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Churches praise government for cancelling Watain concert but netizens question the need to do it

On March 7 (Thursday), Swedish black metal band Watain was supposed to perform in Singapore, but the concert got cancelled just hours before the show.

Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam told the media that the concert was called off due to interest for public order, and religious and social harmony.

Although Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) had initially approved the concert under strict conditions, but it got cancelled at the eleventh hour after “security concerns” were raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Following the cancellation, the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) was the first to respond by writing a letter to Mr Shanmugam on Friday (8 March).

On behalf of NCCS, Bishop Terry Kee, expressed the council’s appreciation toward the Minister and MHA for his “swift and decisive action” in recommending to IMDA the cancellation of the concert.

Other churches and church leaders have also come forward to convey their support and appreciation in calling off Watain’s concert.

Catholic Archbishop of Singapore William Goh said that the government leaders have the “courage and moral integrity” to make sure that arts promoted in Singapore do not “degrade into something banal, destructive and divisive”.

Cornerstone Community Church’s senior pastor Reverend Yang Tuck Yoong also said that the church shared same concerns as Mr Shanmugam where the concert may cause harm to “Singapore’s public order, and religious and social harmony”.

In a pastoral letter by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, Goh mentioned that Catholic church and its people “must respect that people have different tastes and values”.

However, there is a “moral duty” in ensuring that the communities have mutual respect with each other and can co-exist in peace. Therefore, he stated that no “religion, organisation or form of art” should be allowed to sow discord and division into society by causing “hatred, violence and disrespect”, nor glorify a “culture of death, suicide, individualism, intolerance and promiscuity”.

On the other hand, in his letter to Mr Shanmugam, Yang applauded the decision to cancel Watain’s concert as it “safeguard the well-being of our nation”.

Yang also commented about the derogatory remarks by the band in their Facebook post, and said that the cancellation serves as a “clear attestment that this decision by the authorities was in good order”.

Following this article, many netizens commented on Mothership’s Facebook page regarding this matter where over 100 comments were received.

Many of them felt that there are other serious problems in the country that the Government should focus on, rather than cancelling a concert. Some even mentioned that by indirectly cancelling the concert, it has given Watain more publicity.