Should Watain’s concert be cancelled in Singapore?

by Patrick Liew on August 20, 2019

Should Watain’s concert be cancelled in Singapore?

There are many arguments that cancellation of the Swedish metal band Watain’s concert in Singapore by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) was a wrong decision.

To proponents of these arguments, there are key questions that beg to be answered.

Please allow me to suggest some of these questions.

1. Some have argued that there are no negative effects of heavy metal on humans and in fact, there are positive effects.

Have there been extensive studies on this subject matter?

Are there not studies that suggest that heavy metal could cause negative effects?

2. Many have mistakenly argued that Singapore should follow the examples of western countries in allowing freedom of expression.

How about denying the holocaust tragedy in many European countries, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Switzerland?

Or promote the Caliphate in North America?

Or tell the Americans they deserve the 9/11crisis?

The point is that interpretation of freedom of expression is politically and culturally relative and different in every jurisdiction in the West.

3. More importantly, did the Swedish metal band Watain desecrate religious beliefs, using words such as a “limb crucifix”, “Antichrist”, “A cross burned black…From all of us to all of you: Go fuck your Jewish god”, “Behold the remains of Jehovah in the dust, Suffocate, Desecrate, For Satan’s return – Angelrape”?

4. Did Watain promote satanism, death, violence and possibly, suicide?

5. How would you feel if somebody publicly debase and degrade your god, belief, religion, or whoever or whatever you hold dearly and affectionately in your heart?

6. Is racial and religious beliefs visceral and deeply entrenched in our being?

Will racial and religious cause undue and unintended backlashes?

Has it happened in our country?

Has Singapore not gone through racial and religious violence?

Didn’t some Hindus and Punjabis fought each other in Singapore when the Indian army stormed a Punjabi temple in India?

Will racial and religious disharmony and conflict happen again?

If racial and religious harmony is broken, is there any guarantee that we can restore the harmony to its original values, strengths and functional conditions?


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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