Sun, Jun 15, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Netizens criticize Singaporean censorship of A-mei

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese singer Chang Hui-mei, better known as “A-mei,” performs at the Spring Wave Music and Art Festival in Singapore on Sunday last week.

Photo: CNA

The Singaporean government’s censorship last week of a song by Taiwanese pop diva A-mei (阿妹) at a music festival has sparked heated condemnation from Taiwanese netizens.

The Singaporean government barred the performance of the song Rainbow (彩虹) by Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹), also known as A-mei, at a music festival held in the city-state last weekend. The government reportedly said that lyrics addressing same-sex relationships were unsuitable for the event’s audience.

The organizer of Singapore’s Spring Wave Music and Art Festival at Gardens by the Bay was reported to have told A-mei to remove the song from her setlist on Saturday last week, just before the performance started.

The organizer said at the time that the song’s reference to same-sex relationships lacked government approval.

Although surprised about the request, A-mei said she would respect the event organizer and removed the song from her performance, according to reports.

Last week, Singapore’s Media Development Authority said the song was prohibited at the music festival because it is not suitable for the general public.

“For indoor events, consumer advisories are used to allow consumers to make more informed media choices for themselves and their children. The nature of outdoor performances at public spaces, such as Spring Wave, which was held at Gardens by the Bay, makes it difficult to do the same,” a statement by the authority said. “Hence, organizers of these events should ensure that their performances are suitable for general audiences.”

“Singapore is such an arbitrary country,” James Chen (陳建豪) wrote on Facebook. “It has got some issues in terms of human rights protection.”

“This country [Singapore] is just unbelievable,” a Facebook user surnamed Cheng (鄭) said.

“However well its economic development is, a country without freedom of expression cannot become an admirable country,” a netizen surnamed Huang (黃) said.

Singaporean film director Royston Tan (陳子謙) said on Facebook: “Singapore may stop A-mei from singing Rainbow, but it cannot stop people from loving it.”

However, a netizen named “Goldensky” said that A-mei “should first research the country before choosing which songs to sing in the country.”

“Extra caution is needed, especially when it comes to a song that touches on homosexuality,” Goldensky wrote.

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