Most Malaysians know that we’re no stranger to strict censorship and regulations as we’ve seen or heard it happen often enough in movies or music, where certain “inappropriate” scenes or words are cut out from the final product.
Well, it would seem we’re not the only ones with that problem, as our dear neighbour, Singapore recently had their Parliament discuss a new threat to society which is offensive lyrics.
A Singapore parliament handout has been circulating online, titled, “Ministerial Statement: Restricting Hate Speech To Maintain Racial And Religious Harmony In Singapore.” It lists several musicians whose lyrics were accused of being “hate speech.”
The handout was part of a statement that Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam delivered in Parliament yesterday (1 April).
The handout listed prominent artists and uses their apparently provocative song lyrics as examples on the controversial memo:
- Ariana Grande’s God Is A Woman: “You love it how I touch you/ My own, when all is said and done/ You’ll believe God is a woman”.
- Lady Gaga’s Judas: “I am just a Holy Fool, oh baby… I wanna love you/ But something’s pulling me away from you/ Jesus is my virtue and/ Judas is the demon I cling to/ I cling to”.
- Nine Inch Nails’ Heresy: “He sewed his eyes shut because he is afraid to see… He dreamed up a god and called it Christianity/ God is dead and no one cares/ If there is a hell, I’ll see you there.”
- Hozier’s Take Me To Church: “Take me to church/ I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies/ I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife.”
According to Mothership, Shanmugam’s 90-minute statement on hate speech highlighted the necessity of cracking down on offensive speech, even in areas of entertainment.
He also stated that offensive speech is worse than hate speech, adding that offensive speech implies its targets lack morality, intelligence, or dignity, making offensive speech “even more insidious” than hate speech.
Shanmugam also brought up the controversial concert cancellation of concert Swedish black metal group Watain earlier in March, which happened after outcries from Christian leaders.
Watain, who are loud and proud devil worshippers have incorporated animal carcasses, gore, and satanic rituals into their live concerts. They have also made headlines for literally dousing their audiences in animal blood and causing them to vomit.
He argued that allowing bands such as Watain to perform can normalise offensive speech and lead to dehumanisation, creating an environment that’s “conducive to discrimination and eventually violence.” He concluded that it’s the duty of the Minister for Home Affairs to make decisions based on national interest.
Netizens weighing in on the topic were mostly amused by the entire state of affairs.
“Is this an April Fools’ joke? The government’s lack of faith in its own people is disturbing.”
“We’re officially back in the Middle Ages. Do they believe we have no capacity for critical thinking? These are NOT national issues…”
One netizen even made a tongue-in-cheek “Singapore’s Easy Offence Hits” playlist on Spotify for all those rebels out there.
So what do you guys think? Do you believe in censorship? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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