SINGAPORE – Following the recent cancellation of the concert by Swedish black metal band Watain due to “security concerns” raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), MHA Minister K Shanmugam said that allowing the concert in Singapore would be against “public order interest and would affect our religious and social harmony”.
Before the cancellation the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) had allowed the concert with a rating of Restricted 18 (R18). Strict conditions were also imposed, where no offensive songs should be sung and the audience could only be limited to 200 or so, with several other conditions.
According to a statement by IMDA, the band could not even “make references to religion or use religious symbols and that no ritualistic acts were to be performed on stage.”
However, many concerns were raised over the last few days, as the band has a history of being offensive towards Christians and Jews and are supporters of violence.
Known for its Satanist views, the band’s previous performances were controversial as they involved animal carcasses and pig’s blood being thrown on its audience. Not only that, the band also adopts and supports anti-Christian views, while advocating Satanism through their songs.
On Wednesday, MHA advised IMDA about the possible detrimental social effects. Resultantly, IMDA proceeded to cancel the event.
Mr Shanmugam added that the general approach the Government takes with a music event involves questioning if what the band represented or did would be offensive in Singapore.
“I think to some extent you can look at what they’ve done elsewhere. It’s got to be viewed case-by-case,” he said.
Earlier this week, an online petition was lodged calling for a ban on Watain, as well as another Swedish metal group Soilwork. It has garnered more than 16,000 signatures so far.
Netizens’ responses to Shanmugam’s statement were not very positive.