After YouTuber Preetipls and her rapper brother Subhas Nair issued a public apology over their vulgarity-laden rap video last Friday (2 August), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has slammed the duo’s statement, saying it contains “a mock, insincere apology”.
The Ministry added that the apology was “a spoof of an earlier apology” issued by Havas Worldwide for the E-Pay advertisement, for which Nets has also apologised.
“This spoofing is a pretence of an apology, and in fact shows contempt for the many Singaporeans who have expressed concern at their blatantly racist rap video,” said the MHA.
This whole saga started after the Nair siblings published a rap video on Facebook and YouTube in response to an advertisement by epaysg.com, an e-payment website, which featured Mediacorp actor and DJ Dennis Chew impersonating different races.
In the advertisement, one can see Chew dressed up as different races in Singapore such as a Malay woman in a headscarf as well as an Indian man with darkened skin. He also portrayed the role of a Chinese woman in a pink jacket and a Chinese man with a moustache in the advertisement.
As expected, the ad did not go down too well with the public, with many criticising the need to use one person to play different roles instead of hiring people of the actual races to play the characters.
The Nair sibling were also not happy with the ad, resulting in them releasing the rap video titled “K. Muthusamy” in an attempt to slam and call out E-Pay for being racist.
The video titled “K. Muthusamy” contains offensive content. In the video, the siblings can be seen repeatedly uttering “Chinese people always out here f***king it up”, while condemning Chinese Singaporeans who they claim are racist and exploit minorities for money.
However, the rap video received massive backlash from the authorities with the police noting that they’re investigating the matter as they will “not tolerate any offensive content that causes ill will between races”.
As such, the duo released an apology for “any hurt that was unintentionally caused” by their rap video last Friday. The duo clarified that the main message behind the creation of their music video was to highlight that “opportunities must be for everyone”.
They added that they selected K. Muthusamy as the face behind the music video solely due to “his ability to address privilege, power and censorship”. In addition, “he speaks to characters from all walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that only some people truly pay”, the statement read.
“Behind the music video is an initiative to provide greater consciousness to consumers, corporations, and the many faces of Singapore,” the duo explained.
If that is not all, a joint statement issued on Sunday by Havas and The Celebrity Agency read: “The message behind this advertising campaign is that e-payment is for everyone. For that reason, Dennis Chew, well-known for his ability to portray multiple characters in a single production in a light-hearted way, was selected as the face of the campaign. He appears as characters from different walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that everyone can e-pay… We’re sorry for any hurt that was unintentionally caused. Behind the ad is an initiative to provide greater convenience to consumers, merchants and small food businesses.”
MHA: The siblings have expressed racist sentiments before
Based on MHA’s statement, it said that this is not the first time the Nair siblings have expressed “racist sentiments”.
“About a year ago, Ms Nair published a video where she acted as a Chinese and mocked the Chinese community’s practices, culture and traditions. She portrayed Chinese as money-minded gamblers,” the statement explained.
As for her brother Subhas, MHA revealed that the rapper recently wrote a song that says that “Singapore condones systemic discrimination”. The song was written for MediaCorp as part of this year’s National Day celebrations.
“Among the lyrics in the song: ‘We live in a system that has normalised us…to walk oblivious to a brown man stopped and ID checked’. This is blatantly false,” MHA said.
The Ministry also added that it will take action if it finds offensive statements which breach the law, “regardless of the race of the offender”.
As an example, the Ministry quoted an incident that happened in 2018 where it investigated a 36-year-old Indian woman who published comments that made racial insinuations.
After consulting with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), MHA said the lady was issued with a stern warning.
If that is not all, in January this year, the police charged a Chinese man in court “for deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of the Malay population”, said the Ministry.
“The man had scrawled racist messages about Malays on walls at void decks and sheltered walkways. His messages had been seen by far fewer people than the videos issued by Ms and Mr Nair,” the MHA noted.
It added that the police are continuing their investigations and that they would be taking advice from the AGC.