Singapore is considered one of the fastest growing economy not only in South East Asia but also in the whole world. The juvenile but rich country has surpassed global expectation in terms of its economic growth amid its relatively younger sovereignty. The state has become one of the most influential global superpowers and internationally competes with other first-world countries in multiple aspects.
The growth of Singapore is highly attributed to the discipline that their citizen have and the effectivity of their policy implementation. The country is praised for its ability to instill to their citizen the value of discipline, nationalism, and hard work.
It is known that Singapore has one of the strictest legislation in the world. In the country, you can be fined for merely spitting on the sidewalk. The effectiveness of the country’s legislative implementation lead to the country becoming one of the richest Asian countries, and Singapore aims to become more socially aware and relevant in the recent years to adapt to the world’s changing value system.
Because of this, the country has announced that it is implementing a stricter crackdown against hate speech, especially to race and religion. The slightly conservative Asian superpower has recently tagged American pop stars Lady Gaga and Ariana Grade in an “offensive lyrics” list that is presented to members of parliament.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam delivered a statement regarding hate speech on April 1, where he includes both Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga in a list of singers with “offensive lyrics.”
The announcement on Monday came nearly a month ago after a black metal group from Sweden Watain’s concert was banned in Singapore on concerns about its history of “denigrating religions and promoting violence.”
The band was initially allowed to conduct their concert on March 7 but was later canceled at the last minute due to the previous statements made by the band’s frontman and the song lyrics that degrade Christianity.
According to a survey presented by Shanmugam in Parliament, two out of three Singaporeans support the Watain ban.
Opposition MP Chen Show Mao posted a photo of the ministerial statement on “restricting hate speech” on his Facebook account with the caption “lesson of the day.” The said post has been shared more than a thousand times and received hundreds of comments by Tuesday afternoon.
The list that tagged songs from different singers to have “offensive lyrics” include Lady Gaga’s Judas, Ariana Grand’s God Is A Woman, Nine Inch Nail’s Heresy, and Hozier’s Take Me To Church.
In the past, both Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande have held concerts in Singapore.
According to the Facebook post of K Shanmugam, Singapore’s home affairs minister, the said list of songs are only illustrations of things people may find offensive.
“Doesn’t mean that it can all get banned, just because some people find it offensive,” Shanmugam, also the acting law minister, said.
The minister also clarified that the songs listed in the “offensive lyrics” list might have been misunderstood by some people who did not listen to the entirety of the speech.
“People who did not listen to the speech may misunderstand that the list contains songs which have been banned (!) or are going to be banned (!),” he added.
Lady Gaga’s Judas earned global backlash because it features Jesus Christ’s disciple Judas Iscariot in a romanticized way. Judas is known to be the one who betrayed Jesus and people called out the song for being “blasphemous.”
On the other hand, God Is A Woman is Ariana Grande’s famous song that has also gained notoriety after fans who initially thought that the song was about female empowerment realized that there are parts of the lyrics that indicate that she’s referring to herself as God.
The post made by the minister regarding the issue has gained attention and has seen famous Singaporean personalities weighing in. Satirist Yeo Tze Hern gave his take on the issue it is of “public interest.” Instead of hate speech, Yeo wants to fight “wine wastage,” calling out the “offensive lyrics” of Sun Ho’s infamous tune, China Wine.
Ho is a co-founder of a megachurch named City Harvest Church, of which six officials and senior members were convicted for using funds to further Ho’s music career.