Singapore rapper charged with attempting to stoke 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.

Singapore rapper Subhas Nair was charged in court this morning with four counts of attempting to sow racial discord, including publishing his 2019 controversial rap video

Nair, 29, arrived in court with his sister and creative partner Preeti Nair today, days after the police accused him of breaching the terms of a two-year conditional warning with fresh offenses in the many months since the siblings’ rap response to a contentious brownface ad

Subhas Nair did not enter a plea today, and returns to court Nov. 29. If found guilty of attempting to promote feelings of ill will on the grounds of race and religion, Nair could be jailed three years and fined. 

The incidents he is being prosecuted for preceded the conditional warnings’ expiration in August. In July 2020, Nair was responding to a video of Chinese-Christians making hateful comments when he wrote online that Malay-Muslims would be treated differently if they were to do the same. 

“If two Malay Muslims made a video promoting Islam and saying the kind of hateful things these Chinese Christians said, ISD would have been at the door before they even hit ‘upload,’” he wrote on Instagram at the time. 

Three months later, Nair wrote online in October 2020 that one of the Chinese suspects in an Orchard Towers brawl that killed an Indian man got lenient treatment due to his race. 

“Calling out racism and Chinese privilege = two year conditional warning and smear campaign in the media. Actually conspiring to murder an Indian man = Half the sentence and ‘You’re having a baby soon right? Boy or girl?’ Do you actually think a brown person would get asked these type of questions? This place is just not for us,” he wrote. 

Earlier this year, Nair allegedly displayed a cartoon drawing of his October social media post during a performance at The Substation. 

The controversial rap video was produced in response to advertisements for a government e-payment program that painted a Chinese actor in darker skin to look like an Indian man and Malay woman. 

Police said last week that Nair’s allegations were “baseless.”

“Allegations that the law or law enforcement agencies accord differential treatment based on religion or race are baseless and have the potential to damage religious and racial harmony in Singapore and erode public trust in our law enforcement agencies,” its Thursday statement said. 

Other stories:

Singapore rapper Subhas Nair to be charged with stoking racial enmity

Singaporean siblings Preeti, Subhas Nair given 24-month ‘conditional warning’ over rap video

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