Looking at how the government reacts to things like rock concerts in Singapore, it would seem like the government is either fearful of its people at best or at worst, thinks we are extremely dumb and naive. Neither is very reassuring for a developed country who is actively trying to create the international metropolis image globally.
On the one hand, Singapore wants to be seen as the modern, savvy and advanced city state while on the other hand, it wants to enforce controls on its citizens as if we were some kind of cultural backwater whose inhabitants are backward and ignorant. Which is it? You can’t have both. You either embrace all the trappings of a liberal first world country or you don’t. It is really that simple.
Minister for Law K Shanmuggam (Shanmuggam) has recently spoken up about the cancellation of a concert by Swedish black metal band, Watain, on the premise that it was “anti-Christian”. I had never even heard of this band until they were banned. I would therefore argue that the potential group of people that could have been offended by their concert would not even have realised that a concert had taken place but for the publicity that surrounded the cancellation.
This begs the question – can offence be caused if no one was even really aware of the concert? What is the point of a ban that creates publicity for the very thing that the government is allegedly trying to prevent? Much ado about nothing on the government’s part it would seem!
Singapore wants to be seen as a cultural venue but yet sees fit to unilaterally terminate contracts to perform at the last minute. Surely that doesn’t set a very good precedent for the way we do business? Secondly and more damaging, does it (rightly or wrongly) send out the message that the government is terrified of its people and how they can be influenced (however remotely) to rise up against the authorities because of a rock concert that may be anti establishment?
Can this be construed as using the protection of Christian sensibilities as an excuse to ban a concert that could challenge established governmental authority? As said above, Watain is a very niche group with a limited following. Most Christians would have been none the wiser on the concert but for the cancellation which in turn makes the religious argument put forth my Shanmuggam weak.
Why is it that after more than 50 years, the government still appears fearful of its people? Why is it that after more than 50 years, the government still potentially thinks if us as weak minded fools who will mindlessly rise to arms because of a rock concert?