Netizens criticise the government for cancelling Watain’s concert at the last minute, despite its initial approval

On 9 March (Saturday), Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam revealed that he don’t understand how the Swedish black metal band Watain could have been allowed to perform in Singapore given the band’s anti-Christian song lyrics.

“I saw (Watain’s) lyrics – it’s four-letter words on Jesus Christ, on Christianity, on religion, abusing the cross – everything that is so far out that I can’t see how we could have agreed to it,” said Mr Shanmugam.

The band was supposed to perform in Singapore on Thursday (7 March) evening, but the concert was cancelled that same afternoon by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), following “security concerns” raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

At first, IMDA has allowed the concert to take place but under strict conditions which included that the band not play ‘offensive songs’ and the audience was limited to 200 people.

But, many people shared their concerns a few days before the concert regarding the band’s history of advocating violence and passing offensive remarks on religions. As such, a petition was formed on Charge.org on 6th March asking the band to be disallowed and banned from performing in Singapore. It collected over 15,000 signatures in just a day. It was then allegedly sent to the Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu.

Mr Shanmugam said that in his dialogues with Christian preachers, they have mentioned to him that “you are very, very strict when it comes to anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic messages”, including the banning of Danish cartoon and the book The Satanic Verses, which some claim to be literature.

“They said what these people (Watain) are saying is far worse, it is a hundred times worse about Christianity – how come you would allow that?…They said you treat the Muslim community differently than the Christian community”.

Responding to this, minister said, “I looked at it and I thought that there is some truth to what they say, I won’t say that it is completely true but it is an approach.”

He added, “We ban this but that doesn’t mean we ban every single one that talks about Christianity”.

He also mentioned about a photo going viral on social media of “mainly young Malay men showing the one-finger with Watain..It was a post by the Watain band, criticising the Singapore Government, telling us to ‘go fly kite’,” he said.

The picture mainly comprises of Malay young men who went to the concert, got angry, and took a picture showing the one-finger sign.

“In a multi-racial society, they don’t understand that the concert is anti-Christian, it criticises Jesus and Christianity and churches and they talk about burning churches and so on,” noted Mr Shanmugam.

He also said that if there’s a concert like this about Islam, the Government will never allow it to happen in Singapore as well.

Upon reading his explanation, netizens are still not satisfied that the concert got cancelled at the very last minute, despite approving it initially.

Over 600 comments were received on The Straits Times’ and Channel NewsAsia’s Facebook pages regarding this issue.

 

Some even questioned the need for the ban as Singapore is not a Christian state and everyone has a choice to watch or listen to what they like.

 

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