The government of Singapore is now facing condemnation from all around the world for canceling (at the last minute!) a performance by Swedish black metal band Watain.
The band is disappointed of course, and so are the horde of fans from Singapore and all around the region who flew here to catch the show, scheduled to have taken place last night at Ebenex Live Space.
Watain frontman Erik Danielsson slammed the cancellation.
“We have been touring around the world for nearly 20 years and believe it or not, never have we encountered such old fashioned retardation,” he said in a statement to AFP.
He described the decision as “self-righteous attempts to govern other people’s lives and decisions as if our supporters in Singapore were incapable of deciding for themselves”.
Nonetheless, Watain carried out a meet-and-greet session with fans yesterday at the venue, taking pictures and signing autographs for the loyal fans who came from all over Southeast Asia.
“It was an honor to meet you all yesterday and to sense the fire in your eyes and in your spirits,” they wrote on Instagram. “We look forward to the day we can perform for you without the interference from lesser men.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) ordered the show to be called off, even though the authorities had initially given the green light — albeit a more watered down version that does away with Watain’s usual repertoire of anti-Christian songs and stage set-ups involving Satanic imagery.
The ministry had expressed serious concerns about the concert, noting how the band’s reputation of being anti-religion could “cause enmity and disrupt Singapore’s social harmony”.
Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam even met up with reporters to give a statement about his ministry’s decision — a decision that took into account the responses the band evoked in the last couple of days.
“…there were lots of concerns expressed, and if you look at the band they do have a history – very offensive towards Christians and Jews, and supportive of violence, including encouraging the burning of churches,” said Shanmugam, affirming that religious and social harmony will be affected if the show was to go on.
Whatever the reasons, the decision to prevent a band from playing toned down heavy metal music to appease a group of radical conservatives is not being taken well among the local arts community.
Watain, of course, knows this and pointed it out.
“To the honorless rats behind the ban, rest assured that you in your cowardly act have only stirred the cauldrons of your own misfortune,” they wrote.
“If these men and women didn’t already feel mistrust and contempt towards ‘authorities’, they sure do now. The flames of discontent have once again been kindled, may they scorch your heavens.”
With words by AFP