Watain, a black metal band due to perform in Singapore on 7 March revoked their permission for the performance on the morning of the concert, after being advised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to do so. This was following a petition started online calling for the government to band the musicians. The petition garnered over 17,000 signatures thus far.
Yes you read that right, 17,000 signed a petition to cancel a concert for 150 people that wouldn’t have affected them because they were not attending. All because they felt offended by some of the lyrics in Watain’s songs.
The MHA has insisted that their decision to advice IMDA to cancel the band’s concert had nothing to do with the petition. Instead, they cited the band’s history of promoting violence and being offensive towards Christians and Jews as the reason for the cancellation. But why did they allow it in the first place then?
The reality is that the government doesn’t care about what citizens do or listen to in their own time, as long as they keep it to themselves and not flaunt it in public. Despite all the official statements they put out, it isn’t so much about “bad influence” as it is about appearances.
Using the slippery slope argument, the government will probably talk about how this one concert will lead to many more offensive ones. They have evidently forgotten about the other slippery slope – that them responding to a petition in this manner would lead to the empowerment of petitions as a tool, and that now every unhappy group of individuals will now likely choose to start a petition to make their views heard.
To the 17,000 people who signed the petition, you must have better things to do than to go all out to get a concert for 150 people cancelled. These attendees proably already listen to Watain, with or without the concert. How will cancelling the concert suddenly change their listening habits? Moreover even though their concert was cancelled, Watain has gained a number of fans in Singapore following this saga. They are now the only black metal band that I can name.