual: A private theatre which can seat 50 people, at Fusionopolis, in Buona Vista.

The 35 moviegoers are from the Film Consultative Panel, a group of volunteers who take turns to help decide what ratings movies get here.

When we attend a screening at the Media Development Authority (MDA) theatrette to understand what goes into the process of rating a film, no one speaks as the Mandarin comedy runs. Everyone watches with rapt concentration, with some occasional scribbling in the dark.

There is no reaction when sexually explicit scenes are shown. An elderly woman watches without batting an eyelid.

The 66-member panel is a diverse group that includes a gynaecologist, a film-maker, a lawyer, a teacher. They are of different races and religious beliefs.

Madam Cheryl Ng, a lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, is the vice-chairman.

She has been on the panel for nine years and says the members are meant to represent Singapore's diversity.

Anyone above the age of 21 with a keen interest in films can apply to join the group.

Their passion for movies draws them together, and prompts them to set aside their Thursday evenings for film reviews.

As the credits start rolling, Madam Ng moves to the front of the room and begins to ask for input from fellow panel members.

This time, it is quite uniform, with members expressing concern over specific scenes. But it is not always so clear cut.

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