SINGAPORE’S web space is abuzz with two conflicting petitions about whether American singer Adam Lambert should be removed from the line-up of MediaCorp’s annual New Year’s Eve concert Celebrate 2016 to keep up Singapore’s family values, or whether he should perform to demonstrate the openness of Singaporean society.
The petition against Lambert, the headlining act for the annual countdown concert, was launched on Wednesday (Nov 25) and in just two days, has garnered almost 11, 000 signatures. Among the reasons given for the anti-Lambert camp: the performer is “fraught with controversy” even in his home country, the United States, and his performances are “sexualised” and “offensive”. The petition further cites his “active promotion of a highly sexualized lifestyle and Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights” to be “contrary to mainstream Singaporean values.”
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The countdown show, Celebrate 2016 is organised by MediaCorp and will be held at The Float@Marina Bay this year. It will also feature performances by Singapore acts such as THELIONCITYBOY, Nat Ho and Fauzie Laily. It had previously been criticised in 2013 for not being multi-lingual enough.
The petition against MediaCorp’s decision to include Lambert had over 4, 000 comments in support, with many saying that the performance infringes family values and objecting since it is broadcast on national television. Others raised the need to have more local acts, given that this would be the last of Singapore’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Some commenters however, said that the organisers need to promise that the content would be widely acceptable.
The following day, on Nov 26, a conflicting petition was created on the same platform, denouncing the earlier petition as “sexual orientation discrimination”. The petitioners, who describe themselves as the “moral majority of Singapore”, call on the organisers of the event to let Lambert perform to show the world that Singapore “shuns discrimination and promotes diverse inclusive points of view.”
Having garnered almost 5, 000 signatures and over 1, 000 comments in one day, supporters of this new petition had a variety of viewpoints. Many dwelt on Singapore’s secular and multi-cultural viewpoint.
Others raised how some previous performances happened relatively unnoticed.
This is not the first time that Lambert’s performance has faced controversy in Singapore. In 2013, he performed at The Star Vista, which was owned by the New Creation Church (NCC). Eyebrows were raised about the church-owned venue hosting Lambert’s concert. The concert was eventually given an “Advisory 16 and above (some mature content)” rating by the Media Development Authority (MDA), which allows for “some mature content and coarse language”.
Ms Debra Soon, head of MediaCorp’s Family (English) and Premier Segments, responded to the online petition saying that the event “will be suitable for family audiences and conform with broadcast regulations.” The MDA also stated that the broadcasters of the event would need to comply with the Free-To-Air TV Programme Code, ascertaining that it maintains a standard acceptable to the community, in which nothing is against public interest, order and national harmony, or offends good taste and decency. The performance would also be of rating PG-13 which means that parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13.
Looks like the fireworks are starting even before the New Year countdown.
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