Singapore rapper Subhas Nair to be charged with stoking racial enmity

Screenshot of Subhas Nair in rap video made in response to controversial E-Pay ad.
Screenshot of Subhas Nair in rap video made in response to controversial E-Pay ad.

A Singapore rapper who got into trouble for a controversial rap video will be charged Monday with promoting racial discord.

The police said last night that Subhas Nair, 29, will be charged with four counts of attempting to sow discord between different religious and ethnic groups after allegedly breaching the terms of a 2019 warning over a video unpacking anger over racial stereotyping between Singapore’s Chinese and Indian communities.

“One of the terms of the warning stipulates that if he reoffends, he may be prosecuted for the offence for which he was warned, in addition to prosecution for the alleged fresh offences,” the police said.

If found guilty, he faces up to three years and a fine.

Nair, together with sister and influencer Preeti Nair aka Preetipls, were given the police warning for a rap video made in response to a brownface ad featuring a Chinese actor portraying various races including a Malay woman and Indian man with darker skin. The Nair siblings filmed a video attacking the ad with lyrics insulting Chinese Singaporeans. 

Nair has not immediately responded to Coconuts’ queries seeking comment.

Apparently the police have been watching everything that Subhas Nair does online since. 

They pointed to comments he wrote last year as well as a racially charged cartoon that allegedly targeted the Chinese. 

For instance, the police said that in July 2020, he wrote a comment in response to a video of Chinese Christians making hateful comments against another community that Malay Muslims would be treated differently by the authorities if they said the same.

In October 2020, he commented on the case of the murder of an Indian man at Orchard Towers, saying one of the Chinese suspects got lenient treatment by the authorities due to his race.

This past March, Subhas Nair protested by displaying a drawing of the latter post under investigation at a performance.

The police dismissed as “baseless” any accusations that they treat people differently based on religion or race.

Nair is an independent rapper who produces music that ”calls out power asymmetries, systemic violence and racism,” according to his Patreon page.

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